Culture, Identity, Sex & Gender

More of the New JAP-baiting

jewish_american_princess_tshirt-p235927326730116715t5gn_400For several years, now, that old cocktail of anti-Semitism and sexism has been back on the rise–whether given faux-new-language, used as a way to cloak Jewish women comics, a way to talk about one’s suburban upbringing and/or privilege, a troubling category investigated by, or revivified by, art, and so forth.
The question I pose to you all: Why is it suddenly seemingly acceptable to use this tired old stereotype? Is it truly ironic now, or is it the same song on a different day? (I think the latter, really, but folks like Heeb have tried to make it the former for years–do they succeed? If so, what’s different about what they do and some of the nastier versions of this? If not, why not?) What’s going on in our culture that gives rise to this now? Some of it, sure, is that the people who were kids when this came around the first time are now hipster adults–but somehow, I don’t think that’s the whole story. What else is going on?
(We’ve written about this before, including this week, but the phenomenon just keeps coming, so perhaps it’s worth thinking about why in a bigger way.)
In any case, here’s the latest addition to the canon:




What do you think?

20 thoughts on “More of the New JAP-baiting

  1. Why is it suddenly seemingly acceptable to use this tired old stereotype?
    Could it result somewhat from the way in which certain movies/TV shows portray Jewish women?

  2. “…the people who were kids when this came around the first time are now hipster adults”
    I think you have to go a bit farther back than that.
    More like: Marjorie Morningstar and Brenda Patimkin.

  3. i think lumping the sketch in with the aforecited song is a category mistake. if you watch the sketch the whole way through, it is clearly commenting on the use of such ethnic stereotypes in cultural media.

  4. The only thing that saves the clip from being completely horrendous is the last line, but yeah, not hipster, not ironic, just ugly, misogynistic crap.
    And there’s nothing Jewish about that “type” -Paris Hilton anyone?
    It’s true, though – the biggest purveyors of this ugly stereotype do indeed seem to be… Jewish men. Bros before ho’s!
    Whee!

  5. I think the last line does redeem the video.
    @KRG, As Riv-Ellen Prell argues, the JAP has always functioned as a target onto which Jewish men could project their own fears of Jewish excess. This makes it an interesting stereotype, in that while it relies upon deeper antisemitic tropes, and had been picked up by non-Jews, it is essentially a form of Jewish misogyny masquerading as antisemitism. This might explain the comments on both recent “JAP” posts here at Jewschool that either try to minimize the offense, blame Jewish women’s behavior for the stereotype or (as David does above) point to it’s “reality.”
    Check out Fighting to Become Americans. I cannot recommend it highly enough for those trying to think through how to understand and respond to the JAP.

  6. I was on a subway this evening where a young Jewess across the train used the word “like” every other word.
    It was a very long train ride.

  7. DK said: I was on a subway this evening where a young Jewess across the train used the word “like” every other word. It was a very long train ride.
    And I was at a conference recently where a young Jew used the word “like” every other word in his presentation. It was a very long presentation. What’s your point?

  8. Last week everyone was interested in discussing how one person’s white and male privilege enabled him to build this here website instead of women and Jews of color.
    Suddenly when it comes to female Jewish privilege, a privilege realized far and wide wherever their numbers are significant — suddenly we must be silent.

  9. The folks who keep pointing out that some Jewish women fit this stereotype are really missing the point. Some people are obnoxious or vapid or materialistic. Some of those people are Jewish and some of them are Jewish women. That’s not really in question.
    The point isn’t that really all Jewish women are paragons of intellectual and ethical virtue who care nothing for material wealth. The JAP stereotype isn’t wrong because nobody exists who acts like that. It’s wrong because it takes traits that exist in all groups of people and identifies them as only applying to Jewish women. And then the next step is that JAP becomes a synonym for Jewish woman.
    I am about as far from the JAP stereotype as you can get, but more than once, I’ve had someone say to me, upon learning that I’m Jewish, “Oh, so you’re a JAP.” Uh, no. I think the fact that I don’t fit this stereotype is one reason that people who don’t have a lot of interaction with Jews often are surprised to learn that I’m Jewish or tell me I don’t “seem Jewish.” You get this weird situation where the Jewish women who don’t act this way somehow don’t count or are the exception that proves the rule.

  10. I am about as far from the JAP stereotype as you can get,
    You aren’t alone. Most of the Jewish females I’ve known are nothing like that nasty stereotype either, which makes it all the more sad that some Jewish men–ie, Hollywood movie producers–seem to be the prime culprits in promoting the “JAP” stereotype.

  11. Right. I almost wrote that my own experience is that the majority of Jewish women are not like that, though I’ve certainly known some who are. Maybe if I’d grown up in a different kind of community I’d know more, but still. I certainly didn’t mean to describe myself as unique or special in that regard. And describing this as Jewish misogyny masquerading as anti-Semitism sounds right to me.
    My other point, though, is that Jewish men who think they’re only taking about one certain kind of Jewish woman and not all Jewish women don’t realize (or don’t care) how this gets picked up by the broader culture.

  12. The JAP stereotype isn’t wrong because nobody exists who acts like that. It’s wrong because it takes traits that exist in all groups of people and identifies them as only applying to Jewish women.
    No. Very few are seriously asserting that. A stereotype does not take hold because of all, only, or a belief it is the “majority.” It takes hold over perception of relative disproportion.
    My other point, though, is that Jewish men who think they’re only taking about one certain kind of Jewish woman and not all Jewish women don’t realize (or don’t care) how this gets picked up by the broader culture.
    The same could be argued in terms of how elements in the Orthodox community are portrayed, or any aspect of criticism of elements within the Jewish community.
    Perhaps some cannot distinguish between segments and majority, or even “all” or “only.” But we cannot afford to worry about such people, or there will be no honest inward focus.

  13. The worst thing about this stereotype is that some Jewish (girls?) women believe they must embody it to be Jewish women. I know Jewish women who act in this vapid, shallow, materialistic way in public as a way of fitting in, but are nothing like that if you really get to know them.
    Good Shabbos.

  14. I’m a bit surprised how several folks have responded with “but I know some Jewish women who are like that/say ‘like’ too much”
    I think there is some hypocrisy in labelling people with a word that is synonymous with “shallow” when judging them by their clothing or speech patterns.
    To understand the sterotype and its persistance, I wouldn’t look at Jewish women, but at the people using the word “JAP”. What are they trying to distance themselves from? Are they copping out from taking a good look at their own privilege and materialism by putting others down”?

  15. Speaking from the point of view of a crotchety old man, I think you guys created this, with all that vapid, ironic Heeb magazine bullshit purveyed as having redeeming social importance. There’s no difference, this is just a stage emptier, but your generation wrought it and now you own it! It’s like Sarah Silverman, some people don’t like AIDS jokes, or racist humor, but she seems to find them funny. As for Brenda Patimkin, Philip Roth wrote with a broad brush but he was honest, and people hated him for it. Where is the sweet ache of young love better portrayed than in “Goodbye Columbus”? That is such a deep portrayal of the frailties of Suburban Jewish culture in the ’60’s…Not the same at all, I think.

    1. Pinchas Giller writes:
      Speaking from the point of view of a crotchety old man, I think you guys created this, with all that vapid, ironic Heeb magazine bullshit purveyed as having redeeming social importance. There’s no difference, this is just a stage emptier, but your generation wrought it and now you own it!
      Who is “you guys”? “Our generation” is not monolithic, and Jewschool is not the same as Heeb. And it wasn’t even our generation that claimed that Heeb had “redeeming social importance”.

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