Shit Jewish girls don't actually say
First of all, enough with the “Shit [Insert Group Here] Say” videos. The original “Shit Girls Say” made its Internet debut in mid-December and quickly went viral. I’ll say it: The original video and even its sequel were witty, well-done, and gosh darn it, they were funny, too.
The multitude of spin-offs they birthed? Not so much. So far I’ve seen Shit Guys Say, Shit Girls Don’t Say, Shit Drunk Girls Say, Shit Black Girls Say, Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls, Shit Guys Say, Shit Gay Guys Say, Shit Girls Say to Lesbians, Shit Gay Girls Say, Shit Southern Girls Say… the list does, truly, go on and on and on, a la Journey. Katiey at Twenties Hacker says it best in her post “Shit Everyone Says: When a Meme Goes Into Overdrive,” where she writes, “I have actually said at least three things from every single video … Basically, according to YouTube, I am a Gay Black Southern Vegan Asian Baby Mama who is also very single. And by that logic, so is everyone else.”
Are these videos sexist? Probably. Offensive? Sometimes. On Huffington Post, Naima Ramos-Chapman writes that the videos “refer to adult women as ‘girls,’ and portray them as weak, stupid, silly, bad with technology, and helpless.” A self-professed feminist to the core, I must confess that I don’t feel the way she does about these videos. Rather, I see them as wake-up calls couched in humor – reminders not to be “that girl” who speaks in clichés – and, in the case of a few of the videos, not to be the girl who speaks in offensive stereotypes, whether out of actual racism or sheer ignorance.
The video I found the least funny, surprisingly, was Shit Jewish Girls Say, featured on notoriously unamusing “comedy” website Funny or Die.
While all of the Shit Girls Say spinoffs seem to feature, at times, women acting insecure, obnoxious or both, Shit Jewish Girls Say never features Jewish women as being anything but insecure and obnoxious. Apparently, as Jewish women, our signatures include:
- Demonstrating crappy self-esteem by saying “She’s so pretty!” about any women but ourselves
- Using Yiddish words galore – mensch, putz, schmuck, chutzpah. All the time!
- Repeatedly watching Schindler’s list
- Being absolutely effusive of fellow Jewess Natalie Portman
- Crying and wailing. A lot.
- Dieting, dieting, dieting
- Possessing poor city-driving skills
- Screaming “Shana tova to you, too!” to other bad drivers
- Calling our rich daddies when times get tough
This is the first Shit ___ Say videos I’ve actually found to be borderline offensive – or maybe I’m just offended by how unfunny it is. While Kaitey felt she could relate to at least a line or two in each of the videos she watched, Shit Jewish Girls Say – supposedly descriptive of women like me – is perhaps the only one I feel absolutely no connection or similarities with.
The videos others, at least, are well-done and reveal some cleverly disguised insight into the mannerisms of their targeted audiences. But in Shit Jewish Girls Say, performer and producer Michael Rachlis has totally phoned it in, failing even to capitalize upon the most common (and potentially amusing) stereotypes about Jewish women – can’t we even get a reference to unruly curls or our collective propensity for being smart and successful? Instead, Rachlis seems to have written down some common Jewish words and ideas (Yiddish! Birthright! High Holy Days!) then slapped on a (bad) wig and called it comedy. Frankly, it makes me wonder whether he’s ever even spoken to a Jewish woman.
For a people known for our sense of humor, this video falls flat. Can someone send in Jerry Seinfeld, please? Now that's one funny Jewish man I'd like to see don a wig and imitate a Jewess!
How to cite this page
Bigam, Kate. "Shit Jewish girls don't actually say." 12 January 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/shit-jewish-girls-dont-actually-say>.