Landline TV has created a video that is getting quite a bit of public media attention. It’s a spoof on three passions of mine: Judaism, Disney, and the treatment of young women in consumer culture. And what is this video? It’s a behind-the-scenes shoot at Disney’s latest hypothetical princess movie – one on the stereotype I haven’t heard exercised this much in the span of two minutes since 7th grade: the Jewish American Princess, otherwise known as the JAP.
Unfortunately, wordpress won’t let me upload a non-YouTube video onto the page, so watch Rachel and the Dragon here.
Disney thrives off of stereotypes and has profited off almost all of them thus far. Not only does Disney love stereotypes, but Disney also loves intersectionality…just not in the way we at from the rib? love it. Disney loves to exploit intersectionality not through combining the strengths of multiple movements, but through animating the stereotypes of multiple oppressed groups. Not-so-shockingly, Jewish women are left out of this equation and this is an exclusion I think I’m okay with.
But are they entirely excluded? Rachel and the Dragon shows us that if Disney were to make a movie with a Jewish princess, chances are, the spoof would be entirely accurate and such a princess would be portrayed as a Juicy Couture-wearing, blackberry-typing, mall-hopping, and politically illiterate suburban New Yorker. Where did this JAP stereotype come from? How have Jewish women gotten this bad rep? What makes the Juicy Couture-wearing, blackberry-typing, and mall-hopping characteristic of Jewish teenage girls? This stereotype only harms and never helps because the Jewish girls who conform to the stereotype are seen as just that – a stereotype – and those who don’t are seen as deviating from a social construction perceived as a norm and their religion is therefore either discounted or over-emphasized until identity is compromised. So how do we put an end to sexist and anti-Semitic stereotypes?
Also, Sarah Haskins has an awesome Target Women episode on the Disney princess that definitely goes to show that Disney loves stereotypes and there’s something society just loves about a damsel in distress with a targeted audience of little girls.