Debate Magazine

What JWA Means to Me

Posted on the 06 September 2011 by Starofdavida
What JWA Means to MeThe Jewesses with Attitude blogrecently had a makeover! I’m not used to the new format yet (it takes me awhile to get used to change - when they remodeled my local Walgreens, I was confused for weeks), but I like what I see so far. The blog is muchsleeker, and I love the addition of the photos of Jewesses with attitude at thetop of the page. As part of the new makeover, JWA asked bloggers towrite about what the blog means to them.
I first became involved infeminism the year before I went into high school, when I was working on a paperabout the Second Wave. Dorky as it sounds, reading books like The FeminineMystique lit a fire in me that I couldn’t extinguish. As a result, I beganto identify as a feminist. I didn’t think it was compatible with Judaism,though, especially not Orthodoxy. It made me feel uncomfortable to think of onewhen I thought of the other. I completely compartmentalized myself: one box wasfor my devotion to women’s rights, and the second box was where I kept Judaism.The two were equal parts of my identity, but separate, never overlapping.
As I did more research on theSecond Wave, the fact that so many feminists were Jews really interested me. AsI did research on women like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Alix Kates Shulman,and Shulamith Firestone, I stumbled upon the Jewish Women’s Archive. It greatlyhelped my research on many of these prominent women, and I still use it as asource when I’m writing historical papers. I’ll also log on every once in awhile just to read up on assorted Jewish women from the past.
While I loved the Archive atfirst sight, it was the Jewesses with Attitude blog that fascinated me. I hadnever seen any sort of blog or website dedicated to celebrating Jewish womenfrom a feminist perspective, and the idea drew me in. I began borderline-obsessivelyreading past posts, drinking in the Jewish feminism that I had been isolatedfrom for so long. Since it was the first Jewish feminism I was exposed to, andthe first feminist blog I officially followed, it greatly shaped my attitudesand opinions. Because feminism is something I want to dedicate my entire lifeto, I don’t think it’s melodramatic when I say that JWA truly changed my life.(Okay, maybe it’s a little melodramatic. But it’s still true.)
I eventually found other Jewishfeminist outlets, and even went on to create my own, but I’ll always have aspecial place in my heart for JWA. I’m glad that I can call myself a feistyJewess with attitude because of it.

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