Pop Culture

Rachel Simmons on the Truths of Girls' Lives

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One of the country’s foremost experts on the lives of American girls is Rachel Simmons, a 35-year-old alumna of Vassar College and Oxford University who also attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School through high school.

The decade in Jewish women's history

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Since we celebrated the beginning of a new millenium, Jewish women have continued to make important "firsts" in a variety of fields, and have made their voices heard in the Jewish community, in American culture and politics, and in forums around the world.  Here are just some of the important events of this decade in Jewish women's history.  Please do add other important events and accomplishments in the comments.

Happy New Year everyone!

Fetishizing ourselves

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Recently, the infamous Heeb magazine began a feature on their blog called "Gratuitous Jewess," in which they feature photos of a scantily-clad Jewish woman, and then readers comment about whether or not they would "hit that."  Last week there was outrage over the Details piece heralding this very same "Jewess fetish," but apparently the objectification of Jewish women from within the Tribe goes relatively unchallenged.

A Jewish American (Disney) Princess?

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In response to yesterday's post about the "What's a Coastie?" song, Renee Ghert Zand of Truth, Praise & Help shared this video.  Landline TV spoofs classic Disney "behind the scenes" shorts about the making of a fictional new animated film about a Jewish American Princess called "Rachel and the Dragon."

What's a Coastie? -- the latest "JAP" attack

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News of the University of Wisconsin's slang term "Coastie" exploded over the weekend with a song called "What's a Coastie" quickly going viral on Youtube.  A "Coastie," as explained in the song, is an out-of-state student who wears East Coast fashion and is a "rich Jewish girl."  The lyrics say:

What’s a coastie?

Black tights all day

That’s a coastie

Starbucks, big shades!

Fetishizing the Jewess

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From "The rise of the hot Jewish girl" in Details magazine.

Jewish women are hot right now. According to an article in the men’s magazine Details, “Jewish women have become the ethnic fetish du jour.”  And in true men’s magazine fashion, Christopher Noxon revels in the opportunity to eroticize and exoticize Jewish women; using dehumanizing terms like “cultural mutt” and “JILF,” meaning “Jew I’d like to…” -- you get the idea. 

This article does little more than call attention to the misogynistic trend it then goes on to abuse for shock value, and Irin Carmon does a great job of breaking it down at Jezebel.  Yet the use of the word “Jewess” in the article was particularly troubling for me, as a Jewesses with Attitude blogger.  Given the continued derogatory use of the word “Jewess,” can the term ever really be reclaimed?  And how do Jewish women feel about being the object of a sexual fetish?

Androgyny: progressive or exclusionary?

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Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

The New York Times recently identified androgyny as the "it" fashion trend.  It seemed to begin with "skinny jeans" -- skin-tight pants quickly adopted by fashion-forward men and women.  Unisex hoodies, coats, footwear, t-shirts, and hairstyles were soon to follow.  While women dressing in masculine clothing is old hat (the tomboy), the idea of heterosexual men dressing in feminine clothing is new, edgy, and raising eyebrows as well as questions about traditional gender norms.  

The Forward's 50

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Today the Forward posted their list of the 50 Jews who have had the most dramatic impact on the Jewish community over the past year.  These types of lists are somewhat gimmicky, because they are essentially a "supreme New Media trick of writing feature stories that are news events themselves," as Matthue Roth writes at My Jewish Learning.

Rethinking the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?"

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In a recent interview with Lisa Leingang in the New York Times, Melena Ryzik asks the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?" To answer it, you have to approach it the way Bill Clinton did during the Monica Lewinsky period. We have to deconstruct the terms.

"Girls in Trouble": Indie rock as midrash

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Photo courtesy of Tablet

I tend to be wary of educational musical acts, especially those that sound like they were written by teachers trying to be "cool."  But after a quick listen, it is obvious that "Girls in Trouble" is far, far more than a simple "101" on biblical women. 

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