Sisterhood Blog

Why I’m Totally Not Offended by ‘Princesses: Long Island’

By Lilit Marcus

  • Print
  • Share Share

We all knew it was coming. A medium as rife with ethnic stereotypes as reality television was bound to, one day, find a few spunky young Jewish women and present them to the world as JAPs. Well, that day has come.

Bravo recently debuted their new reality show “Princesses: Long Island” which is about, in the network’s words, “six young women from Long Island who return to their pampered lifestyles in the comfort of their parents’ estates and at the expense of their fathers’ bank accounts. This new docu-series offers a window into their unique family dynamics and personal lives filled with labels, luxury, and love trials.”

This week on the Sisterhood we will be exploring the new show and what it does and doesn’t say about Jewish women today.

“Everybody has a stereotype of a Long Island Jewish girl. They get so offended! I’m, like, ‘Bring it.’ I’m Jewish, I’m American, and I’m a princess.” Ashlee from “Princesses: Long Island”

As a reality TV junkie, I’m always on the hunt for my next fix. Most great reality shows are only great for one season, before participants buy into their own hype and start hiring publicists. The first season of “Jersey Shore,” before the catchphrases and the endorsement deals, was one of the best and funniest reality shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been searching for a replacement ever since.

“Princesses: Long Island,” the new Bravo reality show about six (mostly) spoiled Jewish women who still live at home and are trying to find husbands, has finally filled that gap. However, like many other reality shows, “Princesses” has encountered plenty of controversy. Before the first episode had even aired, several Jewish groups were calling for a boycott. On The Huffington Post, Lindsay Orlofsky wrote a post entitled “Shame On Bravo,” where she criticized the women on the show and their characterizations of their own Jewish identities.

“The women on this show depict a disgracefully false representation of Jews, a shameful representation of women, and a humiliating representation of Long Islanders,” Orlofsky wrote. “As a Jewish woman from New York, I could not be more appalled with the Bravo network’s decision to air this train wreck of a show, and the cast members’ decisions to fuel this stereotypical fire.”

Orlofsky’s post reads like a mad lib. Every time a new reality show hits the air, members of the community depicted by the show write nearly-identical screeds. I can understand the concern coming from Orlofsky and people like her – some of the women on Princesses are like the embarrassing family member who you hope doesn’t make a scene at your wedding. But expecting something as banal as a reality show to be all things to all people, or asking a TV network that exists to sell advertisements to be a moral arbiter for an entire society, is ridiculous.

We live in a world where there is more media than ever before. There are hundreds of TV channels and hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites. Yet Orlofsky seems to think that one single TV show, one drop of a water in a tremendous ocean, is going to ruin an entire community. Anti-Semitism existed long before reality TV ever did, and it will probably continue existing when reality TV is a relic of history. The kind of person who bases their entire opinion of the Jewish community on a couple of heavily edited characters on a reality show is the kind of person who wouldn’t have a very informed opinion on Jews to begin with. Italian-Americans survived Jersey Shore. African-Americans survived The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Vapid pharmaceutical sales reps survived The Bachelor. We’re going to be just fine. Bring on season two!


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Princesses Long Island, Author Blog Series

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!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • 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.