The Jewish Women's Archive offices are located in Masachusetts, and as you might imagine, morale was pretty low in the office yesterday. On Tuesday, we witnessed one of the greatest defeats for the Democratic party as Republican Scott Brown was elected to represent our traditionally "blue" state. Gender was never really a part of Martha Coakley's campaign, nor the rhetoric surrounding the race in the weeks and months leading up to the election.
I recently received a press release announcing the launch of JSitter.com, a site that purports to connect families with "reliable" Jewish babysitters, pet sitters, and house sitters. My initial reaction to this was disgust. This morning while I was catching up on my reading, I saw a post on TC Jewfolk that caught my attention. In their advice column, "Ask Shuli," a reader asked: "I’m wondering where to find a Jewish babysitter.
Today I discovered a particularly obnoxious column in the Boston Globe that began with the line, "A specter is haunting America, and much of the industrialized world - the specter of female domination." The piece, by Globe columnist Alex Beam, argues that women are taking over America and that boys are "tomorrow's second sex." Beam claims that because women outnumber men in general, in colleges, and in the workforce, they are, in effect, "dominating" America. As the father of 3 sons, Beam wonders if he is "raising the underclass of tomorrow." Seriously?
I knew I would regret it as soon as I started typing, but I did it anyway. As much as I try to avoid getting into virtual arguments in talkback-land, this week I found myself unable to restrain myself. The language, it seems to me, is at the root of the problem, and that’s where the fight needs to take place.
Today Jane Eisner, editor in chief of The Forward, reported the second egregious injustice at the Western Wall in the following pieces.
Women of the Wall Leader Interrogated by Police
The leader of Women of the Wall, a group of women who gather monthly to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, was questioned by police, fingerprinted, and told that she may be charged with a felony for violating the rules of conduct at what is considered Judaism’s most sacred site.
Last week the Jewish Chronicle asked us to nominate the most important Jewish person in sports over the last decade. They suggested Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun, European judo champion Arik Ze’evi, tennis star Andy Ram, and American swimmer Jason Lezak. Tablet magazine picked up on the story, and added Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis to the list. Excuse me, but where are the Jewish women athletes? Have they been invisible for the past ten years? Considering the Associated Press' recent nomination of two horses for "Female Athlete of the Year," maybe so.
Recently, the infamous Heeb magazine began a feature on their blog called "Gratuitous Jewess," in which they feature photos of a scantily-clad Jewish woman, and then readers comment about whether or not they would "hit that." Last week there was outrage over the Details piece heralding this very same "Jewess fetish," but apparently the objectification of Jewish women from within the Tribe goes relatively unchallenged.
These last several weeks, I (like other JWA bloggers) have walked around in a haze of frustration, rage, and despair over politicians' apparent blindness to the centrality of women's health to national health. As a historian, I can attest that as goes women's health, so goes the health of the nation.
News of the University of Wisconsin's slang term "Coastie" exploded over the weekend with a song called "What's a Coastie" quickly going viral on Youtube. A "Coastie," as explained in the song, is an out-of-state student who wears East Coast fashion and is a "rich Jewish girl." The lyrics say: