Jewish-American princess stereotype
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The stereotype was partly a construct of, and popularized by, some post-war Jewish male writers, notably Herman Wouk in his 1955 novel Marjorie Morningstar and Phillip Roth in his 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus, featuring protagonists who fit the stereotype.
The term "JAP" and the associated stereotype gained attention beginning in the 1970s with the publication of several non-fiction articles such as Barbara Meyer's Cosmopolitan article "Sex and the Jewish Girl" and the 1971 cover article in New York Magazine by Julie Baumgold, "The Persistence of the Jewish Princess". "JAP" jokes became prevalent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. According to Riv-Ellen Prell, the JAP stereotype's rise to prominence in the 1970s resulted from pressures on the Jewish middle class to maintain a visibly affluent lifestyle as post-war affluence declined. The concept was the butt of jokes and spoofed by many, including Jews.
The stereotypical subject, as described in these sources, is over-indulged by her parents with attention and money, resulting in the princess having both unrealistic expectations and guilt, accompanied by skill in the manipulation of guilt in others, resulting in a deficient love life. The stereotype has been described as "a sexually repressive, self-centered, materialistic and lazy female," who is "spoiled, overly-concerned with appearance, and indifferent to sex", the last being her most notable trait. The stereotype also portrays relationships with weak men that are easily controlled and are willing to spend large amounts of money and energy to recreate the dynamic she had during her upbringing. These men tend to be completely content with catering to her endless needs for food, material possessions, and attention.
The stereotype is often depicted in film and popular entertainment.
- Rachel Green in the NBC sitcom Friends was originally scripted as a stereotype of a JAP (though never stated to be Jewish), however, her character became increasingly fleshed out as the series progressed Several others Friends characters also embodied many of the elements of the JAP stereotype and were used as contrasts to Rachel, making Rachel seem less stereotypical in comparison, such as Maggie Wheeler as Janice, Rachel's sister Jill, played by Reese Witherspoon, and Rachel's maid of honor, Mindy (played by (Jennifer Grey). Monica Geller is the only female character on the show said to be of Jewish descent (through her father Jack), yet is not portrayed as a JAP.
- Fran Drescher has been cited as an example of making an entire career of portraying the Jewish princess stereotype, including her character in The Nanny.
- Maggie Siff portrayed Rachel Menken, the heiress and head of an upmarket Jewish department store in New York, in AMC television series Mad Men as one of Don Draper's love interests. However, she is hardworking rather than materialistic, and sexually free rather than sexually repressed.
- Joan Rivers often exploited the Jewish princess stereotype in her comedy.
- Ali MacGraw portrayed Roth's Jewish princess protagonist, Brenda, in the 1969 film Goodbye, Columbus.
- Gilda Radner parodied the JAP stereotype with her recurring Saturday Night Live character, Rhonda Weiss. Another Radner take on the stereotype was a fake ad for "Jewess Jeans" which showed Radner and other women wearing designer jeans with light-up Stars of David and an offstage woman singing "she is an American princess!"
- The Mel Brooks parody Spaceballs features Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa, a "Druish princess", who displays the attributes of the JAP stereotype.
- Minnie Driver portrays a Canadian Jewish princess in Barney's Version, a film adaptation of the novel by Mordecai Richler, and stated that she based her character on a Montreal real estate agent who was a friend of the producer and American Jewish princesses that Driver knows.
- Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) in Private Benjamin and Kate Gunzinger (Jill Clayburgh) in It's My Turn, are Jewish princess characters who first display, and then break the stereotype. This change in the portrayal has been attributed to a change in society as a result of the influence of modern feminism.
- A comedy album titled "The Jewish American Princess" starred Judy Graubart as the title character through the stages of her pampered life. Written by Bob Booker, George Foster, Howard Albrecht, Sheldon Keller, Bell Records Bell 6063 
The stereotype is often, though not always, the basis for jokes both inside and outside the Jewish community. Frank Zappa was accused of antisemitism for his song "Jewish Princess", a charge which he repeatedly denied on the basis that he did not invent the concept and that women who fit the stereotype existed. In recent years, attempts have been made by some Jewish women to re-appropriate the term "JAP" and incorporate it as part of a cultural identity.
Sexism and discrimination
The term Jewish-American princess has been criticized for its sexist basis, and for pejoratively branding young adult Jewish-American women as spoiled and materialistic. Concerns about incidents of the JAP stereotype being used pejoratively at colleges and universities have been noted in newspapers, magazines and academic journals.
- Brook, Vincent, Somthing Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the "Jewish" Sitcom Rutgers University Press, 2003 ISBN 0-8135-3211-6, ISBN 978-0-8135-3211-0 p. 140
- Wouk states that he never used the term "JAP" in his works, and disclaims being the originator of the term. See Klein, infra.
- Cohen, Derek and Heller, Deborah, Jewish Presences in English Literature McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1990 ISBN 0-7735-0781-7, ISBN 978-0-7735-0781-4 p. 89
- Berkley, George E., Jews Branden Books, 1997 ISBN 0-8283-2027-6, ISBN 978-0-8283-2027-6 pp51–52
- Sherman, Josepha, A Sampler of Jewish-American Folklore, august house, 1992 ISBN 0-87483-194-6, ISBN 978-0-87483-194-8 p5
- Dundes, Alan, "The J.A.P. and the J.A.M. in American Jokelore", Journal of American Folklore Vol 98, No 390 (Oct-Dec, 1985)
- Prell, Riv-Ellen, Fighting to Become Americans: Assimilation and the Trouble Between Jewish Men and Jewish Women, Beacon Press, 2000 ISBN 0-8070-3633-1, ISBN 978-0-8070-3633-4 p177ff
- Sandy Toback and Debbie Lukatsky. The Jewish American Princess Handbook. Turnbull & Willoughby.
- Booker, Janice L., The Jewish American Princess and Other Myths: The Many Faces of Self-Hatred Shapolsky Publishers, 1991 ISBN 9781561710829, ISBN 1-56171-082-2, p 34
- Encyclopedia of American Jewish history , Volume 2, ABC-CLIO, 2007, Stephen Harlan Norwood, Eunice G. Pollack - 2007.
- Brook, pp123ff
- Lowe, Kelly Fisher, The Words and Music of Frank Zappa U of Nebraska Press, 2007 ISBN 0-8032-6005-9, ISBN 978-0-8032-6005-4 p.144
- AMC Official Website "Rachel Menken"
- Antler, Joyce Talking back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture UPNE, 1998 ISBN 0-87451-842-3, ISBN 978-0-87451-842-9 p.76
- Peerce, Larry, "Goodbye Columbus (1969)", New York Times
- Henry, Gerrit, "Saturday Night's Gilda Radner is ready for prime time", Times Daily (December 10, 1977)
- Prell, pp 228ff
- Desser, David and Freidman, Lester, American Jewish Filmmakers University of Illinois Press, 2004 ISBN 0-252-07153-0, ISBN 978-0-252-07153-9 pp152-153
- Mottram, James, "Interview: Minnie Driver, actress", The Scotsman (January 25, 2011)
- Denby, David, "Princess Charming; Princess Put-Upon", New York Magazine (November 10, 1980) p 70
- Alperin, Mimi. "JAP Jokes: Hateful Humor." Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 2 (1989) 412-416.
- Klein, Amy, "Authors aim to defang JAP, shiksa labels", Baltimore Jewish Times (January 5, 2009)
- "Jewish Women Campaign Against 'Princess'", The New York Times, September 7,1987
- Beck, Evelyn Torton. (1992) "From 'Kike to Jap': How misogyny, anti-semitism, and racism construct the Jewish American Princess". In Margaret Andersen & Patricia Hill Collins (Eds.) Race, Class, and Gender. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 87–95.
- Newhouse, Alana. "The return of the JAP", Boston Globe, 13 March 2005.
- Gibbs, Nancy. "Bigots in the Ivory Tower", Time, 7 May 1990.
- Definition at Merriam-Webster