My mom is being such a patriarchy right now. After careful consideration and hours consulting the Holy Scripture, I landed on the perfect theme for my Bat Mitzvah party. The theme is Free The Nipple. Perf, right?
FTN is all about women exposing their breasts in a not-necessarily-sexual manner on social media and daring websites not to remove the pictures, because women shouldn’t have to feel shame about having mammary glands which are vital for like the human species and are totally natural and stop shaming women into being embarrassed about their bodies (I get it because I’m a woman now! Come to my Bat Mitzvah!)! Also men can walk around shirtless and no one says anything but when women wear crop-tops they get street harassed. How eff’d up is that? Which is exactly what I told my mom. Actually, I said it even better than that.
I explained to her that this party is a celebration of my ascent into adulthood in the eyes of the Jewish community. As an adult woman, I feel compelled to be a role model for girls who haven’t yet realized that their bodies are beautiful and natural and wonderful and should be celebrated instead of covered up, denigrated or objectified. Which is why I’d like the theme of my party to be Free The Nipple. Instead of glow bracelets we could hand out informational pamphlets about state-by-state topless laws.
Unfortunately my mom said, “I don’t know why you want to punish me like this,” and went into her room with a bottle of Manischewitz for three-and-a-half hours.
I know, I know. I could pick something “normal” – I could do a Paris Party with inflatable Eiffel Towers and French pastries for dessert. I could pick “pop stars” and play Katy Perry and have a dress-up booth with pink feather boas and glittery microphones. I could even copy stupid Rachel Karinski and do “baby animals.” That party was such a bore. All of the tables were decorated with pictures of kittens and guests were encouraged to bring their dogs. Rachel just doesn’t understand what it’s really like to be a woman.
Unlike Rachel, I do not find the burden and responsibilities of modern womanhood too much to handle. I greet the challenges of feminist life with an open mind and a full heart and exposed nipples. My mom asks me where I’m supposed to find a topless dress. Oh puh-lease. I will be wearing a pantsuit with no shirt, because I am effing Ready 4 Hillary. My Torah portion might be about the slaves’ exodus from Egypt, but my speech will touch on its themes via the feminine spirit’s exodus from the kitchen. It’s entitled Semites Lean In, and it is 20 pages long. I can’t give that speech at my ceremony and then go to a party where everyone’s covering up, can I? Obvi not.
Some less forward-thinking members of the community (my mother and also Rabbi Schlosser) have tried to intimidate me into a broader, less powerful theme like “strong women” or “equality” by indicating that any photos taken at a party where seventh grade girls expose their budding breasts would be considered “child pornography.” To which I say: You can’t fix a broken system by following its rules. Are you holding me to a different standard than the mothers of our people? And where in the Old Testament does it say we have to wear shirts all the time? It doesn’t. Exactly.
My mom will probably be more receptive to radical expressions of equality after a nap. She’s a good mom; she’s just been ingrained with the conservative values of her upbringing. I can’t hold that against her. I can, however, ask that in lieu of cash or gifts my guests make a small donation to their local rape/crisis center and post a tasteful nude selfie to their preferred social media platform with the hashtag #FreeTheBatMitzvah. Mazel tov. L’Chaim.