Created By: EdnaWalker on June 7, 2012 Last Edited By: EdnaWalker on March 5, 2013
Troped

Jewish American Princess

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She's got a lifestyle uniquely hers
Europe, Nassau, wholesale furs.
She's read every best-selling book
She's a gourmet blender cook.
She's got that Jewess look.

The Jewish American Princess is a pejorative Jewish American woman stereotype that is portrayed as materialistic, selfish, and from a pampered or wealthy background. The term, "Jewish American Princess" is often abbreviated to the acronym "JAP."

The Jewish American princess stereotype was a construct of and popularized by post-war Jewish male writers. Notable works that popularized this stereotype are Herman Wouk's 1955 novel, Marjorie Morningstar and Phillip Roth's 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus.

The acronym, "JAP" and the associated stereotype gained attention in the 1970s with the publication of several non-fiction articles. Barbara Meyer's Cosmopolitan article "Sex and the Jewish Girl" and the 1971 cover article in New York Magazine by Julie Baumgold, "The Persistence of the Jewish Princess" are two such notable articles. The Jewish American Princess stereotype's rise to prominence in the 1970s resulted from pressures on the Jewish middle class to maintain a visibly affluent lifestyle as post-war affluence declined.

The stereotype is portrayed as over-indulged by her parents with attention and money. This results in the princess having both unrealistic expectations and guilt and skill in the manipulation of guilt in others, which results in a deficient love life. The stereotype is also portrayed as sexually-repressive, overly-concerned with appearance, and indifferent to sex, the latter her most notable trait.

Valley Girl is a Sister Trope. Some of these girls can fall under Spoiled Brat or Idle Rich.


Examples:

Film
  • The Mel Brooks parody Spaceballs features Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa, a "Druish princess", who displays the attributes of the stereotype. It's even lampshaded.
    Princess Vespa: I am Princess Vespa, daughter of Roland, King of the Druids.
    Lone Starr: Oh great. That's all we needed. A Druish princess.
    Barf: Funny, she doesn't look Druish.
  • Minnie Driver portrays a Canadian Jewish princess in Barney's Version, a film adaptation of the novel by Mordecai Richler, and stated that she based her character on a Montreal real estate agent who was a friend of the producer and American Jewish princesses that Driver knows.

Literature
  • Susan Silverman of the Spenser series jokingly refers to herself as one of these.

Live Action TV
  • Sarah Silverman often plays one of these.
  • The NBC sitcom Friends:
    • Rachel Green was was originally scripted as a stereotype of a Jewish American Princess. Though never stated to be Jewish on the show, Word of God (in one "making of Friends" special) referenced this trope word for word. She was Spoiled Sweet in a lot of ways and this stereotype declined as the series progressed.
    • Monica Geller was Jewish but fell outside this trope. She was The Unfavourite and her parents never pampered her.
    • Maggie Wheeler as Janice is close, though she too is not explicitly identified as Jewish.
  • Gilda Radner parodied the Jewish American Princess stereotype with her recurring Saturday Night Live character, Rhonda Weiss.
    • Another Radner take on the stereotype was a fake ad for "Jewess Jeans" which showed Radner and other women wearing designer jeans with light-up Stars of David and an offstage woman singing "she is an American princess!" The jingle for "Jewess Jeans" provides the page quote.
  • Granada TV's recent ITV series about the Jewish community in Manchester, England, was certainly packed chocca with the British equivalent of the trope... what clinches it was that the very well-educated young Rabbi, a man holding down quite a few jobs to get by, imported an American wife. Who clearly considered Britain beneath her in terms of amenities, social opportunities, shopping outlets and teethcare, as she made it gently clear a condition of marriage would be his returning to the USA with her where she could be near her family and friends, rather than the other way round.
  • British TV has very recently upped the ante on this. Channel Four is running a reality show/contest called The Jewish Mother of the Year. Some of the eight contestants are young and attitudinal enough to be thought of as Jewish American Princesses. and in Episode two, where they have to act as matchmakers to unhitched Jewish girls... oi vey and gevalt, my life already. More JAP's than the Burma Railway.
  • Played with in a seasonal storyline on Soap that merged the stereotype with the Mafia Princess type by having Danny forced into a relationship, and then a marriage, by Elaine, the daughter of a Jewish mobster he had once worked for. Eventually, she becomes much nicer and is naturally killed off in classic soap opera style. Somewhat at odds with the usual stereotype, though, Elaine is less frigid than she is terrifyingly overeager where sex is concerned.
  • On Seinfeld, Jerry's girlfriend Rachel, who appeared in three episodes, had elements of this character type.
  • Fran Drescher's character in the TV series Princesses was a literal example (the show was about three roommates - an actual princess, a Jewish American Princess, and a "Daddy's Little Princess")
  • Leah in A Stranger Among Us is a subversion. She is a Rebbe's daughter who is very much a Proper Lady.

Music
  • Frank Zappa's song "Jewish Princess" from the album Sheik Yerbouti, which led to accusations of anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defamation League. Zappa refused to apologize for the song, stating in his autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book that unlike the unicorn, Jewish Princesses actually exist. However, he did release the song "Catholic Girls" on his follow-up album, Joe's Garage, in order to be an equal opportunity offender regarding young women's religions.[[note]]Zappa was raised Catholic, though he later turned his back on religion in general.[[/note]]

Other
  • Inverted by Roger Shimomura's painting called KIKE, titled after a traditional slur against Jewish people. In the early 1990s, Shimomura had a fresh encounter with the old slur. A woman asked him if he knew what a "JAP" was. As he stared at her, she told him it was a Jewish American Princess. A couple of weeks later, he said, he happened to catch an Oprah show on the theme of "JAPS" or Jewish American Princesses, with no reference to its original meaning. Shortly thereafter, a Jewish woman conducted a seminar at the University of Kansas, where he teaches, about the word "JAP" and how hurtful it is to Jewish women. His response was not timid or the least bit politically correct: A solo performance piece titled "KIKE," which he said stood for kinky, immature, kimono empress. Sick of the old slur "jap" getting new life as Jewish American princess, Shimomura responded with "KIKE" or kinky, immature, kimono empress. In the painting accompanying this story, a lovely young Jewish woman gazes in the mirror, a crown on her head. Only the first letter of the banner across her chest is visible, and it's a "K."

Western Animation
  • Portia Gibbons from The Mighty B! is this. Her cousin, Chelsea is even worse.
  • On South Park, Kyle's mother is usually portrayed as a Jewish Mother, but she occasionally behaves more like a Princess stereotype where her husband and marriage are concerned.
  • Lois Griffin from Family Guy, who is half-Jewish, used to be this when she was younger.
Community Feedback Replies: 46
  • June 7, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I was certain we already had a Jewish Princess trope.
  • June 7, 2012
    EdnaWalker
    @zarpaulus: What happened to it?
  • June 7, 2012
    MorganWick
    Well, the phrase pops up on Matzo Fever, but that trope means something very different. Archive.org turns up nothing.
  • June 7, 2012
    EdnaWalker
    @Morgan Wick: So is this YKTTW tropeworthy?
  • June 8, 2012
    Hertzyscowicz
    I can't say I've ran into this trope. Either on the wiki or in fiction.
  • June 8, 2012
    Lorialet
    I think I saw it. Wasn't there evil jewish people from Fran's family in The Nanny ?
  • June 8, 2012
    EdnaWalker
    Do you think I can make a note of the initials to Jewish American Princess on this YKTTW page or not?
  • June 8, 2012
    StevenT
    Sarah Silverman often plays one of these.
  • June 8, 2012
    JonnyB
    Princess Vespa in Spaceballs is one. It's even lampshaded.
    Princess Vespa: I am Princess Vespa, daughter of Roland, King of the Druids.
    Lone Starr: Oh great. That's all we needed. A Druish princess.
    Barf: Funny, she doesn't look Druish.
  • June 8, 2012
    TrustBen
    Rachel from Friends was one of these, although she was Spoiled Sweet in a lot of ways. Monica was Jewish but fell outside this trope.
  • June 8, 2012
    animeg3282
    Oh, the description is much imporoved
  • June 8, 2012
    Alvin
    Cher Horowitz from Clueless? She's the trope codifier of Spoiled Sweet , though. It may also be useful to mention that sometimes they're not actually Jewish, so similar phrases are used (like the title of the movie BAPS, with black characters).
  • June 8, 2012
    Waterlily
    Rachel from Friends was Jewish? I never knew that.
  • June 9, 2012
    JonnyB
    From The Other Wiki (some of these have already been mentioned):

    • Rachel Green in the NBC sitcom Friends was originally scripted as a stereotype of a JAP (though never stated to be Jewish), however this stereotype declined as the series progressed. Maggie Wheeler as Janice in the same program, though she, too, is not explicitly identified as Jewish.
    • Fran Drescher has been cited as an example of making an entire career of portraying the Jewish princess stereotype, including her character in The Nanny.
    • Joan Rivers often exploited the Jewish Princess stereotype in her comedy.
    • Ali MacGraw portrayed Roth's Jewish princess protagonist, Brenda, in the 1969 film Goodbye, Columbus.
    • Gilda Radner parodied the JAP stereotype with her recurring Saturday Night Live character, Rhonda Weiss. Another Radner take on the stereotype was a fake ad for "Jewess Jeans" which showed Radner and other women wearing designer jeans with light-up Stars of David and an offstage woman singing "she is an American princess!"
    • The Mel Brooks parody Spaceballs features Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa, a "Druish princess", who displays the attributes of the JAP stereotype.
    • Minnie Driver portrays a Canadian Jewish princess in Barney's Version, a film adaptation of the novel by Mordecai Richler, and stated that she based her character on a Montreal real estate agent who was a friend of the producer and American Jewish princesses that Driver knows.
    • Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) in Private Benjamin and Kate Gunzinger (Jill Clayburgh) in It's My Turn, are Jewish princess characters who first display, and then break the stereotype. This change in the portrayal has been attributed to a change in society as a result of the influence of modern feminism.

    Also, Frank Zappa's song "Jewish Princess"
  • June 24, 2012
    Waterlily
    Tommy from Rugrats is obviously Jewish but is his cousin Angelica? If so, I would say she fits the stereotype.
  • July 7, 2012
    AgProv
    Granada TV's recent ITV series about the Jewish community in Manchester, England, was certainly packed chocca with the British equivalent of the trope... what clinches it was that the very well-educated young Rabbi, a man holding down quite a few jobs to get by, imported an American wife. Who clearly considered Britain beneath her in terms of amenities, social opportunities, shopping outlets and teethcare, as she made it gently (but very firmly) clear a condition of marriage would be his returning to the USA with her where she could be near her family and friends, rather than the other way round.
  • July 7, 2012
    Katsuhagi
    Susan Silverman of the Spenser series jokingly refers to herself as one of these.
  • July 30, 2012
    abk0100
    ^^^ Probably just a coincidence.
  • August 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    We could also use part of the jingle for "Jewess Jeans" as the page quote.
    She's got a lifestyle uniquely hers
    Europe, Nassau, wholesale furs.
    She's read every best-selling book
    She's a gourmet blender cook.
    She's got that Jewess look.
  • August 18, 2012
    Kinswaous
    Portia Gibbons from The Mighty B Her cousin Chelsea is even worse.
  • September 16, 2012
    lexicon
    As a mod has said, "You should not include Zero Context Examples in a YKTTW." Portia needs to say how she fits. The same with any other that are x just x, and if they only say how she doesn't fit, not how she does (friends). Another think, aren't there any tropes that this is related to? There are no links in the description.
  • September 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well Valley Girl is a Sister Trope. Some of these girls can fall under Spoiled Brat or Idle Rich.
  • October 17, 2012
    situationalstudent
    Rachel Berry from Glee comes to mind.
  • October 17, 2012
    Bakazuki
    (Note: Wyatt Cenac may be of The Daily Show fame, but the example below is from his stand-up routine, so this should go under Stand-Up Comedy or something similar)

    • Wyatt Cenac discusses this in a story about a high-maintenance, Jewish girlfriend he once had. When he eventually asks her why she's so high-maintenance, the exchange is as follows:
      Cenac: ...Why are you so high-maintenance?
      Girlfiend: (sing-song) I'm a JAP~
      Cenac: You're a racist! What do Japanese people have to do with you taking 3 1/2 hours to get ready for something?
      Girlfriend: No, stupid, JAP. Jewish American Princess!
      Cenac: Oh, my bad. And apparently the bad of any Japanese person who's ever been offended.
  • October 18, 2012
    AgProv
    British TV has very recently upped the ante on this. Channel Four is running a reality show/contest called The Jewish Mother of the Year. Some of the eight contestants are young and attitudinal enough to be thought of as JAP's. and in Episode two, where they have to act as matchmakers to unhitched Jewish girls... oi vey and gevalt, my life already. More JAP's than the Burma Railway.
  • October 31, 2012
    OmarKarindu
    Live-Action TV
    • Played with in a seasonal storyline on Soap that merged the stereotype with the Mafia Princess type by having Danny forced into a relationship, and then a marriage, by Elaine, the daughter of a Jewish mobster he had once worked for. Eventually, she becomes much nicer and is naturally killed off in classic soap opera style. Somewhat at odds with the usual stereotype, though, Elaine is less frigid than she is terrifyingly overeager where sex is concerned.
    • On Seinfeld, Jerry's girlfriend Rachel, who appeared in three episodes, had elements of this character type.

    Western Animation
    • On South Park, Kyle's mother is usually portrayed as a Jewish Mother, but she occasionally behaves more like a Princess stereotype where her husband and marriage are concerned.
  • November 17, 2012
    Waterlily
    "Sometimes, the example is not actually Jewish, so similar phrases are used. For example, for black women, there is the term "Black American Princess," which abbreviates to "BAP.""

    If she's not actually Jewish, what makes her different from any other princess type character? If she can be black though, Hilary from Fresh Prince Of Bel Air would be a good example.
  • December 8, 2012
    EdnaWalker
    Is this a trope?
  • December 8, 2012
    Xtifr
    Yes, very much so, though the description may need some work, and there's some open questions about the definition.
  • December 12, 2012
    EdnaWalker
    How come this trope was discarded? Xtifr said this trope is a trope.
  • December 14, 2012
    shimaspawn
    I'm not sure, but I agree it's a trope. Not a very PC one, but it's still a trope.
  • December 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^You better take off the Discard motion, then.
  • December 28, 2012
    O
    Considering that this is not limited to Jewish women, this seems rather similar to the Rich Bitch, unless it merely denotes a minority Rich Bitch.
  • January 8, 2013
    shimaspawn
    It's a cultural stereotype that describes how Jewish women are depicted in media. Yes, there are characters who aren't Jewish who get the same traits assigned to them, but it has more baggage when it's done to a Jewish woman.
  • January 8, 2013
    ThatDonGuy
    Fran Drescher's character in the TV series Princesses was a literal example (the show was about three roommates - an actual princess, a Jewish American Princess, and a "Daddy's Little Princess")
  • January 15, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ... how is this not launched yet?
  • January 16, 2013
    Arivne
    It only has one hat?
  • January 16, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Well, yes. But my point is... why? It's a fairly common cultural trope (when the average person on the street knows the stereotype of a JAP, I think that counts for something), it's decently written, and it's got examples.
  • March 3, 2013
    jatay3
    Leah in A Stranger Among Us is a subversion. She is a Rebbe's daughter who is very much a Proper Lady.
  • March 4, 2013
    XFllo
    I edited the article, improving Example Indentation and I actually recall the Word Of God confirmed that Rachel was a Jewish American Princess.

    I really don't like the JAP acronym though, and would prefer if it was re-written. It's just three words.

    However, I am willing to hat tip this.
  • March 4, 2013
    EdnaWalker
    I rewrote it to take out any unnecessary use of the acronym. Also, the acronym is not going to be the trope name or a redirect one.
  • March 5, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ Cool. :-) This has five hats now. It seems ready to be launched.
  • March 5, 2013
    XFllo
    Now when I look at this, Jewish Princess was discussed (see the first few comments) and it looks like it was a read link then. Now it's a launched trope and lots of it is the same as this draft.

    It seems to me we just need to add few examples and perhaps re-write that description. Jewish American Princess could be a redirect.


    EDIT: It seems troper Johnny Lurg launched it on 21st Feb. The article is not cross-wicked (only 1 page is mentioned in "related") and it is this article, basically, both the text and the examples.

    This is just a bad trope etiquette and if I were the sponsor, I would ask that trope to be cutlisted.
  • March 5, 2013
    EdnaWalker
    X Fllo, Do you think that I should cultist Johnny Lurg's Jewish Princess trope and then launch my trope.
  • March 5, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ Edna W, I see you are the Original Poster and a trope sponsor. You patiently waited to get hats. I personally would have been angered if somebody launched my ykttw before it got a proper number of hats. Without a troper hive mind consensus. I really don't see why he did it.

    Now, it really depends. If you want to have this trope as a redirect - basically if you think that both Jewish Princess and Jewish American Princess are both good names for your trope, then probably just let it be. Create a redirect and correct some of the examples.

    However, I think this is a distinctly American trope. I am from Europe and I don't recall Jewish girls from pampered background as a common stereotype. Therefore, I'd like to have the name you use as a working title.

    And anyhow, I would report this to mods in Ask the tropers or somewhere in the forum. Just to keep an eye on the guy.
  • March 5, 2013
    EdnaWalker
    Since this is a distinctly American trope, can I launch this ykttw as having the main name, Jewish American Princess and make Jewish Princess into a redirect name.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9q8ix3x58junyd8259ajsn8l&trope=JewishAmericanPrincess