Maleficent’s Mastectomy Metaphor?

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The lively discussion of the film Maleficent has focused on the turn of the plot after its title character is drugged by the human she loves and stripped of her wings, her ability to fly and, he presumes, her power. Jolie told the BBC, We were very conscious, the writer and I, that [the scene in […]

When Women’s History Comes Alive

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Studying, understanding and honoring women of the past, whether in America or across the globe, most commonly follows two themes. First, the rediscovery of women’s lives and contributions can be summed up in the image described at a recent Women’s History Month luncheon I attended:  We stand on the shoulders of the women who came […]

Jane Austen in Brooklyn

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I have shlepped myself to Virginia Woolf’s house in Sussex, and wandered the Yorkshire moors in pursuit of the Brontes’ home (calling “Heathcliff! Heathcliff!” when no one was within hearing). But no writer has launched more trips for me than Jane Austen. I have not only visited several of her homes (the one in Lyme […]

Yom Kippur: Feminism Meets Tradition

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Tonight at Kol Nidre, which marks the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, my husband and I will fight over prayer books, as we do at the start of every service during the Jewish High Holy Days. We own two copies of Gates of Repentance, first published by the Central Conference of […]

Seder Time: An Orange, A Tambourine … Guacamole?

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This was originally posted last Passover, March 29, 2010, on the Ms. Blog. Unlike most religious events that require attendance at a synagogue, church or mosque, the Passover Seder–which was celebrated last night, and will be celebrated again tonight, by Jews around the world–remains at home, around a dinner table. That fact alone has always […]

Jane Eyre, Movie Star

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It’s a sign of success, I suppose, that one can Google “feminism Jane Eyre” and find websites willing to sell you a term paper on the subject. We’ve come a long way, baby. When I was in college and graduate school, we were just discovering what it meant to read a novel–even a novel by […]

The Fire That Changed Everything

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This Friday, March 25, marks the 100th anniversary of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company that killed 146 workers, mostly young Jewish and Italian immigrant women. HBO begins broadcasting their tribute documentary, Triangle: Remembering the Fire, tonight, and the Internet is full of accounts and remembrances of the event. The centennial reminds us not […]

The Whole Megillah*

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Today, in Jewish synagogues all over the world, thousands of little girls will parade around in princess dresses or sparkling harem pants and declare themselves to be Queen Esther, a great beauty who married a King and saved her people. But far fewer will play Queen Vashti, who refused to answer to the King’s beck […]

Women’s History Among the Grape Vines

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Who would guess that a small agricultural town in Northern California, located among the towering redwoods and rolling acres of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes of Sonoma County, would give rise to a movement that changed the curriculum of America’s schools by putting women into their proper historical place? But that’s exactly what Santa Rosa […]