Skip to comments.The Rise and Fall—and Rise—of “Jewess”
Posted on 05/22/2008 8:18:44 PM PDT by forkinsocket
Why are twenty-first-century women reclaiming a derogatory term?
In 1980, Rabbi Jacob Rader Marcus, an octogenarian scholar of Jewish history, decided to title his new book about Jewish women in America The American Jewess. His publisher, Ktav, told him that was out of the question because the term Jewess was, well, offensive. Marcus, more concerned with historical truth than political correctness, didnt really care. He compromised on the title, calling his study The American Jewish Woman: 16541980, but refused to remove the term from his text. Many Jews today deem it a dirty word and avoid it," he writes in the preface. "I believe it is a neutral descriptive noun and I use it constantly. If for some it has become a term of contempt, it is because Judeophobic Gentiles have made it so. I refuse to bow to their prejudice.
If Marcus had made it to the twenty-first century, he wouldve appreciated the latest chapter in the long and winding history of the word. In recent years, as demeaning -ess feminine nouns like stewardess and actress have continued to fade from use, their sister-term Jewess has been making a comeback. It started in 1998, when Ophira Edut created The Jewess is Loose!, a Web site on which she playfully reported the thoughts and adventures of Ophi, a chunky, funky, quarter-finding, bagel-eating Jew who finds herself negotiating the foreign world of Duluth, Minnesota. The following year, a heavily tattooed performance artist, the Jewess Tattooess, made her debut on the stages of London with a dark, taboo-breaking solo show that incorporated aspects of Yiddish theater and sideshows. Since then, a handful of blogs have popped up with names like Jewesses with Attitude, Barefoot Jewess, Cute Jewess Tells All, and most recently, plain old Jewessall created by women [...]
(Excerpt) Read more at nextbook.org ...
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Really? Haven't noticed. I guess it'll be official when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a liberal outfit if there ever was one) changes the award from Best Actress to best ....Actor Womyn.
I am of Jewish ancestry and I have heard that term all my life, no one ever told me it was negative. I am proud to be a Jewess! My Dad always called my Mom a Jewess princess, funny, I never knew it to be a negative..
I guess it's one of those words where it depends who uses it and the context.
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