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Weekly Wrap Up: Miss America fallout, Jewish feminism stalls, and more

  • Miss Massachusetts Loren Galler Rabinowitz did not win the Miss America pageant, but that doesn't mean we we can't talk about it. Ms. Magazine wonders why we haven't been protesting the pageant. Heeb laments Rabinowitz' loss, but reminds us about Erin Stern, winner of the Ms. Figure Olympia bodybuilding competition back in September, 2010. My favorite response, however, comes from Rachel Shukert of Tablet, who writes:

But anyway, good for Teresa Scanlan, I guess. I look forward to seeing her on Fox News in ten years. And Loren Rabinowitz can go to medical school with a great story of this crazy thing she did one time; and the rest of us can go back to not caring about the Miss America pageant, because it’s an inherently sexist, anti-intellectual institution where they have to approve of how your bottom looks in a bikini before they let you show your “talent.”

So it’s a lot like real life.

  • Twenty years after the publication of her seminal work, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism From a Feminist Perspective, Judith Plaskow argues that not enough has changed: “A lot of the claims and insights of feminism have vanished. There isn’t a historical memory, a communal memory. There are all these important feminist issues that continue and are not really being discussed.” Read more in The ForwardJudith Plaskow is a -- nay, the pioneer of Jewish Feminism, and is featured in JWA's online exhibit, Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution
  • Heeb has an interesting new blog feature called "You Don't Look Jewish."  So far, they have posted six entries, each features a Jewish woman, her photo, and a few details about her like age, city, occupation and hair color. Of the six, four are blonde, one is a redhead, and one is African American. This speaks volumes to the idea that there is such a thing as "Jewish hair," which we blogged about here, which inspired us to create a Flickr photo pool where folks could share pictures of their "Jewish hair."  (You can still add yours!) In many ways, this feature is a positive attempt to show that Jews are diverse, although it sort of bugs me that blonde hair is considered "diversity" and only features women. Still, at least it's better than Heeb's other feature: "The Gratuitous Jewess."
  • The Sisterhood has a great roundup of the women of the New York Jewish Film Festival, including young women who leave their ultra-Orthodox communities, a 61 year-old woman in the dating scene, a grieving mother, Israeli teens dealing with Israeli/Palestinian politics, and Grace Paley, the inspiring writer and peace activist featured in JWA's We Remember.
  • In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, The Forward is holding a poetry contest. JWA is doing something to mark this important date -- something BIG. We're holding the inaugural Jewish Women's Archive Luncheon at the New York City Fire Museum, with a program and walking tour to follow. More information is coming soon, but be sure to save the date! 
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1 Comment

I don't necessarily think the pageant is sexist, despite how tacky it is. For women to be able to parade themselves, at their choice, is a mark of freedom and empowerment. The fact that they may be observed by sexist individuals seems irrelevant to me.

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How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Weekly Wrap Up: Miss America fallout, Jewish feminism stalls, and more." 21 January 2011. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 17, 2018) <>.


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