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Fetishizing ourselves

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.

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2 Comments

Matthew Blaze of Dollhouse Digital recently released his first commercial adult video, "Nice Jewish Girls", which features a cast of mostly Jewish porn performers playing Jewish characters. It does not contain any of the malevolent stereotypes that have bedeviled our people, and unless I missed something, the word 'Jewess' is not prominently mentioned, if at all.

If we 'fetishize' ourselves, i.e. internalize the Exotic Other, we are less likely to find Gentiles desirable and more likely to date and marry within the tribe. There will be no need for 'Birthright Israel' or some cockamie scheme to reform Jewish education as a way of 'combatting' intermarriage - once the issue is addressed on its hormonal basis, everything else will fall into place. The use of pre-existing Jewish-themed porn, or porn with Jewish performers, can help.

I agree with your criticism of that one feature of Heeb, but in other parts of the magazine, they have been doing a better good job at equalizing sexuality. Male porn star James Deen made the latest issue's Heeb 100, for example, and his current girlfriend, Joanna Angel, has been featured in that magazine. I have written extensively about Jewish porn performers since the 1980s, and I coined the terms 'kosher cheesecakes' and 'kosher beefcakes' to describe female and male Jewish porn stars, respectively. In the colloquial sense, however, those terms have come to mean any 'Hebrew' hottie.

So, instead of 'mensch', I invite you to use 'kosher beefcake' to describe Jewish woodsmen ranging from Herschel Savage or Deen (named for the "Giant" between his legs) or Hollywood stars like James Franco or even to your boyfriend...or myself.

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How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Fetishizing ourselves." 24 December 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 21, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/fetishizing-ourselves>.

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