Hot Jewish Moms?
Today’s Forward reports on auditions for a new reality tv show called “Hottest mom in America” – ostensibly newsworthy because a special audition was held in Miami for Jewish mothers and was scheduled to avoid conflicting with Rosh Hashanah. Jeff Greenfield, the marketing exec in charge of the auditions, asserts that it’s possible a Jewish woman could win this contest.
We are definitely living in an era when being a mom and being sexy are no longer mutually exclusive categories, as any glance at a celebrity rag or prime time tv show will demonstrate. As an enormously pregnant person who feels not at all sexy these days, I’m glad to know that there’s hope for regaining my previous sense of self as a sexual and sexually-appealing person. But I also find the whole emphasis on “hot moms” really disturbing. Is regaining a sleek physique and being considered “hot” the greatest public accomplishment for mothers? Personally, I’m more concerned with balancing motherhood and career than motherhood and my workout regimen.
Greenfield claims that one goal of the show is to redefine hot, but so far what this means is replacing a mother’s apron with sexy jeans. It sounds to me like the project could use some input from the women who created the “Real Hot 100” list that judges women’s hotness based on smarts and accomplishments, not looks and style.
And what does this mean for Jewish mothers, so often the butt of jokes? Does it suggest that the negative stereotype of the Jewish mother is fading because now we can be included in a contest that celebrates our svelte-ness? Not so fast. Apparently, personality does figure somewhere into the definition of hot. Greenfield says of Jewish women that “some men find their intelligence, their talk, their chatter appealing, and some men find it annoying – Jewish men in particular.” (Hmm. Wonder which category he falls into.)
So, should we be sure to make it to the gym and keep our ideas to ourselves and our mouths shut? No thanks. I’ll be looking for other ways to reclaim and celebrate the identity of “Jewish mother.”