I grew up in the age when it was not only acceptable, but basically de rigueur, to denigrate Jewish women with the acronym-JAP- Jewish American Princess. It was an antisemitic characateur that Jewish women were money-grubbing-gold-diggers only interested in marrying a doctor or a lawyer. They needed to marry some man who could supplement their selfish and self-important desired life styles. Jewish women were continually portrayed as those with big noses, kinky hair, over made-upped faces with too tight outfits wearing fuck-me shoes. Jewish women were portrayed as only interested in material gain with no inner self or inner thoughts. Constantly whining and overly annoying to the point of distraction.
In contrast the media portrayed the gentile woman as elegant, thoughtful, classy and the epitome of distinction. Every gentile woman was Grace Kelly. The perfect companion both as hostess, sexual companion and mother of your children. Her sexuality was quiet, understated while borderline ravenous. She knew what to say when, and how to promote her husband’s career without challenging his own intellect. She dressed with savoir faire from the salons of Paris. She never was seen as pushy demanding or requiring of material goods. She was not seen as a money-grubbing-gold-digger but someone deserving of every material element that the world had to offer. In effect the gentile woman was seen as a goddess. (This is not a denigration of gentile women. Some of my best friends are gentile women.)
Many sociologists view the JAP phenomenon as part and parcel of the necessary element of assimilation. Jewish sons could only succeed if they didn’t align themselves with a Jewish woman and our daughters would be outliers if they didn’t die their hair blonde, wear plaid and penny-loafers or get that nose job. The denigration of Jewish women was complete throughout media, television and film. The irony was that as long as you didn’t attack Jewish men no one bothered to call you out as an antisemite. It was socially accepted to be very boisterous about the fact that no descent , self-respecting man (Jewish or gentile) would ever marry a Jewish women. (Sadly most of the hype over this antisemitic portrayal of Jewish women came from the mindset of Jewish men.)
Ironically the women’s movement did nothing to defend their Jewish-sisters. Just ask some Jewish-feminists how they were maligned and marginalized as the antisemitism in the feminist movement moved into the mainstream of the women’s movement. Jew-hatred is endemic in the women’s movement to this day. Many blamed the patriarchy of Judaism for the destruction of the goddess religion. Others used the feminist movement to align themselves with the Jew-hatred found on the radical left. Sadly, in fact, antisemitism in the women’s movement is worse today then ever before.
Gladly, many Jewish women in Hollywood found a way to fight back. Whether through their portrayal of Jewish women as strong, self-sufficient characters or those with the kindest of hearts. Today Jewish women are successful in any number of professions but mostly they have become powerful in the media which drives our own societal reality. As Jewish women grew in prominence in the media so did the portrayal of Jewish women change in our culture. Finally being a Jewish woman was celebrated and not something to hide.
Meanwhile it is very satisfying to see major magazines name Jewish women as the most sexiest/beautiful women in the world. Maxim first named Bar Rafaeli and today Esquire named Mila Kunis. While it is important that we, women, be seen as intelligent and competent human beings, it is not bad to be seen as a sexually desirable companion either. We are allowed to be whole persons and that includes sexual beings.
So a huge raspberry to all those men who thought that a Jewish woman was too beneath them. A huge raspberry to those who ever told a JAP joke or who ever decided that Jewish girls were just for practice. A huge raspberry to those who never taught their Jewish sons that self-respect included respecting the Jewish women in their world and the women that gave them life. Shame on all of you…ThwwT!!!