Sisterhood Blog

Mila Kunis Is Good for the Jews

By Emily Shire

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

In the slightly dysfunctional, overly simplistic, but ever-popular game of categorizing Jewish national figures as good or bad for the tribe, putting Mila Kunis in the good for the Jews category is pretty much a no-brainer for me. She’s beautiful, talented, smart, outspoken, and even bilingual. It is little surprise that Esquire has crowned her the Sexiest Woman Alive. While my reaction to the Sexiest Woman Alive announcement usually ranges from eye-rolling to maddening jealousy, these initial inclinations were transformed into a little spark of Jewish pride upon hearing Kunis had garnered this year’s title.

As America salivates over Kunis photo spread and charming interview with the magazine, I would wager that Jews are just a little more pleased. I, like many Jews, kvell when a member of the tribe, regardless of how observant or even willing they are to acknowledge their Judaism, accomplishes something big. This phenomenon is magnified when the accomplishment is in a field not typically associated with Jews, or something we’re stereotyped as being bad at, i.e. playing sports or being sexy. Centuries of telling us we’re weak, unattractive, and the like have made us burst with pride when our counterexamples hit the national stage.

For this reason, many of us, myself included, suspend our usual sensibilities, nee even our beliefs, when a co-religionist is involved. Not for nothing do I, a die-hard Yankees fan, adamantly refuse to boo Kevin Youkilis, even when he played for the Red Sox. Similarly, I took enough Women and Gender Studies and Jewish history courses to know that Jewish ladies have a legacy of being stereotyped as whiny, emasculating, sexually repulsive creatures. The cover of Esquire was glaring proof to the contrary, and I felt proud.

Then, I realized how ridiculous that was for a number of reasons. First, there are plenty of hot Jewish female celebrities out there already (Scarlett Johansson, Bar Rafaeli, Dianna Agron, the list can go on), so I/we shouldn’t feel like there’s anything to prove. At the same time, I have male friends whose favorite pastime is fantasizing about Natalie Portman and still make JAP jokes. A single, albeit nationally known, sexy Jewess isn’t going to drastically change things. Sometimes a figure comes along that can radically alter ethnic stereotypes, but it’s really rare, if not impossible. For those who have negative stereotypes of Jewish women, Kunis and her well-kept body aren’t going to change their ignorance and preconceptions. For them, she’s just another hot girl, not some ethnic/religious cross-bearer.

Moreover, as someone who strongly believes there are major problems with the media’s distorted standards for beauty and body shapes, it doesn’t really make sense for me to feel proud when a tan and fit woman with lustrous hair gets to grace the cover of a magazine. Kunis is Jewish, but she also easily fits the mainstream norms of what is considered sexy. While it’s nice to see a Jewish gal chosen, I can now take a step back from my initial member of the tribe pride and realize how insignificant and unexceptional Kunis’ honor is.

The fact that Kunis is Jewish isn’t enough to override my beliefs and allegiances as a non-size 2, feminist-minded American woman. I’d feel greater value and pride if someone who didn’t fit those molds were considered sexy by Esquire. Seeing Lena Dunham, Rebel Wilson, or Amber Riley on the cover would be much more impressive on Esquire’s part and rewarding to me as a woman, Jewish or otherwise.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Mila Kunis, Sexiest Woman Alive

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.