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Feminism

What's In A Name? The Obligation to be a "Sweet" Girl

I did not choose to be sweet. Sweet was assigned to me at birth: my name, Mitali, literally translates from Hindi to “sweetness.” For most of my life, I was called “sweet” almost incessantly; praised for being generous, nurturing and selfless. I would blush, stare at the floor demurely, and giggle a “thank you” in return. In reality though, this made me feel more like a well-behaved puppy than it felt like a testament to my character.

We're Not "Sweet": Three Generations of Women on the Oppression of Gendered Words

“Kineret, do not feel like you have to be nice to everyone all the time. It will get you into trouble,” my mother told me in my early adolescence. It was her version of “the talk”: the imparting of wisdom from mother to daughter, wisdom that is only achieved over time and through many challenging experiences.

Tech Execs in Boyshorts: "Intelligent" Advertising?

Dear Kate is an underwear company that I first heard about this morning. The company’s founder is a former chemical engineer named Julie Sygiel who felt betrayed by her leaky underwear—yes, Dear Kate was created to make better period panties. The company is run by four women, and their website is full of words like “technology” “revolutionary” and “real women.” I arrived at said website because my friend sent me Dear Kate’s latest ad campaign and it really rubbed me the wrong way. All of my mixed feelings about using feminism in advertising—a trend that has rapidly gathered steam over the last few months—came to a head. This was BAD. I hated it. It pissed me off.

JAP? Nah, I'm a JAF.

Nearly every Jewish woman is familiar with the stereotype of the Jewish American Princess (JAP). You probably went to camp or high school or college with that girl, you know, the one who got a nose job the summer before eleventh grade, or the one who talked loudly about her tour of Europe over winter break. Even if you’re not really the jappy type, whenever you acted remotely bratty or spoiled, there it was: someone telling you to stop acting like a JAP.

More than a Hashtag: Nigerian Girls, Social Media, and Bruriah

As a feminist activist and Internet junkie, I get most of my news from online, feminist-leaning news sources. Consequently, I learned about the plight of the 300 kidnapped girls in Nigeria before the general public became aware of it. I was dismayed that it took so long for mainstream news sites to cover the incident, and I am equally saddened by its quick disappearance from people’s thoughts. Although major news sites are still reporting on the situation, such updates are largely absent from social media. A couple days ago, my Facebook newsfeed was exploding with event pages, shared articles, and updated statuses about the kidnapped girls. Now, I hear nothing.

Miranda Bloch, The Flying Marine

"I am proud that I had the guts and the patriotism to defy my parents and enlist in the service of my country when it needed me." –Miranda Bloch

"What is a nice Jewish girl going to do in the military, especially in the Marine Corps?" –Miranda Bloch’s incredulous father

Did you know that there were women in the Marines in the 1940’s? I certainly didn’t.  

Frances Slanger, Purple Heart

“The fire was burning low, and just a few live coals are on the bottom. With the slow feeding of wood and finally coal, a roaring fire is started. I couldn't help thinking how similar to a human being a fire is. If it is not allowed to run down too low, and if there is a spark of life left in it, it can be nursed back. So can a human being.” –Frances Slanger

Lt. Frances Slanger of Roxbury, Massachusetts was one of four nurses who waded ashore at Normandy on D-Day. She was also the first American nurse to die in Europe in World War II.

Women of the U.S. Airforce: Selma Cronan and Yetta Moskowitz

In 1942, the United States was suffering through a severe shortage of pilots. Men were needed to fight overseas, and the government was forced to take a chance and train women to fly military aircraft. This pioneering group of civilian female pilots was called the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP for short. Over 1,000 young women were trained to fly B-26 and B-29 bombers, test new planes, and fly shipments across the country from factories to military bases. Fun fact: the WASP mascot was drawn by Walt Disney, and appeared on each woman’s shoulder patch. Less fun fact: All records of the WASPs were classified and sealed for 35 years, so their contributions were little known and all but inaccessible to historians.

Summer internship opportunities at JWA

Do you know someone looking for an engaging internship experience this summer? The Jewish Women's Archive has openings for several unpaid interns, 10–20 hours per week, beginning June 13, 2011 for both undergraduates and graduates. Academic year positions may also be available. 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Feminism." (Viewed on October 2, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/feminism>.

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