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Feminism

Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight’s poetry interweaves her feminism and elements of Judaism with highly symbolic language.

Femininjas

Back in 2011, as newly minted high schoolers at Gann Academy in Waltham, Kineret Grant-Sasson and Mitali Desai had an idea: during the second half of freshman year, they would start holding meetings for a feminist club, welcoming students with all levels of knowledge and interest. Today, Kineret and Mitali are incoming seniors, and their club, Feminijas, is going strong. Femininjas meets Mondays at lunch for discussions about gender, power, and feminism, topics many students don’t study in earnest until well into college. Recently, they embarked on a photo project, something they’d seen online and thought would be an empowering exercise for Femininjas. The concept was simple: pass around a white dry-erase board, ask participants to write a blurb about why they need feminism, and take a picture. The results are powerful, encouraging, and thought-provoking.

Dorothy Dinnerstein

Dorothy Dinnerstein earned her place as a major feminist thinker with her groundbreaking 1976 book The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise.

Annette Daum

Annette Daum combined interfaith dialogue and feminism in the hopes of both defusing anti-Semitism in the feminist movement and finding solutions to the common problems facing women in different faiths.

Rose Laub Coser

Sociologist Rose Laub Coser redefined major concepts in role theory—the idea that our actions are largely dictated by our roles in society—and applied them to expectations of women’s roles in the family and the workplace.

Theresa Bernstein

An artist whose career spanned ninety years, Theresa Bernstein echoed the philosophy of the Ashcan School with her expressive paintings of daily life in the bustling crowds of New York.

Jessie Bernard

Sociologist Jessie Bernard anticipated feminist theory by discussing the differences between men’s and women’s experiences and arguing that quantitative studies did not accurately represent women’s stories.

Evelyn Torton Beck

Evelyn Torton Beck made contributions to women’s studies and the Jewish community through her scholarship and her efforts to ensure lesbian inclusion in Jewish life.

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur made a career of playing formidable, opinionated women in movies and on television.

The Personal is Political: What I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Rejecting

When I was in tenth grade, a male friend of mine told me he would kill himself after I said I wouldn’t go out with him. The next day, he confronted me in the hallway and told me I was, among other things, a terrible person, a tease, and a slut. Later that year, a senior who I was too shy to talk to approached me and told me he really liked me and wanted to go out. He tried to kiss me at my locker, in front of a teacher, and I pulled away. Later he told his friends that I wouldn’t have sex with him and that I was obsessed with playing hard to get; that I loved the attention. Of course, this was news to me—I’d had a crush on him and was baffled when he stopped talking to me after the attempted public kiss. Later I learned that the two of them—I’m-going-to-kill-myself guy and kamikaze-kiss-guy—circulated a list detailing which sexual positions would best take advantage of my body—which, as was noted in the list, “would be really great if she lost 5 pounds.” There were other incidents that year, and many more throughout high school.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Feminism." (Viewed on July 25, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/feminism>.

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