Jewfem Blog

And another gift today, a glorious poem from Elke Weiss

In addition to the gift I received last night in the form of an unambiguous reminder of how and why I am where I am, I also received this beautiful poem from Elke Weiss. Wow.   A Poem for Elana  by Elke Weiss She asked them.  How long will I wait for women rabbis? They told her to wait. Wait just a little longer, and while you do it, serve chicken soup and smile because everything is wonderful. How long will I wait to see Agunot free? They told her it would happen soon. Another five years. Ten years. Just wait a little longer. And make sure to look pretty while you wait.  How long will I wait to have women be equal? They told her to be grateful for the curtains and the rules and the diamond ceiling, and enjoy the golden cage and chains, because confinement was a gift.  How long will I wait to have the abuse against women be addressed? They told her to understand that things take time and look at all the tiny victories and shouldn’t be happy to have grape juice, why ask for wine? How long will I wait till you hear me?  They told her to be invisible and small and helpless, and to be a passive victim, and to bear the burden of honor, while having none of the honors herself.  How long till you realize you care more about image than substance? They told her to think of her great grandparents, and think of her family and think of the community and think of everyone but herself, like a good Jewish woman.  So she told them farewell and walked away.  They asked her how could she be so ungrateful and think of the Torah and think of her great grandparents and think of everyone but herself, because tradition mattered.  And she told them.  No.Elke Weiss, WOW. I have shivers from this. Thank you !!!

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How internet trolls are destroying women's creative work: Guest blog by Elke Weiss

Trolls no longer live under bridges. In today’s age of the Internet, anyone with a fake name, a keyboard and far too much time on their hands can spend their time posting insults and harassing writers.  According to an unscientific but still illuminating yougov.com poll, 30% of men have admitted to trolling online, as compared to 18% of women  And while all people suffer, women have an especially vicious gauntlet to navigate when creating an online presence.   I was trolled yesterday on the question and answer site, Quora. I’m a blogger, who writes about Israeli politics, agnosticism, Jewish feminism and Marvel Comics. (Guess which one doesn’t get me hatred?)  Around 20 questions were posted about me, and more than half were directly gendered. It fascinated me that the insults that came up over and over again was that I was “fat” and “ugly” and “no man would have me.” Comments about my sex life and my weight were posted over and over again, including questions about how I “gorged” myself on food.  I admit it, I briefly considered shutting down my account. I knew that as I got more followers and more attention, I would become even more targeted. The internet can magnify a small amount of people into an angry mob.  At first, I was reduced to tears, but the gendered insults instilled in me in a sense of rage.  Why was the worst thing to say about a woman was that she wasn’t pleasing to a man? If this piece of trash was going to insult me, why pick those?  It hit me hard that to a small but vocal minority, questioning my desirability is a way to put me in my place. I might be a well-known writer with over 17,200 followers, and two advanced degrees, working on my dream project, but anonymous trolls can still attempt to reduce me to “How much does this woman please men?” Is that the worse they can say about me? I must be doing something right.  As of now, Quora has done nothing to help. Because of the anonymity feature, there is no way to track my abuser and the form email I got advised me to block the person. Problem is? I can’t block anonymous people, since I have no idea who they are. Even if I could block them, another fake account can easily take its place.  I should be able to ignore trolls, but the constant abuse wears away at women. Friends of mine have been trolled and have reduced their public writing, because putting themselves into the fire is just too exhausting. Women are prevented from getting a platform, for fear of reaching a level of fame that will invite abuse and scorn from keyboard warriors. No single comment is significant, but it’s a death of a million paper cuts. Male friends on Quora are dumbfounded by the hate. Of all of the ones I asked, none has experienced the language I have endured.  And the trolls...

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