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Activism

All Dress Is Feminist, No Dress Is Feminist

Recently I found myself bombarded by a series of conflicting articles, all telling women how they should dress. Strangely, for articles that seek to police women’s behavior, each one claims that its dress prescription is the only way women can be respected from a feminist perspective. 

Barbara Brenner, 1951 - 2013

For her 60th birthday, Barbara Brenner’s partner, Suzanne Lampert, invited a number of Barbara’s friends over for a party and asked them to bring their laptops.  Once there, the guests’ computers were fitted with software that allowed them to type whatever they wished to say and have it spoken aloud by the machines.  Barbara, who had lost her ability to speak as a result of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), now was surrounded by close companions who communicated in the same manner she had been using for a long while.

The Catwalk Or The Cafeteria?

Imagine it’s the first week of September. In New York City that means two things: school is starting, and midtown Manhattan is filling up with fashionistas and papparazzi; it’s Fashion Week. 

Does Doing My Hair Make Me A Bad Feminist?

Around the time of my bat mitzvah (the Jewish coming of age ceremony), I started to straighten my hair every Shabbat. Each Friday afternoon, I would rush home from school to make it into the shower with enough time to do my hair before the sun set. Although it was stressful at times, it became something I really enjoyed doing. 

The Women’s Room: A Report from Berlin’s Refugee Centers

When I log on to the Volunteer Planner for helping at Berlin’s refugee centers I see the current tally of volunteers and hours worked: 18,000+ registered volunteers, 50,000+ hours worked. This makes me think of former President George H.W. Bush’s phrase “a thousand points of light.” Thousands in Germany are lighting the way towards a new life for thousands seeking asylum.

On Gender Expression, Elementary School Fashion Rebellion, And Ill-Fitted Polo Shirts

It is a general truism that in a society which prioritizes one’s physical appearance over one’s personality, dressing outside of the established norm is often a form of social self-ruin. It is also a general truism that the delicate ecosystem of Jewish private school isn’t the place most conducive to experimentation with gender expression through clothing. 

Noam Green as a Child

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Author Noam Green photographed as a young child.

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JWA use only on jwa.org

Author Noam Green photographed as a young child.

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The "Women's Room" at Rathaus Wilmersdorf

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The "women's room" at Rathaus Wilmersdorf, one of Berlin’s eighteen relief centers.

Photo courtesy of Donna Swarthout.

Rights
JWA use only on jwa.org

The "women's room" at Rathaus Wilmersdorf, one of Berlin’s eighteen relief centers.

Photo courtesy of Donna Swarthout.

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Dear Midge Decter

You know the saying: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Were we to meet, we wouldn’t be enemies exactly, but I doubt that we’d be friends either. While you and I are both female Jewish writers, the similarity stops there. 

Caroline Kubzansky Holding "Fearless" Sign

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Author Caroline Kubzansky holds up a sign that reads "Fearless."

Rights
JWA use only on jwa.org

Author Caroline Kubzansky holds up a sign that reads "Fearless."

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on February 10, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/activism>.

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