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Activism

The Gender Politics of Shaving

I have never prioritized shaving my legs. I’ve always found it a nuisance and a burden and have therefore generally avoided it all together. When questioned why, I would always come up with answers such as “bending over in the shower is too much work” or “I was in a rush,” but recently, after seeing a very thought provoking photo in which a women is depicted shaving flowers off her body, I began to further question my reasons for not shaving my legs.

The Rebel Women of Passover

My grandfather starts every Pesach Seder with the same opening lines. He talks about how he can remember being at the Seder table with his grandfather, who was once at a Seder table with his grandfather, and if you follow the generations back only a few more times you are right back at the original Pesach celebration, the escape from Egypt. These few words add so much meaning to my Pesach experience; I feel a direct relation to the Jews who escaped slavery so long ago. But while I love being able to draw this connection to the ancient past, something has always struck me about this tale: how come women are not part of this story of family linkage?

Jennie Franklin Purvin

Of her many efforts to improve Chicago, the legacy that still stands as Jennie Franklin Purvin’s most visible accomplishment is the beachfronts on Lake Michigan for swimming and recreation.

Hortense Powdermaker

Anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker used her experiences of anti-Semitism and “passing” to offer new insights into how societies manage tensions between insiders and outsiders.

Josephine Wertheim Pomerance

Josephine Wertheim Pomerance spearheaded efforts for nuclear arms control as founder and head of the Committee for World Development and World Disarmament (CWDWD).

Anita Pollitzer

As a party organizer for the National Woman’s Party, Anita Pollitzer travelled across the country to earn crucial support for ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment.

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

As general counsel to both Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, Harriet Fleischl Pilpel helped shape the arguments for reproductive rights in the years leading up to Roe v. Wade.

Speaking Out and Standing Up

If you had asked me two years ago if I thought of myself as a rebel, I would have been completely taken aback. I also would have said “no!” in a shocked tone, and ask you what on earth had led to that conclusion. I’ve always thought of rebels as people who resist authority or control and honestly, I don’t resist.

Fighting Back

Can someone please tell me when taking advantage of women became an acceptable thing to do? Stories of assault on college campuses and towards so many people—as well as the overwhelming lack of prevention—give quite the impression that violence is an untouchable part of society. I’ve learned recently, though, that it doesn’t have to be.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Aline Kominsky-Crumb helped reshape the role of women in comics with autobiographical stories that challenged both the conventional image of women as trophies and the feminist image of women as idealized heroines.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on July 29, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/activism>.

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