Monday, July 10, 2017

Orthodox Jewish mom and popular social media star uses emoji in fight for women’s rights 

Adina Miles runs the Flatbush Girl Instagram account.

A Brooklyn woman stirred up some Insta-controversy with a strategically placed emoji that doubled as a sly stand in favor of women's rights.

Adina Miles, an Orthodox Jewish mom and popular social media personality from Flatbush, says she's been barraged with online abuse since using an emoji to shield her face in a newspaper that wouldn't print a photo of a woman.

"I love my community. I'm not going anywhere. People can threaten me and ask me to leave. I'm Jewish whether they like that or not," said Miles, 29, who runs the Flatbush Girl Instagram account.

Miles took out an ad in the Flatbush Jewish Journal to thank City Councilman Chaim Deutsch for joining her for a local graffiti cleanup. The ad featured a photo of herself smiling next to the Brooklyn pol and a crew of volunteers.

But the paper refused to run a photo of her unblurred face, saying it violated modesty rules. They also refused to print the word "girl" in her moniker — so she slapped an emoji laughing so hard tears pour out of its eyes over her face, hoping to draw attention to the absurdity of the rule.

"They were making me not show my face. They wouldn't let me print the word 'girl.'. . . I wanted to become a scapegoat bringing attention to this issue," said Miles, who also changed "Flatbush Girl" to "Flatbush Boy" in the message thanking Deutsch for his help.

"We're not even second-class citizens. We're not being let in," she said, adding she wanted "to bring awareness to how ridiculous the standards of the publication have become."

Since posting a video on Instagram commenting on the incident, the married mother of two boys said online detractors have threatened to ostracize her children from community institutions.

Commenters on her page have derided her as a "self-hating Jew" and said she dresses "like a slut," but Miles said messages of support have also poured in from women around the tristate area.

The newspaper did not respond to requests for comment.

Other Brooklyn Orthodox papers have drawn attention for refusing to print photos of women — most famously when the Hasidic paper Der Zeitung deleted then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and another female staffer from an iconic photo of the White House Situation Room during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Miles, who married at 18 and follows the tenets of Orthodox Judaism, said it's not the first time she's drawn a backlash with her online postings, where she mixes selfies and memes with opinions that sometimes irk her more conservative co-religionists.

"It's sad," she said. "I fit the mold and the cookie cutter on paper. The only difference is I'm not afraid to speak out."

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