Nothing Quite Like the Force that is a Stereotype

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This postcard was on every seat when a colleague arrived at her local synagogue for Rosh Hashanah services.  (I have redacted the name of the congregation.)  My colleague was irate, and asked others sitting around her whether they, too, found the postcard offensive.  Some did; some did not.  

What about the image strikes an offending chord?  The image relies on the stereotype of Jewish women as pushy (“feisty bubbe”) or aggressive (“warrior mom” kicks in heels!).  What sorts of events does this Jewish “Sisterhood” sponsor?  Sharing skills, discussing issues, raising money for schools — those seem like good goals.  How to accomplish that?  A “shopping bash at Lord & Taylor,” of course.  Read this way, the card draws on negative associations with Jewish women as materialistic consumers.

A second colleague offered a different perspective.  What’s wrong with the postcard, she says, is that it tries too hard to make the “Sisterhood” organization seem appealing and fun, attempting to attract a younger, hipper crowd (“nice shoes!”), when the group is made up of middle-aged or older women (which I don’t know to be true or not).

Other opinions?

-Bridget Crawford

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