3 Important Messages in Netta’s Toy

by | Nov 15, 2018 | Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

The winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest “Toy”,  by Netta Barzilai, is a powerful song that will make anyone stop what they are doing and pay attention. Netta conquered the world with a song that is sticky, fun, interesting, and totally different. But the song is not just you average top 40 hit. The Israeli artist is using it to spread important and powerful messages that the audience may not catch the first time they listen. With punchy lyrics and strong visuals, Netta expresses her thoughts on the #MeToo movement and fights back against today’s beauty standards and stereotypes.

 

It Raises Awareness Of Sexual Harassment

Netta has made many statements confirming that her up-beat song is meant to support the #MeToo movement. Netta is a strong advocate for raising awareness of victims of sexual harassment, and gender inequality. In “Toy”, she uses terms like “stupid boy”, and “chicken” to describe the cowardly behaviour of  abusive men that continues in our society.

 

It Encourages Women To Speak Out

“Toy” aims to empower women with references to Wonder Woman, and by encouraging them to understand their own worth and to speak up for themselves. An example is the line: “The Barbie’s got something to say…” implying that women are not just iconic dolls with no voice but need to speak up for themselves.  Another powerful line is “I don’t care ‘bout your Stefa baby”. As Netta explains during an official Eurovision Song Contest interview the slang word “Stefa” is a term used to describe a pile of cash. By telling the world not to care about a man’s’ “Stefa”, Netta empowers women to free themselves from financial dependence and take charge of their own life.

 

It Fights Body Shaming and Societal Beauty Standards

Netta was quoted, saying that in the early stages of her career she was told to “dress like [she has] nothing to celebrate. Dress in black. Dress big. Short skirts are not for [her]. Short sleeves are not for [her]. [She’s] not sexy or beautiful. [She’s] funny – that’s what [she is].” But that was not how Netta saw herself. She wants to be part of today’s pop culture, and her music to reflect who she really is. Netta decided to break the stereotype that  “pop stars have to be thin and beautiful” which she does by wearing bright colors, fun hairstyles, and making funny noises. You can find this reflected in the lyrics of “Toy”, when Netta opens the song with the powerful line: “Look at me, I’m a beautiful creature”. (Source)

Now Netta is coming to Toronto to deliver her powerful message in person. On January 24th, Hillel Ontario is proud to host Netta’s first live performance in Canada during Out of Sync! If you haven’t bought your tickets already be sure to buy them today at www.outofsync.ca/tickets – See you there!

Stronger Together!

Stronger Together!

Over this past Family Day Weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting both about the challenges we face, but also about the incredible strength and resiliency of this community. Jewish students are often at the forefront of hate and discrimination on campus and online, but we are at our most powerful – and most effective – when we work together as one.

With that in mind, I want to provide several important advocacy updates.

First, I am excited to share that Hillel Ontario has begun convening meetings to coordinate advocacy initiatives amongst Jewish campus organizations across the country. The time has come for Hillel Ontario to lead the way in encouraging cooperation to accomplish the goals we collectively share. Joining us in these monthly discussions are Hillel Montreal, Hillel BC, Hillel Ottawa, CJPAC, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs. We appreciate their willingness to engage with us in these important conversations.

Second, I want to update you on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) matter that galvanized much community discussion last week. In addition to endorsing a motion to divest from companies doing business in Israel, the union misrepresented the recently released report of the Antisemitism Working Group and its approach to what does or does not constitute antisemitism. Hillel views these type of divestment motions as part of a wider issue of antisemitism on campus, and we have made that point clearly and consistently to university leadership and members of the Working Group for the better part of the past year.

Late Friday, Working Group members released an important statement, which both criticized the rhetoric of union leaders, and vindicated our belief that hate speech directed at Israel, Israelis or Jews based on actions (real or imagined) of the Israeli government is antisemitism. This is an important moment; one that underscores why our approach to these issues, and the allies we foster across campus are so critical. While we may not be able to stop every divestment motion from passing, we can – and we will continue to – have our voices heard by university leadership to ensure antisemitism remains on the margins. This is precisely what happened last week at the UofT.

Jewish students deserve to study, live and socialize in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Hillel will continue to condemn antisemitism, defend Israel and our right to self-determination, and build essential relationships on campus to secure the well-being of the students we so proudly serve.

And, we will do so in concert with our allies; because we believe we are stronger together.

Sincerely,

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Weekly D’var: Toldot 5782 by Scott Goldstein

[Warning: Ted Lasso show spoiler] I just finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso, and I cannot get the image of the finale out of my head. Haven’t seen it yet? That’s ok, I’ll recap part of this week’s Torah portion as you go catch up and then tie it in at the end for when you get back.

When not detailing the intricate politics of well-digging and water rights, this week’s Torah portion takes some time to highlight our favourite biblical twins – Jacob and Esav (a.k.a. Esau). Some may even refer to this as the first twin study on “Nature vs. Nurture” (shoutout to my psychology peeps) ever recorded. We are presented with brothers that were raised in the same environment but turned out to be polar opposites. I’ll let you read the riveting stories of birthright transactions and elaborate deceptions on your own, but the narrative we are presented with is clear: Jacob is good, and Esav is bad. Here’s the problem I had with this narrative: If Esav was raised in a good environment, but still did bad things, then is the Torah telling us that our destiny is sealed by nature?

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, and I cannot help but think about how loveable Nate (played by Nick Mohammed) is a perfect example of what I think our Torah portion is trying to tell us. Ted Lasso (played masterfully by Jason Sudeikis) created a nurturing environment where Nate could grow from invisible kit manager to assistant coach that everyone loves. Despite all that, it comes down to the decisions Nate made to allow jealousy to influence his actions, leading him to leave Richmond FC and betray his teammates by joining West Ham United.

I think the story we read in the Torah is reminding us that both nature and nurture are really important (just as science does), but our decisions, ultimately, are our own. Whether it’s Esav going down in history as the ultimate example of bad decision-making or Nate likely being the reason we see Ted cry next season, the lesson is clear… be like Jacob because we can make good decisions no matter the circumstances.

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