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…redefining modesty

When I hear the word “feminist” I think of women my mother’s and grandmother’s age; I shy away from the word myself.

I grew up at a time when Jewish women were expected to obtain university degrees and pursue careers. My mother and grandmother are working women with master’s degrees and respectable salaries; “feminism” and “women’s rights” were among my bread-and-butter principles. Educated during such privileged times and having undeniably benefited from female freedom fighters’ fierceness, I now find myself challenging their historically narrow definition of women’s “liberation.” I ask myself, can’t a woman choose to be a homemaker or a mother, a woman who prefers the private sector and its anonymity? Can’t the catch phrase “a women’s right to choose” also imply a woman’s celebrated right to prefer modesty or conservatism or muted sexuality? 

Janel Moses has a postgraduate diploma in Jewish Studies from the Universidad de Chile in Santiago. She is a freelance writer and lives with her husband in Herzliya, Israel.