The Pariah Princess

Agency, Representation, and Neoliberal Jewish Girlhood

in Girlhood Studies
Author: Michele Byers
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The focus of the essay is the well known (and worn) stereotype of the Jewish American Princess or JAP. Spoiled, frigid, loud, defiant, the JAP refuses to behave in civilized ways even as she constantly transgresses the boundaries of civilized social spaces. Both an intimate insider, and an eternal outsider, the JAP is a boundary figure whose presence draws and redraws myths of assimilative ideals and citizenship rights in American culture. The complexity of these social relations, their apparent contradictions, and the possibilities they may offer for agency and resistance in both 'real' and fictive contexts are explored through close examinations of four high profile JAPS—Cher Horowitz of the film Clueless, Monica Lewinsky, Jessica Stein of the film Kissing Jessica Stein, and Lizzie Grubman.

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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