"The consumerist element that was criticized in the JAP has now been embraced by American society," says Riv-Ellen Prell, author of ''Fighting to Become Americans: Assimilation and the Trouble Between Jewish Women and Jewish Men'' (2000). "JAPs were the designated narcissists in the 1970s, but now we no longer feel shame about all being narcissists."I still hate the idea that Jewish women are associated with money/consumerism, not so much for the sake of our 'outside image,' which is what the women in the article who object to the use of the term are concerned about, but for the sake of the very many Jewish women -- the majority -- who do not have endless supplies of money and who are left feeling inadequate.
To some, JAP is just the latest slur to be embraced as a means of self-empowerment, much the way gay culture adopted "queer" and African-Americans use the n-word. JAP's comeback may signal a new era in identity politics, one in which Jewish women, feeling victorious after battling the double burden of misogyny and anti-Semitism, peel away many aspects of the old stereotype-the snobbishness, the dependency on daddy's Amex, the sexual frigidity-and keep... well, the shoes and the Chanel.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Explains Alana Newhouse in the Boston Globe,
Posted by Miriam at 12:00 PM