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Rising Voices

Learn more about the Rising Voices Fellowship, JWA's thought-leadership program for female-identified teens.

Three RVF Fellows in Feminist T-shirts

Women's Rights are Human Rights

Feminism is a big part of the Rising Voices Fellowship, and our Fellows involve themselves in feminist work in a variety of different ways. From attending conferences about issues facing women today, to addressing sexual assault in schools and beyond, these young women are standing up for themselves, and for women in their communities.

Topics: Feminism
Rising Voices and Havdallah Candle (Winter 2018)

Standing Up For Our Lives

In the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many of our Rising Voices Fellows sprung into action. From writing their own reflections and calling for change, to organizing their communities to act, these young women are taking part in a teen-led movement that’s sweeping the nation.

Rising Voices Fellows at Winter 2018 Retreat (Intersectionality Talk)

Practicing Allyship

These Rising Voices Fellows are standing up against racism, and for diversity and racial equality. From attending rallies and conferences, to tackling race-related issues in their own communities, these young women are modeling good allyship, and reminding us that we must advocate for others, not just for ourselves.

Poster for The L Word

Taking an L? Maybe, maybe not.

First aired on Showtime in 2004, The L Word became the first ever TV series that documented the lives of an ensemble of queer women. Modeled after the life of creator, screenwriter, and director, Ilene Chaiken, The L Word includes a groundbreaking set of TV firsts: television’s first deaf lesbian, its first regularly occurring transgender character, and its first interracial lesbian couple. The L Word pushed social boundaries and explored taboo themes such as: bisexuality, gender nonconformity, same-sex parenting, addiction, and rape. Over the almost 14 years since the show was first aired, The L Word has received much praise for its intimate storylines, representative depiction of the lesbian community, smart humor, and affinity for drama. However, because a monolithic gay experience or gay culture does not exist, The L Word didn’t (and perhaps couldn’t) capture the full picture of what it means to be a lesbian.

Topics: Television
Cast of Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name: A Novel Representation of Judaism

There’s something spiritual hidden in the text of André Aciman’s 2007 novel, Call Me By Your Name, and in the experience of reading it for the first time.

Fixer Upper Logo

Does Fixer Upper Need Fixing Up?

HGTV’s Fixer Upper is my guilty pleasure. I could watch the iconic married duo Chip and Joanna “Jo” Gaines renovate houses for hours. They take run-down homes in Waco, Texas, and turn them into something straight off of Pinterest or Etsy. But while the show is certainly entertaining, I take issue with some of the more subliminal messages the show portrays.

Cast of Twilight

A Sparkling Vampire Ruined My Love Life

When I was 11 I fell in love for the first time. He was funny and cute, dorky in the most endearing way, loyal to a fault, a bit of a spaz, very, very fictional, and went by the name of Ron Weasley. Real boys had cooties, so, in fifth grade, most of us preferred the fictional ones. Harry Potter and his best friend Ron Weasley, Troy Bolton from High School Musical (man, was Zac Efron a cutie)... Above all else, we loved Edward Cullen and Jacob Black, the love interests of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga. 

Topics: Schools, Film, Fiction
Rachel Brosnahan

The Marvelous Concept of Imperfection

My mother is an avid recommender. She sends me articles and book titles, offers topics to blog about—she even suggested I see Hamilton with my grandma when it first opened on Broadway (before it got super popular). Unfortunately, more often than not I just roll my eyes and ignore these recommendations (as us teenagers often do), and so I have yet to see Hamilton. In the spirit of not making the same mistake twice, I didn’t ignore her when she told me to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Cast of Runaways

You Go, Gert Yorkes

I’m a simple woman. I don’t need too much encouragement to start a new TV show. So when I heard there was a Hulu original series coming out that features a purple-haired, teenage, Jewish feminist with a pet dinosaur, I decided to watch it. And, I’m so glad I did. 

Falsettos

L’dor Vador in Falsettoland

I walked into a dark Walter Kerr Theater. I didn’t know much about the show, but I knew Andrew Rannells was in it, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a good enough reason to see any show. The band warmed up and the lights dimmed. Then, three men and a little boy walked on stage dressed as “Biblical Hebrews” singing, “Four Jews in a Room Bitching.” I’ve never felt more at home. 

Everything is Illuminated Book Cover

Everything Is…Complicated

I love reading Jewish literature. Seeing my culture and experience come to life on the pages of a book can be meaningful and validating; it makes my idiosyncratic religious practices feel normal, and real. The representation and recognition of Judaism in popular culture is crucial, but what do you do when the author gets it wrong? 

Sex and the City Poster

Feminism in Sex and the City: Looking Back and Moving Forward

New York City. Quippy dialogue. Journalism. Fashion and shoes galore.

What’s not to love about Sex and the City?

"The Chosen" Book Cover

One Chosen People, Many Chosen Ways

As a young Jewish woman in contemporary society, I tend to use the word "pluralism" a lot, in a fairly abstract way. I sometimes struggle to explain this concept despite it meaning so much to me, but I have found no example better than Chaim Potok's iconic young adult novel, The Chosen. When I first read The Chosen in tenth grade, it brought on a series of mixed emotions. I was beginning the journey toward understanding my religious and secular identities, and simultaneously saw so much and so little of myself in the protagonists, Reuven and Danny.

Zootopia Poster

A Feminist Tail Fur All

As the oldest of three children, I often see movies directed towards a younger age demographic with my family. For my sister’s ninth birthday party, we took her and a couple of friends to see Zootopia. I walked away from the movie feeling excited, and proud of Disney for their newest movie.

Topics: Children, Film
Aaron Sorkin

Sorkin’s Game

It feels like just yesterday I was an innocent fifth grader sitting around your kitchen table, discussing trivial fifth grade matters with your daughter, and taking vigorous mental notes on how to become a successful writer and beloved artist such as yourself. I assumed by 2018 I’d still be working on it, and you’d still be telling important stories the compelling way you do. Your work never ceases to leave me full of hope for humanity, and Molly’s Game is no exception. 

Topics: Television, Film
Cooking Woman

Kitchen Culture and Me

I have this memory where I'm five and it's Thanksgiving, or I'm 12 and it's Chanukah, or I'm 15 and in AP World History. They're all the same memory, and there are more. Almost every year of my public-school education, there has been some kind of school celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity. The common factor in these celebrations is food, because what better way to bring a diverse (and generally uninterested) group of students together?

Black Lives Matter Logo

Kneeling to Take a Stand

I’ve never really distinguished between my feminist and activist identities. They’ve always been one and the same – my feminism inspires my activism, and thus they are not two distinct parts of me. As I’ve grown, I’ve gained more awareness about important social justice issues both inside and outside the feminist movement, one example being police brutality. 

Dorrit Corwin Dressed Up as Julia Child for School Presentation

From Spy to Spatula to the Small Screen

When I was in third grade, I had to choose a famous role model to research and present to my class. Naturally, I chose Julia Child – not because I was an aspiring chef or because I wanted an excuse to buy a red wig – but because I left the theater after seeing “Julie & Julia” (2009) absolutely fascinated by her legacy; both inside the kitchen, and beyond its walls. A female public figure with a personality as strong as hers was rare during the 1950s, and her role as a volunteer spy during World War II taught me that no one is just one thing. Even though history often highlights people solely for what they were most famous for, it’s important to look beyond that and explore their multiplicity of talents and contributions to society. 

Topics: Feminism, Food
Man Wearing Native American Headdress

Inappropriate Appropriation

My classmates started posting pictures from last year’s Coachella, their excitement for the music festival illuminating my phone screen. However, amidst all the elation, I couldn’t help but notice the troubling cultural appropriation that also filled the pictures. In the backgrounds of nearly every photo I saw, there were young women wearing bindis and feathered headdresses, and young men wearing war paint. Unfortunately, this insensitivity to and misappropriation of cultures is not specific to Coachella, nor is it a new problem in fashion.

Josie Rosman's Roller Derby Team

Derby Girl

When I first started playing roller derby (a contact sport played on roller skates) as an 11-year-old, I didn’t know how to skate. I could barely make it one lap around the track in my rental skates. Fast forward to last summer–my team and I made it to the national championships in Colorado. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve come a long way during the past four years—not just as a skater, but as a person. Roller derby has been one of the most empowering forces in my life, and it’s contributed significantly to who I am today.

Julia Clardy's Legs

Wearing the Pants, and the Dress as Well

When I showed a girl in my class the prom dress I was thinking about buying, the first thing she asked me was whether or not I was going to shave for prom. Her question wasn’t really that surprising. People often associate body hair with uncleanliness, and they don’t expect it to appear in formal situations. The fact is, people only question me about my body hair when I’m wearing something more traditionally feminine. When I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt people rarely look twice at my legs or armpits, but when I’m wearing a dress, people consistently double-take. When it comes to how other people see me, it seems that my casual clothes and body hair make more sense together than my more feminine clothes and body hair.

Sofia Gardenswartz in "Serving Spoons" Apron

Double-Bound

I am the President of a nonprofit, Serving Spoons, that prepares and delivers healthy, home-cooked meals to families in need. I accepted this leadership position nearly five years ago, and though I expected to encounter challenges due to my age, I felt confident I could convince the other industry professionals to take me seriously if I demonstrated maturity, responsibility, and commitment to my organization. Yet one of the greatest challenges, as I soon discovered, wasn’t my mere fourteen years, but rather my identity as a female.

Topics: Food, Volunteers
Shira Small's High School Softball Team

Sexism and Softball: Covering All the Bases

At five years old, I launched into little league stardom by hitting a home run without even using the tee. From then on, my coach called me “Slugger,” a name I proudly wore throughout my thirteen years playing softball.

Topics: Schools, Athletes
Kara Sherman with her Mom

Not So Jewish American Mothers

Loud. Abrasive. Bossy. Great cook. These attributes all contribute to the popular caricature of the “Jewish American Mother.” I know plenty of women who fit this description. I’ve taught their kids on Sunday mornings. I love some of them. I can’t stand some of them. My mother is Jewish, and American, and pretty bossy when she needs to be; but she’s never conformed to this stereotype.

Topics: Mothers, Food, Judaism
Legends Football League Game

1 Down and Yards to Go for the Lingerie Football League

I’d like to think that I’m really good at pretending to know about football. As a self-proclaimed Green Bay Packers fan, I can name about 5 players and can usually tell which team is scoring the touchdown. Needless to say, when I found myself watching a Packers game at a friend’s house with all of her friends (who didn’t know me, but certainly knew football), I felt pretty out of place. I couldn’t offer much to the conversation comparing Packers’ quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Aaron Rodgers, but when the conversation turned to the Legends Football League (LFL), formerly known as the Lingerie League, I had plenty to contribute. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rising Voices." (Viewed on April 26, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices>.

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18 hr
A male Rebecca Bunch? Well, we do love our female Rebecca Bunch, but still, sounds intriguing! https://t.co/1gwZxfF6ou