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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!

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8 Comments

Hi, my name is Michael Rachlis.

I'm the guy guy that edited and starred in the "Shit Jewish Girls Say" Videos. While I'm flattered that my video was able to evoke such a strong reaction as to generate this blog post, I think that this video (which, I agree, is not NEARLY as funny or clever as it could have been) needs to be judged in the context of what it is: AN INTERNET MEME. I'm a recent college grad, I teach drama to elementary school kids in LA, and I had a free afternoon in which I had access to a camera and a friend's little sister's closet of clothes--that was literally the catalyst for the video and nothing more.

This video was NOT well thought out by any stretch of the imagination. The primary thrust of the comedy in this video is clearly that however attractive or not attractive I am as a man, I make an irrevocably HIDEOUS woman. Men in drag in funny. The british have known this for years.

My only thoughts in making this video were that I wanted to look ridiculous, I wanted to say Jewish things, and I wanted to get it up on the internet fast, because, as an internet meme, this topic would probably be irrevelant about 4 minutes after I posted it. Furthermore, this video is NOT social commentary. Of course there are things that Jewish girls say more commonly, and there are things that Jewish girls don't say which are more clever and far funnier, but for the purpose of the video, I wanted quick cuts and short little phrases that my non-Jewish friends could relate to and that I could easily edit. The goal was not an accurrate portrayal of Jewish women. The goal was to make a video that was as stupid as it is ridiculous, showing a Jewish man stripped of his dignity running through LA in drag.

Hopefully this clarifies the intention of the video and undercuts any of the offense it may have cause. ANY Jewish girl or guy could make a funnier video and post it, that's the beauty of the internet. My video need not be the Jewish representative of the "Shit Girls Say" meme, or truthfully any reflection of Judaism beyond my own singular expression. If you don't like the video--don't get offended--post a better one! Literally, I filmed this in two hours and edited it in another 2 hours. It's not that hard.

Happy MLK Day!

Sincerely,

Michael "the Jewish Girl" Rachlis

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it's offensive because you let it be, shut up everyone it is comedy. If you don't find it funny then don't watch it. Simple. Grow up.

Michael...

While I think that its really great that you responded to this post and are up for discussion, I think there's more to it.

Not everyone can make a better one: many of us don't have 4+ hours to dedicate to trying to change a stereotype. I watched your video, and was really disappointed, but don't have the time to prioritize making a better one.

When people put "Jews" in Youtube, or google "Jewish girls", extremely offensive things come up. A lot of us are in situations where Jewish people are the minority, or where the people we live near don't know anything about Jews. Literally, people watch these videos and that's all they know.

Why were you trying to add to the Meme, if you didn't have something funny or new to say? Insulting the women of your culture, is the lowest form of drama. I hope thats not what your teaching to your drama students.

But do check out "Shdus Frum Girls Say". That's actually funny.

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While I agree that lots of these videos are terrible (like Shit Jewish Girls say), some are truly brilliant. Through these videos, I learned about the concept of "microaggressions" - which are the topic of this tumblr.

I think it is really powerful to think about the way we express power, privilege without meaning to - and ultimately, that's what the Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls and Shit Christians Say to Jews videos are about. These videos (the good ones...) really do help raise consciousness about the way we use language and the way ignorance can be oppressive.

With memes, you kindof have to accept there's going to be a mix of brilliant and idiotic content; I agree that Shit Jewish Girls say is idiotic, but I still like the meme itself.

I too have had more than enough of these videos. Each time they get put out people post them with enthusiasm but I'm noticing that they are always being posted as a means of saying, "see WE really are oppressed" "See THEY really are ignorant" True, white people say stupid things. So do Jews, So do black people. I have yet to meet someone who really never says the wrong thing. And yes it can be hurtful and annoying. So what are our options. Making fun of people for ignorance is not really one that I can get behind. I'm with both of you, let's get rid of this trend which allows us to enjoy our own superiority while putting other down.

Additionally, the "Sh** Christians say to Jews" implies that it would be impossible to be Black and Jewish. Which is just a clear indication of the limits of the understanding and knowledge of the people who made the video.

To my rabbi and Jewish friends, stop sending this around please. If you are feeling hurt or maligned by others, blame it on the individual and their ignorance not on the group that they come from.

I'm so tired of these parodies. I want to say, "World, please stop saying sh*t. Or at least stop making videos about it." And as someone who prizes well-done comedy, and who respects the long and storied tradition of Jewish comedy stretching from the Talmud through the shtetl and through Neil Simon and Woody Allen and Gilda Radner and Jon Stewart and everyone else (and gosh, do I wish I could name more women)...I think unfunny = offensive. (I'm looking at you, Jewish video parodies of every pop song.)

Natalie Portman is pretty, though.

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How to cite this page

Bigam, Kate. "Shit Jewish girls don't actually say." 12 January 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 25, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/shit-jewish-girls-dont-actually-say>.

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