Culture, Mishegas, Sex & Gender

Who cares?

We want what we secretly least expect of ourselves, or what we think the gods, or genes, have cruelly conspired to deny us: As Jewish boys long to find Jewish super-jocks, it’s a secret hope for Jewish girls to find arrogant, long-legged (that leg part is very important) Jewish drop-dead beauties. And so, having just inaugurated an African American president, what lovely symmetry that we have this asterisk — this grace note, this sidekick — of a milestone.

Wait, what? We secretly want to embrace and become gender stereotypes? We’re comparing Obama’s victory and historic significance to the first Israeli-born cover model on the Sports Illustrated bathing suit issue? You have got to be kidding me!

Every so often a piece of media-touted but exceedingly silly news sends a thrill through one’s soul. It’s what’s unsaid — but clearly indicated — about that piece of news that makes one’s heart go pitter-pat. […] And so: Yesterday was this kind of day for me. And, like James Brown, I’m saying it loud and proud: We now have our first Jewish Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl!


Come on, girls — even those of you with double PhDs; even those of you on boards of major feminist institutions: Even furtively, even in the privacy of our own bathroom mirrors, let’s not let this occasion go by without raising a champagne glass.

I know I should have more insight, something witty to say. But seriously, Sheila Weller? This isn’t a big deal. This isn’t a victory against the quota system or a jab at anti-Semitism. This is yet another woman wearing next-to-nothing so that a magazine can sell more copies. No one looks at her and thinks “Jewish” – it’s irrelevant. Her religion does not prevent her from being just as photoshopped and airbrushed as any other model.
Full article here.

7 thoughts on “Who cares?

  1. It’s not that Jewish boys should aspire to be professional athletes or that Jewish girls should aspire to be swimsuit models (or vice versa).
    It’s simply that the Jews have a Sandy Koufax or Bar Refaeli to counter stereotypes of weak/nerdy/ugly/zaftig Yidden. And that makes some people proud, even if it’s a guilty sort of pride.

  2. I think its important to keep in mind that American beauty standards are not only incredibly misogynistic, but have serious racial implications: the standard is whiteness, specifically Western/Northern European whiteness. So Jewish women are going to be a lot less likely, despite our community’s newfound white privilege, to fit into those beauty standards.

  3. I think it is and should be a source of pride for us and hope (for jewish girls) that a Jewish Israeli woman gracing the cover of SISI. Jewish women can enjoy being beautiful even if they are not in Bar Refaeli’s league, just like Jews (and everyone else) can enjoy playing sports even if they are not the next Koufax (or the next Kerri Strug – who might have been on the cover of SI back in 1996).
    D — Beauty standard have become a lot more diverse since the 1950s. In recent years SISI has featured many South American women, who are super-hot by any standard but definitely are not Swedes. The same could be said of Naomi Campbell or other Supermodels of Color.

  4. Jewish women have always been beautiful. I don’t know if this cover is the best way to shot it, but if this gives some Jewish guys a reason to consider looking for a shidduch in the tribe, it’s a good thing.

  5. Cmon, all, let’s not take this author that seriously, I mean, she gave Judy Miller props as part of her list of half Jews. That’s like saying, hey, we’ve got some good people: Paul Wolfowitz is a Jew.

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