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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."
Gilda Radner

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-World War II Jewish male writers. Notable works that popularized this stereotype are Herman Wouk's 1955 novel, Marjorie Morningstar and Philip 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. It is said to have been derived from the (now defunct) Jewish sorority Iotal Alpha Phi. Of course, use of the acronym has often been subject to harsh misunderstanding due to it coincidentally spelling "Jap", which in the USA is a derogatory term for "Japanese".


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 (albeit with a New York rather than Los Angeles flavor). Some of these girls can fall under Spoiled Brat or Idle Rich.



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     Comic Books  

  • "Libby in the Lost World" in Penthouse Comix was about a Jewish American princess who gets trapped in a Lost World where she becomes a parody of the Jungle Princess.

    Fan Works 
  • Rip Her to Shreds: Both Regina and Gretchen count. Regina is Reform and Gretchen are Orthodox. Both are genuinely religious but they're also snobby, rich Alpha Bitches.

  • 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: [groans] That's all we need. A Druish princess.
    Barf: (looks at the camera) Funny, she doesn't look Druish.
    • Brooks has since mentioned he named their planet Druidia solely to make this joke.
  • 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.
  • In Ghost World, Enid and Becky's annoying, stuck-up classmates Melorra and Naomi are disparagingly referred to by Enid as "the junior JAPs of America."
  • Baby, the main protagonist, in Dirty Dancing, who develops away from the negative aspects of the trope.
  • Private Benjamin involves one of these getting suckered into joining the Army, with the expected Fish out of Water results.
  • Cher Horowitz in Clueless, who is also Ambiguously Jewish, starts out like this, but it's subverted as the film progresses and she takes genuine interest in other people.
  • The Lisa Kudrow vehicle Marci X has the titular character being described as such. However, Marci is about as Jewish as she is a hip-hop princess, which is next to none — which is all the more bizarre considering that not only is she played by a Jewish actress, but the film's writer and director were also Jewish.
  • In the indie romantic comedy Dummy starring Adrien Brody, the main character's sister Heidi is working as a wedding planner. The only client we see her work for is one of these, and Heidi refers to her as such using the abbreviation.
  • Rita from Slums of Beverly Hills has elements of this, this trope is avoided with her younger cousin Vivian (the main character) who is poor and her Father changes addresses so the kids go to the well-funded schools in Beverly Hills.

  • Susan Silverman of the Spenser series jokingly refers to herself as one of these, though she averts the more negative parts of the trope.
  • In Trainspotting, Spud has a fetish for Jewish princesses, apparently acquired through listening to Frank Zappa as he mentions Moon Unit Zappa and alludes to Zappa's other songs "Catholic Girls" and "Valley Girl" in the same chapter.
  • Brenda Patimkin in Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus.
  • Japan Took the JAP Out of Me is a memoir about a self-admitted Jewish American Princess who moved to Japan with her husband when he got a job teaching English there and how the ensuring Culture Clash forced her to reevaluate herself as a person.
  • Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson: Maureen started as one before she discovered the Way of the Barbarian Warrior. And she still makes sure she has daddy's credit card with her at all times. Her former roommate and best friend Bitsy Spiegleman remains one, going on to marry a rich doctor and moving to a nice neighborhood to raise a child named Malachi Bret Spiegleman-Fein.
  • In God Knows, the biblical David accuses his fastidious, snobby, repressed wife Princess Michal of being one. It's that kind of book.

    Live Action TV 
  • Friends: Rachel Green was originally scripted as a stereotypical Jewish American Princess and Lovable Alpha Bitch. 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 came from very pampered background. Her father was a rich heart surgeon and her mother a stay-at-home, unsatisfied wife. Her two sisters were as spoiled as her, but had less self-awareness than Rachel. This stereotype declined as the series progressed.
  • Gilda Radner parodied the Jewish American Princess stereotype with her recurring Saturday Night Live character, Rhonda Weiss.
  • Radner's 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 refers to her being a Socialite who buys reasonably priced furs, while is also a Bookworm who likes to cook.
  • One ITV series from Granada TV about the Jewish community in Manchester, England, was certainly filled 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 dental-care, as she made it 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.
  • Channel Four aired a (one-off) reality show/contest called The Jewish Mother of the Year in 2012. 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 JAPs 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.
  • Fran Drescher 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")
  • The Nanny: Francine "Fran" Fine, the titular nanny played by Fran Drescher, is a more sympathetic and working-class version of of the stereotype: she is obsessed with marriage, beauty, and shopping yet is a sweet and street-smart Mama Bear who really loves having sex.
  • Rachel Menken (later Katz) from Mad Men is an aversion of this trope. Despite being a wealthy, successful Jewish woman, she is neither selfish nor materialistic, and though she comes from money, she earned most of her wealth by growing and modernizing the family business (a midrange department store), not inheriting or marrying into money.
  • Erica Goldberg, in Ambiguously Jewish sitcom The Goldbergs, shows many of the qualifying personal characteristics, especially in relations with her parents and brothers.
  • It's implied that Mrs. Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory may have been this in her youth. She's Jewish and overbearing, and she mentions she had many admirers who were bringing her candy and tried to win her favours. She very much averts the trope in her middle age.
  • Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has way too many mental problems to be a JAP, but her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, Audra Levine, looks like she is one. When they engage in a rap battle, it's even called a "JAP Battle Rap" — at which point, the concept itself is parodied and called offensive.
  • Lisa of Saved by the Bell was written to be this - and she's the most materialistic of the girls, with frequent references to her spending "Daddy's money". When Lark Voorhees was cast, they removed any references to Lisa being Jewish.
  • One of the central trio in Birds of a Feather is Dorien, a middle-aged Jewish divorcee who acts as if she is still in her twenties, has a sense of entitlement a mile high, sees the other two women as a combination of personal servants and people who are there to make her life easier; she refuses to scale down her expectations and believes the world is there to meet her demands. Dorien is a middle-aged British JAP who has never grown up.
  • GLOW (2017): Melanie "Melrose" Rosen is a hard-partying Jewish girl who comes from a wealthy background and is heavily implied to have had a very pampered upbringing.

  • 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 
  • 2 Live Jews' song "J.A.P. Rap" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Jewish American Princesses feature in several of Allan Sherman's parody songs including "Sarah Jackman" and "You're a Nudnik, Sondra Goldfein."

  • 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: Sick of the old slur 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."

  • One of the princesses in Medieval Madness plays this trope painfully straight.

    Stand Up Comedy 
  • Wyatt Cenac (of The Daily Show fame), in his stand-up routine, 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?
    Girlfriend: What are you going to do? I'm a JAP
    Cenac: Hold up, I was being critical. There's no need to get racist
    Girlfriend: No, stupid, JAP. Jewish American Princess!
    Cenac: Oh, my bad. And apparently the bad of any Japanese person who's ever been offended.

  • The literary critic Harold Bloom has argued that Jessica in The Merchant of Venice is the Ur-Example, although she's not American (obviously) and not especially sexually repressed.

    Web Video 
  • Diamond Tiara from Friendship is Witchcraft is still a materialistic, snotty bitch as per show standard, but she's Ambiguously Jewish to boot in the pony universe (pony religion is somewhat ambiguous). Presumably, she's this in the FIW equivalent of Equestria Girls, since human!Silver Spoon explicitly states she's Jewish.

    Western Animation 
  • Portia Gibbons from The Mighty B! is a spoiled, entitled Rich Bitch who's eventually revealed to be Jewish (although she also has something resembling a Valley Girl "accent" since she lives in California). Her cousin, Chelsea, is even more entitled and bratty, as seen when she berates Portia at the former's bat mitzvah.
  • Mipsy from As Told by Ginger according to a throwaway line involving her having a Bat Mitzvah. The protagonist is one quarter Jewish and very much averts this trope though.
  • Lois Griffin on Family Guy used to be this when she was younger, though subverted as she grew up believing she was a WASP and didn't discover she was half Jewish until adulthood.
  • In American Dad!, Sharri Rothberg is this. She's portrayed as so insufferable and demanding, Roger quickly regrets asking her to marry him so he could scam wedding presents, eventually managing to fob her off to the equally desperate Mountain Man, Buckle.
  • Tammy Larson from Bob's Burgers is revealed to be one in the episode "Mazel-Tina" in which she refuses to invite her classmate Tina to her bat mitzvah, and begins acting like a stereotypically bratty My Super Sweet Sixteen star.

Alternative Title(s): Jewish Princess


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