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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words or so...

I showed my feminist hand. Waved it around furiously like a parent locating their child in a crowd

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Daniella English

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I changed my picture for this column, because I had outgrown the picture I usually use for my blog. 

 

It’s kind of like those shoes sitting in the back of your closet that you always loved wearing. You finally take them out, and dust them off, only to realize they’re just not ‘you’ anymore. The size fits, yet you have outgrown them still.

 

When I started my blog, admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing. But I understood clothing and image, and knew it was important to create a look that evoked sass, femininity, and loads of personality. An image that wouldn’t threaten women, and wouldn’t be overtly sexualized to give men the wrong impression. You may be thinking that is a lot of thought to dedicate to a picture. And you would be right. But in a world where you have two milliseconds to make an impression on someone’s subconscious terrain, you’re gonna overthink it like an awkward social interaction that plagues you in the shower for months to come. 

 I decided it was time for a new picture. Something that represents the tremendous self-growth I have achieved over the years. An image that propels me into the next phase of my professional career, while channeling my insightful, empathetic, and playful nature, all while not undermining my intellect and analytical skills. That is a lot to expect out of one photo. But the expectations are high, especially as a woman. 

There, I did it. I showed my feminist hand. Waved it around furiously like a parent locating their child in a crowd. 

 If I smile in my picture, and look friendly and sweet, will I be taken seriously as a writer? If I look more solemn and serious, will I be labeled a snob and hard to work with? If I show my elbows, will that isolate me from the religious world? If I cover up too much, will the secular world label me a fanatic? 

 Many ultra-orthodox publications have taken to wiping out female faces in ads, either by elimination, or blurring out their faces. It is a terrible practice, and organizations such as Chochmat Nashim and JOFA, fight tirelessly against it. But it does display an awareness that women’s images are different than men’s – that the expectations are not the same. Now, some people have chosen to combat this with the erasure of women’s images as their form of defense, whereas others have chosen discussion and awareness.   

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Giving plenty of thought to my picture and what it may convey, even unwittingly, no longer seems unfounded, but rather necessary. A picture is said to speak a thousand words. But whose words are they? Are they the words of the subject, or are they the words of the spectator? If they belong to the former, then whatever the subject intends is sufficient. But if the meaning is in the hands of the spectator, those thousand words fall in the hands of their individual intersectional mindsets and beliefs. And the subject is left to the whim of someone else’s words. And those without a picture at all, are silenced and denied those thousand words, all for the fear of someone else’s interpretation altogether.

 We take pictures to represent ourselves to the world, but how the world chooses to interpret us is out of our hands. 

 So I share a new picture here. In a Jewish publication that is proud to have female columnists, and is equally proud to have them visually represented. I share with you an image that speaks a story. Part of that is the story I tell, and the other part is the story you interpret. I share with you an image that holds far less than a thousand words, because my boss’s orders for word count is 500-600 words.

Daniella English is the author of the acclaimed blog The Not So Single Life. She has written for various publications such as Savvymom and the CJN, and is now a columnist with TheJ.ca. She has been featured on What She Said Talks and The AM 640 Dating and Relationship Show

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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