Thursday, January 06, 2005

Reclaiming the Jewish American Princess

I hardly ever watch TV, but now that I’m on winterbreak and have no plans (that’s right—friend’s getting married smack in the middle of my mooooonth long break), I’ve been watching a lot of television.
I was watching “Cheesetastic” on VH1, a show about the cheesiest celebrities ever, and there—at number something I can’t remember—was Fran Drescher of The Nanny and Pimp-and-floozy-inspired-dress fame! Danielle Schneider, one of the commentators explained that as a Jewish American Princess, she understands that Fran Drescher is the absolute Jewish American Princess. As a matter of fact, she even went beyond that to crown Fran Drescher the ultimate Jewish American Queen.
Fran Drescher our JAQ? I think not! And who’s this Danielle Schneider anyway? Just because she gets to make fun of people on VH1 doesn’t make her qualified to choose our Queen!
Of course, if there’s one thing I learned at Man. HS for Girls with Too Much Time and Money to Do Anything Productive, it’s that you never settle for what’s handed to you. Don’t like something? Change it.
So here I am, on my not-really-known-by-more-than-six-people-blog, ready to change the world. I present you, six people, with my Jewish American Queen!

(drumroll…)
(throat clearing…)
The Spot of No. 1 JAP/JAQ…goes to:
Harvey Fierstein
…and it’s the 21st century, I can do that!

Now, I was once hanging out with this Jewish guy from Argentina. After the tour I gave him of the Met, we were having coffee and he very excitedly told me that I am “a true JAP.” Had it been a movie, I woulda slapped him. It took a bit of explaining to do but I was finally able to get him to understand why I had been offended. He thought, since the word princess is in there, JAP is a compliment. It’s not.
I know some people think the term “JAP” is funny. It’s not. The whole concept of the “Jewish American Princess” is just as awful as the concept of the money-grabbing Jew, or politics-controlling Jew. Here’s a quote I love from Saul Bellow’s book Ravelstein, “And you’re a Jew, besides. The Jews had better understand their status with respect to myth. Why should they have any truck with myth? It was myth that demonized them.” Brilliance!
When it comes to JAP’s and myths, I’d like to just explain for a bit where the term originates. Apparently, Jews came to America with nothing. Apparently, they made a lot of money and not knowing what to do with this money, spoiled their daughters silly. With a lot of money, a lot of time, and nothing better to do, these rich-Jewish American girls would shop. But, of course, since they weren’t given the bringing up that their wealthy WASPy counter-parts got, they’re a lot louder, whinyer, and obnoxious. That’s right. JAP is derogatory. And here’s something even worse. It isn’t even a phrase used for “just” Jewish girls with lots of money. It’s become a slur for whiney, annoying, spoiled rich girls—which I think is a lot worse.
To counter this, I’d like to go ahead and create my own list of American-Jewish women who should make you proud to carry the title of Jewess, because it is something to be very, very proud of.
Judy Blume
Heroine of young girls everywhere, Judy Blume is a deserving member of my list.

Deborah Lipstadt
Deborah won the suit brought against her by David Irving, one of the biggest, ugliest, and most deluded Holocaust-deniers! I did a project on Holocaust Denial when I was in 12th grade and I have to say, if you’re going to honor a Jewish woman who got what she wanted and did good for the greater good in doing so, all hail Deborah! (She’d make her namesake proud!)

Ruth Reichl
She can cook, bake, write books, edit magazines, and kick ass! (my personal hero!)
Henrietta Szold
Founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization. Just to give you an idea of what she’s like, in 1881, most of the Jews who immigrated the the united States arrived in the ports of Baltimore. Henrietta and her father would go out to greet them to help them find homes and jobs. Henrietta taught them to speak and read and write in English. She started out with about 30 students. Soon, she had 60, and eventually, when she had many more, the government took over and what Henrietta started became the first official night school in Baltimore.
Betty Friedan
I shouldn’t even have to say anything here!

There are millions, millions more I’m sure, who deserve to be on this list. But I limited myself by saying “American-Jewish” and I’m limited, too, by my own lack of knowledge in fields other than writing and justice-fighting! So I do apologize.

4 Shpeils

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Blogger elder punk of zion said...

JAP!! lol i had to say that

Thursday, January 06, 2005 5:28:00 PM  

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Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Thanks doll, thanks.

Thursday, January 06, 2005 7:03:00 PM  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'all gotta update your list apparently.

ck
Jewlicious

Saturday, January 15, 2005 10:34:00 PM  

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Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Wow.

But is she...American?

Sunday, January 16, 2005 1:17:00 AM  

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