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Pimpin’ ain’t easy for Jewlicious

Auctioning off evenings with two sultry bloggers isn’t prostitution, people; it’s savvy business -- for a very worthy cause

In case you missed the memos 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, Michelle and Jessica, 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.

Jewluscious? (photo credit: courtesy Jewlicious.com)
Jewluscious? (photo credit: courtesy Jewlicious.com)

Still, this begs the question: When we get all scandalized 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 — why are we 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. (Although maaaaaaaybe these goals should have been more clearly defined in the original article. But still.)

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 five 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, the bloggers become part of the mission.

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

(I just hope The Times of Israel will do the same.)

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.