Feminist Club's Mural Destroyed

By: Miriam Renz  |  February 16, 2017

sexism exists

Just one week ago a new club was created at YU — the Yeshiva University Feminists Club. The club’s Facebook page asks, “Are you a YU Student? Are you a feminist? Then you’ve come to the right place.”

Tonight, presumably during the popular intercampus event, Stomp Out the Stigma, posters and pictures were hung on the Nagel Lounge wall on the Wilf Campus, alerting passers-by that “sexism exists.”

The club’s co-president, Molly Meisels, was quoted by The Commentator saying that the club’s intention is to “raise awareness” of sexism at YU.

When The Observer spoke with Meisels this evening, she expanded, saying that they needed “to prove that the sexism that YU students claim doesn’t exist – exists.” Continuing her thoughts on the matter, Meisels said, “We must combat inequality whenever we can. I was told a bunch of boys said that the mural proves that ‘women can’t take jokes.’ That’s the problem. Sexism shouldn’t be seen as a joke.”

In response to the posters being taken down soon after posted on the mural-wall, Meisels said that “tearing [them] down was immature, and proved those who couldn’t take the truth behind the message could do nothing but destroy it.”

The papers on the Nagel Lounge mural placed there for this form of student outrage were, for the most part, screenshots of recent Facebook posts from the page “A YU Bochur Says” which describes itself as a forum to share “Real things said by real male YU students. Featuring regressiveness and intolerance of all stripes, including racism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Modern Orthodoxy, etc.”

This Facebook page, run by an unidentified student, relays inflammatory comments overheard around YU, such as “Why’s the girls’ beis midrash so nice? It’s the girls’; they don’t even use it.”

When asked if the YU Bochur group would like to comment on tonight’s news, the anonymous page administrator responded, “Nope.”

Ailin Elyasi, co-president of the YUFC offered her insights into the issues of sexism at YU, specifically tonight’s situation: “[The Feminists Club] has also become a platform for disrespectful comments. Members of the club, including myself, were appalled by how rude some of the comments were, even if they were intended [as] jokes. It made me think, ‘is the idea of gender equality so crazy that college students feel allowed to make snide comments and get away with it?’ So Racheli Moskowitz (the club’s event coordinator) thought of the mural to… expose the blatant sexism. Molly and I began the club thinking that there’s an undertone of sexism at YU, and I think we are proven right by the way guys commented on the feminist club and the way guys reacted when they saw the mural, claiming that they were not sexist but that women cannot take a joke.”

“The YU feminists will continue to reasonably work at… creating more gender equality at this school,” added Elyasi. In a similar vein, Meisels concluded that “YU, as a community, needs to face up to its sexism.”