Unorthodox is a coming of age American-German limited series about 19 year old Esther who is looking to find the “Ultimate Satisfaction” via marriage. Esther finds her own voice in an Orthodox Satmar Hasidic Jewish community of Williamsburg New York.
To procreate is a priority for women of her community.
But Esty cannot fathom the idea, when her mother-in-law comes over to discuss the couples inability to consummate – her son tells her everything so she proudly states.
“My son is to feel like a king in bed, so that means am I to be made to feel like a queen?” asks Esther.
Esther’s piano tutor empathises with & helps her escape to Berlin and it is here where she experiences a myriad of emotions that come forth, like a blank canvas waiting to be filled with vibrant colours.
In a heartfelt confession to her new set of friends from different ethnic backgrounds, at the Berlin School of Art, she shares that God expected too much of her. Her love interest Robert is also a part of the same group and seems to be intrigued by her experiences so far.
She is anticipating her recently discovered pregnancy and knows that this will be the reason her community will fight for her return and will see her taking on a new life as a single mother as blasphemous especially since they are an orthodox community.
In the series we go on a journey with Esther who is excited almost like a newborn herself, wanting to taste ,feel, experience and make new connections without the constant scrutiny of her community.
The scene where she enters the waters of the Wannsee lake is breathtaking, she feels so liberated, she discards her wig which used to be part of her restricting attire ( the Hassidic women shave their natural hair and wear a wig always) and as she floats in the cool liberating waters of the lake in total abandonment, a promise of new beginnings is being conceived.
Esther discovers a new woman within her; she does not want to turn back now.
This leads me to think,
What is the inherent role of a woman? Is there a need within us to always conform to the norms set for us? Sometimes even by other women?
Is it the Fear of our biological clock? To Procreate because GOD meant it to be? Does my inability to have a biological child make me less of a woman, and for that matter less of a mother? Do I have to feel ashamed to show off my healthy head of hair or my body ?
And most importantly Do I have to make my man feel like a king in bed? Is it ok for me to just be the Queen? In my QUEENDOM ?
This is a part of the Empathy through Art series at Serein. This series is designed to enhance the conversation on diversity, inclusion, unconscious bias and role of empathy in the workplace.
At Serein we believe that diversity and inclusion are the pillars of a good society. Issues of inclusion, diversity, unconscious bias and mental health can affect home and the workplace in many ways.
Having worked on gender and with many other forms of diversity we have come to realise that an empathetic approach to all builds inclusion. It also builds a trusting environment in society as well as the workplace. If you would like to learn more about diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership or how to speak about empathy, emotional/mental health issues or conduct gender, diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, mental wellbeing trainings in the workplace, do drop us a line at email@example.com