By Sarah Tuttle-Singer
Cross Posted from the Times of Israel

Sarah Tuttle-Singer

In case you missed the memo on The Forward and Haaretz, Jewlicious is under attack for their “Win a Night Out with One of Our Gorgeous Bloggers” gimmick.

(A gimmick, I might add, meant to raise funds for a very worthy cause.)

Look. Despite the sultry pictures of the two pretty bloggers, Jewlicious is not a virtual red light district. This isn’t prostitution, people. It’s savvy business.

And the controversy alone has generated a lot of interest not only in the fundraiser, but in the organization itself.

Still, this begs the question: When we get all up in arms over this so-called issue, doesn’t that assume that we assume that these bloggers are just pretty faces? And while ardently defending them — because, obviously, these poor girls are, like, totally being exploited and blah blah blah, we’re assuming that they’re being objectified and need defending in the first place. Not only is this condescending, it’s also sexist. And Jewlicious Founder David Abitbol breaks it down for us in his rejoinder:

“Jessica and Michelle weren’t chosen because they were women. They were chosen because they volunteered, because they were available, and because after hearing various experts and consultants speak (inaccurately) on their behalf at the Presidential Conference, they relished the opportunity to speak to a Jewish Philanthropist and give him or her or them a genuine opinion by a real live young Jew.”

Straight up.

If I had any beef with the whole thing it was that there was (ahem) no beef. Why should we operate under the assumption that there aren’t female (or gay) philanthropists just dying to drop 5 thou on an evening with a Jewlicious man? But the men have stepped up, so there goes that argument.

And let’s face it. Anyone who blogs under their real name for a high-trafficked site becomes public domain. Sure, while bloggers are greater than the sum of their blog posts, we cultivate an online persona that generates a following. And that’s a good thing.

And for a site like Jewlicious that is doing very meaningful work inspiring Jewish people all over the world, their bloggers become part of that mission.

And if there are bloggers adventurous enough to volunteer for this kind of creative fundraising, then more power to them.

(I just wish Times of Israel would do the same.)

Sarah is an LA expat (reluctantly) growing roots in Israel. She is dangerous when bored. A prolific writer, she blogs for Kveller, the Times of Israel and for her own blog, Crazy Baby Mama.

If you want to support Jewlicious, you may do so for as little as $10! Until Aug. 16th, all donations will be matched, up to $30,000. So get going! Show your love – Click HERE and support our work!

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  • Sarah is a great writer. You should have her over more often.

    My fave part about all this outrage is how the women involved have been treated like bubbleheads. Thanks Sarah for a reasonable and impartial perspective. That does not involve a rabbit of any kind. Not that I would mind that.

  • I applaud you for writing this piece Sarah. Ck has always been the first to offer his assistance and access to Jewlicious to any organization that wants it. The Festival is a unique and outstanding program that has been operating without major funding for close to 9 years. You’re the only one who has stood up in the Jewish blog world to lend support to the fundraiser. And you did so in a thoughtful and fun manner. I’d post this on TOI, but wow, some of your readers are really dumb!

  • Acrimony-licious! Sarah? Why do you think this upset people so? Do that many people have poor reading comprehension skills? Or do people just assume that if you are young and pretty then you MUST be a sex pot?

    • It seems these upset people believe that if you’re young and female, then you must also be a bimbo who can’t think for herself. So yes, Mack, these people appear to have poor reading comprehension skills and poor comprehension in general.

    • It hit a nerve because women to this day not rarely get viewed through a selective lens, so I can understand if someone unfamiliar with CK may be tempted to believe that there was a case of either poor judgement or sexism at hand.

      See, if a woman blogger puts up a picture of herself, no matter how many obvious tricks of enhancement were used, she is likely to trigger more comments than one who doesn’t, who often gets decidedly fewer comments than male bloggers. A comment I left two days prior which outlined the same idea and did not receive any serious recognition may just serve as anecdotal evidence to that argument, but the anecdotal evidence keeps adding up. So, that anecdote aside, even educated and civilised men apparently are wired in certain ways.
      Women, on top of that, can get way more competitive and more creative in their competing than one might expect from creatures that are afraid of spiders, rainworms and chipped fingernails.
      In conclusion, there is recognition and competition, and women often ask themselves what kind of recognition is the right or desirable kind of recognition. It’s easier to compete with cleavage than with cleverness as the former is “in your face”. A woman who feels outdone in such an imagined competition or who has experienced genuine sexism may be more – and painfully – aware of the implications that are made in such an offer. We’re talking about the suggestion here, not the original intention.

      Now, in reading there is also context. The original article, while meant tongue-in-cheek, does sound in part like a date ad. There are pictures which apparently the one or the other views as sultry. People don’t “just assume” but build a context based on their knowledge and experiences.
      CK is not a misogynist by any means, but there are people out there who either want to view him as such or have convinced themselves of his misogynistic leniences. There are also men out there who do not understand the boundaries set by each person’s right to sexual autonomy. There are people out there that project their own issues onto others. There are feminists out there who don’t understand or care to accept that they are not fighting an early 20th century society and that women’s roles have come a long way since then, including the notion that you can be attractive and educated and emancipated.

      That’s it in a nutshell.