Monday, March 10, 2008

It's back!

By "it" I mean the trend of breathlessly announcing the discovery that a conventionally-attractive, famous woman is Jewish. It's a) supposed to be shocking that a Jewish woman might not look like Sheila Broflovski, and b) supposed to make the average Jewish woman believe that, if you look at her from the correct angle, she's a dead-ringer for Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, or whoever the latest 'discovery' may be. Problem is, the average woman, of any background, looks... average. Reminding the world of the existence of Natalie Portman makes the typical Jewish woman--and the typical woman, period--look worse, not better.


Anonymous said...

You really think Natalie Portman is that hot? I've seen Miss Portman for real a few times now and while she is certainly attractive, I can think of many other "real" women, Jewish or otherwise, who are just as attractive. Similarly, Scarlett Johansen is kinda quirky looking too. Now you can't really judge by the heavily photoshopped cover of W magazine - I know the techniques used and can make just about anyone look fantastic. As for Rilo Killey - yes she's cute, and she's Jewish, but she's also a Jewish country singer whose music is actually pretty good - remember Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys? We posted about him too.

Anyhow, the point is that any over-photoshopped depiction of any woman will make people feel like they look bad in comparison, but well, you know those are impossible standards of beauty to meet because, in the real world, they rarely ever exist.

Besides, pointing out Jewish celebrities is high on the list of Stuff Jewish People Like - you gonna deny us that small pleasure?

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

"Besides, pointing out Jewish celebrities is high on the list of Stuff Jewish People Like - you gonna deny us that small pleasure?"

I'm Jewish and I don't like it...

Anonymous said...

Oh Phoebe. Hello Sarcasm! The purpose of this whole Stuff *** people like thing is to illustrate how absurd a collective perception of any culture may be. Of course you don't like kvelling about famous Jews. It's patently absurd. And I say that despite the fact that I sometimes do it myself.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


There's "Stuff X people like" and then there's the constant thread, on Jewlicious and elsewhere, of delight that famous people have one drop of Jewish blood that they themselves may not even know about. It feels dated and not at all sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya Phoebes, and I don't deny it. It's irrational and absurd and In my Stuff Jewish People Like post I am essentially making fun of myself.

But what can I tell you? It fascinates me - that someone who shares the same heritage as I, who may have been brought up with the same stories/food/sensibilities as I, has become famous! There are so few Jews in the world that it's as if we're all family and one is allowed to take pride in the accomplishments of one's family no?

Yes, yes it's silly and naive and provincial. But don't I deserve a teeny little bit of slack? Just a teeny bit?