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Jewish-American Princess or JAP is a pejorative characterization of a subtype of Jewish-American women. The term implies materialistic and selfish tendencies, attributed to a pampered or wealthy background.

Antisemitism

The stereotype is often (though not always) the basis for anti-Semitic jokes both inside and outside the Jewish community. In recent years the term "JAP" has been re-appropriated by some Jewish women as a term of cultural identity, especially in areas with high density Jewish populations.

Sexism and violence

The term "Jewish-American Princess" has been criticized for its sexist basis, and for pejoratively branding young adult Jewish-American women as spoiled and materialistic. While the full phrase and acronym is occasionally used wryly by Jews of both sexes as a term of Judaism, the acronym itself is considered at best fashionably vulgar if not degrading. T-shirts with the message "SLAP-A-JAP" and the stereotypical image of ethnically Jewish-American women may have been considered briefly fashionable in the early 90s. In the late 80s a Syracuse Universitymarker professor of sociology, Dr. Gary Spencer, noted areas on his campus that students declared "JAP-free zones." He also noted a sporting incident on campus where fans heckled women by yelling "JAP! JAP! JAP!" Spencer also mentions the "verbal violence" against Jewish women during a college fair at Cornell Universitymarker where signs read, "Make her prove she's not a JAP, make her swallow." In the Cornell University student newspaper, a cartoon went on to offer advice on how to "exterminate" JAPs.

Discrimination

When researching the stereotype Jill Gregorie noted significant prejudicial and discriminatory actions toward Jewish women who fit the "JAP" stereotype, noting one woman on a college campus who went so far as to avoid contact with perceived JAPs at all. Gregorie cites one college student as saying: "If I see them in an elevator, I always wait for the next one." Alana Newhouse of the Boston Globe also noted housing ads on college campuses that warned No JAPs

Prevalence

Research has found significant incidents in which the "JAP" stereotype is used pejoratively in educational settings throughout the US. Still almost all identified incidents have fallen short of the legal definition of a hate crime. There also seems to be a lesser degree of data and research-driven knowledge concerning the extent of its usage within the broader public sphere.

See also



Footnotes

  1. Alperin, Mimi. “JAP Jokes: Hateful Humor.” Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 2 (1989) 412-416. .
  2. Whitney Dibo: 'That girl is such a JAP'.
  3. Bigots in the Ivory Tower, Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine, May 7, 1990
  4. Spencer, Gary “An Analysis of JAP-Baiting Humor on the College Campus." International Journal of Humor Research 2 (1989) 329-348
  5. Beck, Evelyn Torton (1992) From 'Kike to Jap': How misogyny, anti-semitism, and racism construct the Jewish American Princess. In Margaret Andersen & Patricia Hill Collins (Eds.) Race, Class, and Gender. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 87-95.
  6. Jill Gregorie. "Princess Bitch: The public perception of the maligned", "Generation"
  7. The return of the JAP, By Alana Newhouse, March 13, 2005.
  8. Student Attitudes toward "JAPs": The New Anti-Semitism. Research Report #9-89, Schwalb, Susan J.; Sedlacek, William E.
  9. Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics By James B. Jacobs, Kimberly Potter.


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