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Feminism

A(wo)men to Women's History Month

I remember in my second grade classroom where the “History” bulletin board sat. It was in the far left corner, front of the room, right in my eye line. And I have a very clear memory of being infuriated as the “Black History Month” board was taken down and then replaced by “Women’s History Month.” My early feminist and anti-racist indignation was not kept silent—I often asked my teacher why we had only one month for African American history or women’s history…my question, as many have asked before and since, was:

Shouldn’t it all be the same? Shouldn’t we be learning everyone’s history?

Political Judo: Why Words Matter

The New York Times had an interesting article today on how female politicians are leveraging offensive and sexist remarks by Republicans to mobilize their base and help with fundraising campaigns. It’s an empowering and deeply satisfying act of political judo, using your opponent’s attacks against them so their smear campaigns only leave them covered in muck themselves.

Food, Fat, and Feminism: Navigating the Contradictions of Judaism and Food

We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the zaftig Jewish bubbe, stuffing her offspring with chicken soup and brisket, shouting, “Eat! Eat! You’re skin and bones.” We love to talk about these mythical kitchens of our childhoods—tables overflowing with kugels and babkas, tsimmus and kneidlach. But for many Jewish women, there was another, more painful, side to this abundance. Our bubbes didn’t just say, “Eat! Eat!” they also said “Why are you eating so much? You’re getting fat!” I don’t think this contradiction is unique to Judaism, but I do think there’s a distinctive cultural spin to this schizophrenic relationship to food. And considering the prevalence of eating disorders, if there are cultural roots, we need to weed them out.

Frozen and Feminism on Screen

When my family wanted to go see Frozen, Disney’s newest animated feature, over Thanksgiving weekend, I went along only grudgingly. Judging from the trailers and the product placement I had seen around my local drugstores, all I could tell about Frozen was that it would involve a princess and a wisecracking snowman cavorting across a wintry landscape. Nothing too memorable or extraordinary, I figured.

Happily, I was wrong.

Girl Rising

Abby Mohr lives a stone's throw away from Boston, but her take on education is global. Barely even in her teenage years, and she cares deeply about making sure girls all over the world can get an education. “I really like school,” she says. “Boys get to go to school all over the world, and girls should too.” Most teenagers probably do not realize just how lucky they are to be educated, but Abby is not one of them.

How Do You Relate to the Word "Feminist"?

It probably won't come as much of a shock to you that the word “feminist” comes with significant baggage. Identifying as a feminist is not as straightforward to some as it is to others.

In order to get a better feel for the word, we took to the (metaphorical) streets of twitter, email, and facebook to get a feel for the word. We’re sharing these reactions to the word—and asking if you identify as a feminist.

Meet Rosabeth Moss Kanter- She Led the Way for Women in the Workforce

I remember how excited I was to discover Rosabeth Moss Kanter in the early 1980’s. She was one of the few females writing about leadership and organizational change management. I hungrily devoured The Change Masters as a relatively new nonprofit CEO navigating roiling changes in the healthcare and political landscape while learning to lead a complex organization toward continued growth.

Stuck in a “Pissed Off” Time Warp

Sometimes when I’m speaking about my alma mater, Smith College, I’ll start with Gloria Steinem. Forget being the largest of the Seven Sister schools, or having the first women’s engineering program, or even the amazing education I received. For bragging rights, I go straight to fellow Smithie Ms. Steinem.

Leaning In With Sheryl Sandberg

Editorial in the Forward published online March 6, 2013

It’s so tempting to deride Sheryl Sandberg for her new, self-appointed role as the leader of a social movement to bring more gender equality to the workplace.

She must be one of the richest, most successful working mothers on the planet, and in her new book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” her attempts to identify with ordinary working moms seem comical at times.

To illustrate that she, too, has found herself in unexpected situations as a parent, she describes a time when she discovered her children had head lice. What parent can’t relate? Except that Sandberg was on her way to a Silicon Valley business conference. On a corporate jet. Owned by the CEO of eBay.

Nah.

A few more stories for the road

As I prepare to leave my position as JWA’s Director of Public History after more than 12 years here, my mind keeps returning me back to the summer day in 2000 when I first stepped into the offices of the Jewish Women’s Archive. At the time, I was a disgruntled graduate student, disillusioned with life in the Ivory Tower and the academic study of women’s history. (Was a library really the best place to learn about women’s activism, I wondered?).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Feminism." (Viewed on September 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/feminism>.

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Today in 1990, the Jewish Press profiled Rabbi Bonnie Koppell, the first female rabbi to serve in the U.S. military http://t.co/JaJvIc0U20
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