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Mitali Desai

Mitali Desai, Headshot, Summer 2016

Mitali Desai is a rising sophomore at Barnard College, where she is double majoring in English and Anthropology. Her passion for intersectional feminism began in high school when, after reading Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, she co-created a feminism club. After using JWA’s resources to write history papers and research the women’s movement throughout her academic career, she is thrilled to be behind the scenes as a blogger for such an impactful non-profit.

Blog Posts

Dimona Twist Movie Poster

A Review of Dimona Twist

by Mitali Desai

Upon arriving at the theater, I realize quickly that I am the youngest person in attendance by decades.This night of the film festival is titled “An Evening of Empowering Sephardi Women,” and I’m here to see Dimona Twist, an Israeli film created by documentarian Michal Aviad. Dimona Twist recounts the history of North African and Eastern European immigrants to Dimona, a development town in Southern Israel, told through individual stories of seven women.

Topics: Israel, Film
Jewish Food

Holidays and Eating Disorders

by Mitali Desai

This fall, when we greet family members we have not seen in a long time–especially our female relatives–let us comment not on their physiques, but on their accomplishments at work or school. Let us make a collective effort to refrain from commenting on other people’s food choices when we sit down for dinner.

Topics: Feminism
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

A Love Letter to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

by Mitali Desai

Television’s new Jewish American comedy scene, however, is being taken over by badly-behaved Jewish women like Bloom’s Rebecca, Lena Dunham’s Hannah, and Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana. These are women who take their Zoloft with mimosas and wreak havoc at their workplaces.

Brochure of The Wild Cat of Bombay (1927)

India’s Jewish Silent Film Stars and the Power of the Outsider

by Mitali Desai

When one exists in opposition to the status quo because of her ethnicity, it feels more natural to also begin to question the significance of gender and other means of social stratification. I am not an average Jew or an average Indian. Why would I try to be an “average” woman, to conform to archaic rules and norms that have nothing to do with me?

Topics: Film
Prophet and Hillary Image, 2016

Prophets, Politics, and the Modern Girl

by Mitali Desai

Maybe politicians sacrifice authenticity for popularity, and prophets sacrifice efficacy for moral purity. Maybe politicians choose their paychecks over their values and prophets choose radicalness over relatability. Maybe politicians are too quick to resort to “business as usual.” Maybe prophets are too quick to isolate themselves.

Topics: Civil Service
Teen Vogue Cover, July 2016

Black Lives Matter, and Get Thoughtful Coverage, At Teen Vogue

by Mitali Desai

After last week’s murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers, America’s cities erupted in protest. A tragic and incendiary week became even more violent when a gunman opened fire on a Dallas protest, murdering five police officers. The resulting media frenzy was, overall, disheartening. Some of the worst journalism of the week included CNN’s decision to invite Congressman Joe Walsh to defend a tweet in which he declared war on Obama and Black Lives Matter, the Washington Post’s misleading conflation of BLM protestors with Black Panthers, and The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren calling BLM the “new KKK.” Less overtly offensive articles and talk show segments were speculatory, lukewarm, or sensational.

Topics: Civil Rights
Mitali Desai

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

by Mitali Desai

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.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mitali Desai." (Viewed on September 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/author/mitali-desai>.

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