SN: It’s 2:30 AM, and we’re scrolling through instagram-
BA: -And now that we’re really inspired, we decided to Coffee and Bagel.
SN: Coffee and a Bagel is a verb now.
BA: Coffee-ing and Bagel-ing. We saw this ad for a women's clothing company had a lot to say about it.
Their ad campaign was called, “How many roles does a woman play?” With a picture of three women: "The Wife" "The Hostess" and "The Student."
SN: Surely, the issue with this ad is self explanatory... I think.
To springboard from this, we asked each other, “What about the ‘working woman’?”
BA: So now, we’re laying here in bed talking about women in our community and careers. I feel like it’s a hot topic.
Wait. I think we should specify. We’re having a sleepover.
SN: I think I should clarify that I think ‘working women’ is a hot topic in a bad way, because everyone bashes Syrian girls that go into these businesses like hair, makeup, cookies, healthy eating.
BA: Blogging. I’m sure people bash my blog. Your photography.
SN: But seriously, it’s so sad. We shouldn’t be bashing women for having these businesses, we should be putting them up; it’s great that they have the motivation to do something they love.
BA: I was talking to someone who does my hair and she said she was worried to start advertising doing hair because everyone does hair in the community and people would say, “Another girl doing their hair.” But she loves it and said she’s just going to go for it. And you know what? She’s making more than my intern salary which is negative zero dollars.
It’s inevitable that people are still going to make fun of her insta. I’m sure someone at some time stalked my instagram too, maybe with friends, and bashed my blog or my pictures. We all do it.
SN: You love your blog though, so who cares? And that’s what I want to say for all these girls doing hair and makeup too. I think the stigma around baking and styling hair comes from this idea that many girls don’t ‘work’ the way men do, at a desk or towards a career in a company.
BA: What does the “working women” mean then? The working women is just a lawyer or in Real Estate. Or is the working women the women who bakes cookies. Or the woman who does Chesed. There are different types of “working women.” Not just the one that sits in an office.
I know how to do a lot of things. But for the life of me I don’t think I can do hair, makeup, or bake. I know five years down the line when I’m sitting in my kitchen saying shoot, A: I don’t know how to make cookies, and B: I’m working and have no time to make cookies--
SN: So then you’re sitting texting *Sarah Cohen* “Hi how much do you charge for a box?? Desp!”
BA: Exactly!! And we’re also lucky, both men and women, to have one big network. If a woman wants to start a business she already has clients and the resources before she even starts it. My coworkers beg me to adopt them.
Some men though feel intimidated by these “working women” who have big ideas and talk about their careers. I’ve been exposed to do different types of mentalities in guys. Some guys are intimidated by a woman’s intelligence. They feel intimidated, they feel undermined. And others find that quality, that intelligence in a woman to be attractive.
SN: But you shouldn’t want a guy who would be emasculated by your brain. Your passion and forward thinking should be an asset, not a disadvantage of your personality.
BA: Husbands are also intimidated by wives who are the breadwinners in the family. That’s a worldly problem, not just in the community, for men to be intimidated by a woman's intelligence and career and salary.
SN: I’m less concerned about my husband disliking the fact that I’m working or making a ton of money because the guy I marry will support my business ventures or creative projects, and if my career or projects generate more money than his salary it will even make him proud. So jealous husbands aside, let’s think about once you decide you want to start a business or go into a career. I’m scared I’m not going to find a career I love. That’s my biggest concern in life, like “what if I don’t find that thing?”.
BA: Ha, it’s like “what if I don’t find the one?”
And the career has to fit all the credentials like a checklist, like a guy.
SN: My ideal career. My ideal man.
BA: I’m trying to change my way of thinking to think someone can both build their career while being married. Because I always viewed those things as seperate entities. I was reading this blog post on Brides.com written by a Syrian woman who is now married and has two kids. She said getting married didn’t prevent her career, it enhanced it. He pushed her and encouraged her to pursue what she loved (writing), and pushed her to finish grad school. It was a nice perspective.
SN: Getting married should just be another milestone in a lifetime, not your end goal.
Did you watch that Ted Talk I showed you about embracing your multiplicity? The world pressures you to do one thing. I am working, photographing, for a girl who recently started to sell jewelry, and she told me that some people ask, “Is that what you want to do? Sell jewelry?” “Do you want your own store?” And she has a weed ring so she was telling me, “Am I going to be selling weed rings when I’m 50? Probably not. But maybe my business will one day evolve into a boutique store. Maybe I’ll just totally give up on it in a year! Who knows? But for right now this is what I want to be doing.”
BA: Starting something is the hardest part. It’s scary to take that risk, put yourself out there, put your business on social media. And your business might bomb. Or it might be too generic.
SN: It’s the same thing with guys. Like, oh do you want to marry him? Are you guys getting married? And it’s like I don’t know! I like him right now that’s all I know.
Like do you want to marry your career? God knows I don’t. It’s the same thing.
BA: Yeah but divorcing your career if you find a little problem is okay. You can jump from job to job in college.
SN: You don’t have to marry one path though. What I got from the Ted Talk on multiplicity, was that because I want to study philosophy, I go to college and study. If I then realize college isn’t for me, or that philosophy isn’t for me, I can drop out, switch majors, or switch schools. You can experiment with multiple possibilities in life and what you learn from each experience makes what you bring to each project all the richer.
BA: Women can experiment with creative outlets more than men can because men have to go into businesses that make money even if they don’t like what they’re doing. They can’t bake or make art like we can to make money unless it’s a side job.
This is where women relying on men for money derives from. We pressure boys from a young age that they’re the breadwinners. We need to teach girls from a young age that they can’t just expect to rely on a husband to support them. The same way we pressure boys to make money and save up, we should pressure girls to have a backup plan. They don’t know when they’re getting married.
SN: NO! A career or business is not a backup plan! We should be showing girls that while they have the community’s pools of resources in the palm of their hands, their families behind them, their husbands beside them, they could still support themselves. Because if you support yourself, you don’t need to wait for your parent’s paycheck or husbands vacation time to go to Paris, you can run with your idea of starting a lingerie business and open a boutique there.
BA: By the way, girls traveling is not considered to be risqué like it used to be. Since girls are traveling more, is that giving them more independence to start their own businesses? Or is it that all these things tie in together and we’re progressively changing?
Or starting a business for some people is another strategy to find a husband ha. You’re future mom in law will buy your cookies and say, “You’d be perfect for my son!”. I only joke about that, because my friend really met her husband that way.
I can so see it. “New ways to reduce the shidduch crisis: Women start your own business.”
SN: We want to have a powerhouse. And Syrian girls, you see how carefully polished our instagrams are? Imagine applying that to a work ethic? And working so hard on something like that?
I want a powerhouse of girls around me. And I’m trying to do that by inspiring other girls, but not many seem as interested as I am.
BA: But not everyone wants to do that.
SN: Some girls just want to get married.
BA: Let's try to have a Coffee and a Bagel one day without mentioning the word "marriage." Let's see how long we last.
But no, it's not about girls wanting to get married. Just picture life without working. Exercise in the mornings. Brunch with friends at Jack Wife’s Frieda. Cook dinner. How appealing and easy does that sound? I’m ready to jump ship from our powerhouse. It’s such a nice life, and I don’t mean that sarcastically.
SN: It really is attractive.
BA: And you can also paint on the side.
SN: Mahjong on Tuesdays.
BA: Bridge on Wednesdays. Bring back the 60’s!
SN: It’s tempting to give into that lifestyle, and it’s exciting to imagine a career for yourself, but why do we have to either give into temptation or struggle with prioritizing business and pleasure? We can do both.
BA: Cliche to say, but you really can do it all. It’s like the Career Services Network panel Shelly and I just went to was all about. The panel spoke about working women balancing work life and having a family. They all agreed it’s difficult but as long as you’re family is supportive and know some nights you’re going to have frozen chicken and won’t have themed sukkah life other families, you’ll manage.
I work for Corporate America and help manage Nina Garcia's schedule. I see how people can get sucked into that life that they have to put their kid's activities in a schedule and charity events are for work purposes and drinks with friends are essentially business meetings with extra mojitos. I see how difficult it is to have it all but it's possible.
SN: Neither of us have families to be concerned about balancing work right now though. You’re worried about job hunting, I’m worried about what to hunt for at all. Starting something is the hardest part, and choosing what to start seems even harder. Just keep the wheels churning with ideas, and run with whatever excites you. Do that hair, fold those sambusaks, write that Marie Claire article I always tell you to, Bonnie. Just do something.
BA: And if you’re really passionate about that something, you shouldn’t care what people have to say about it.