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.
I suppose the "Gratuitous Jewess" feature is fitting with Heeb's irreverent style, but there can still be gender equality (or at least equal-opportunity offense) in irreverence. Where is the "Gratuitous Jew" section, a la F--- Yeah Jewish Men? The site is a regularly updated collection of photos of hot Jewish men with the tagline, "they're chosen for a reason."
There is a sister site, of course, called F--- Yeah Jewish Women, which is actually much classier than Heeb's Gratuitous Jewess. If I am doing my research correctly, the site is run by this blogger, who describes herself as a "Judeophile," as well as a "anarcho-socialist, pro-choice, queer, socially awkward, stubborn, tree-hugging environmentalist, vegan." She seems to be a woman with a social conscience, which is more than I can say for the folks at Heeb. Photos of Ruth Bader Ginsburg are frequently posted, and yes, she's fully clothed. Also, the site doesn't use the word "Jewess."
If Heeb has decided to embrace the exoticizing and fetishizing implications of the word "Jewess" that we have recently discussed, why is there no equivalent word to objectify Jewish men? A mensch may be a great guy, but that's hardly something to fetishize. Or is it? See: The Nice Jewish Guys Calendar.
Okay, I can respect fetishizing men based on their personalities rather than their looks. But where is the nice Jewish girls calendar? And if it existed, would it be regular Jewish women with great personalities, or scantily-clad "Gratuitous Jewesses" calling themselves "nice Jewish girls" with a wink and a hair flip?
While I find it problematic to fetishize Jewish women as in "Gratuitous Jewesses," I can also appreciate the celebration of Jewish identity in these endeavors. It feels good to see ourselves as desireable. So, I give kudos to F--- Yeah Jewish Men and Women for going about this in a respectful and classy manner. As for Heeb? You can do better.
How to cite this page
Berkenwald, Leah. "Fetishizing ourselves." 24 December 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 26, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog/fetishizing-ourselves>.