The Women's Issue
New York Times and New York Times Magazine features writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner put it well on #InternationalWomensDay when she tweeted: “Seeing on Facebook a ton of friends whose companies celebrated #InternationalWomensDay with f*cking balloons and birthday cake. The patriarchy is not dead. The patriarchy is throwing a kid’s birthday party.”
Don’t eat their cake.
And where’s the feminism for the women who couldn’t afford to take off work to attend the Women’s March or participate in A Day Without a Woman? Women like Rhita, the owner and chef of S&J, a beloved Moroccan restaurant in Astoria. She recently fell on hard times and was unable to pay rent to keep her shop open. Local blogs like Food and Footprints publicized a GoFundMe fundraiser that locals started to help Rhita get back on her feet. There are many women who don’t have the privilege of participating in feminism as it’s been packaged in 2018. The fight for women’s rights must be intersectional.
Society is womaning up. Over the last decade, women-owned businesses in New York City have outpaced their male counterparts by sheer volume. According to the 2012 Survey of Business Owners, there were 725,709 women-owned businesses in New York as of that year. There’s a record number of female candidates running for office for the first time this year. It’s a start.
So, hi! Welcome to our first ever Women’s issue. There are so many incredible women in the Queens food world, we could fill every issue with them, and we plan to. We’ve got tales of matriarchs and entrepreneurial immigrant chefs galore, a Flushing native who went from self-hatred to pride for her Chinese American heritage, a coalition of women business owners in Rockaway who meet monthly to offer each other advice, support and camaraderie. We went into our borough president’s kitchen and talked about single-motherhood, chicken soup and her history of passing legislation that benefits families and women—namely, a law that requires HMOs to provide women with direct access to gynecological services without a primary care provider referral. Lexie Smith thinks bread is like a river, and her glutinous art seeks to equalize and educate us about each other vis-a-vis our daily bread habits.
Women are going to keep talking to each other, and lifting each other up. With each whisper network or list of abusers that’s quelled, a Medusa’s scalp-worth will regenerate in its place.
So yes, let’s celebrate these amazing women and wear hand-stitched pink patches that say “Smash the Patriarchy,” but let’s actually do something to smash it, too. Let’s do business with and pour our money and support into woman-owned and helmed businesses and candidates who will work to help our most vulnerable.
And to all my women out there: Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
I’m sorry I couldn’t write you a sweet little rah-rah letter for this issue. It would be a great disservice to the hoiden (“A girl, or woman, of saucy, boisterous, bold or carefree behavior. A trailblazer”) women featured herein.