Tuesday, November 16, 2004

CAMPER GONE WILD

Way back in the day, I was a camp counselor at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.

My second year on staff, when I was 19, I had a great edah (age group)...although I didn't know it at the time (because she was like 12), the girl who would become the woman who would become my sister-in-law was living in the bunk next door. But living in my bunk at the time was a great group of girls...including a girl who talked backwards. She showed an independent spirit (especially on Hippie Day, which was all about the counterculture) that was unusual for that age, and the backwards-talking thing was something we'd never seen (or heard) before.

That girl became the diva known simply as Bex. Or to you, More Bex Than at That Which Sticks Can Be Shook (aka Planet Bex). Her stardom will undoubtedly be enhanced by her appearance in the Battle of the Schwartzes feature in the new issue of Heeb.

But aside from this true milestone, I wanted to share with you a post that she wrote. In it, she wonders why there don't seem to be any Jewish sex symbols (and no, Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus doesn't count):

I can't think of any sexy Jewesses in pop culture from my childhood and adolescence and I'm hard-pressed to find them now -- when we look to popular culture and the cult-of-personality to find our role models of the sexualized gaze, who do we see? skinny hipped, tiny nosed non-Jews. Where are the ladies with the hips? The thighs? The hair? They're not on the screen -- they're not celluloid idols (ha, more like cellulite idols, she quips wittily, like she was trained), so they're like the anti-idealized-Barbie and therefore the notion of the sexy-Jew becomes appealing to anti-establishment sorts of people.

(I found this especially interesting given the fact that I just wrote a singles column about Jewish girls and boys not being able to measure up to the expectations that they have of each other, and that this is in part due to the way singles life is depicted on television. I read Bex and heard echoes of myself.)

On her blog, long-linked to by me, she shares "Bex on Bad Girl Jews," an essay replete with references to both cable access porn and halakhah (Jewish law) that she wrote for Penthouse.com.

At the marriage between her humor/pop culture sensibility and her Jewish education, however secularized and potentially scandalous, how can an ex-counselor be anything but proud?

10 Comments:

At 5:05 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger Charles Star said...

Isn't Natalie Portman Jewish? And Mia Kirshner?

 
At 5:32 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger Princess Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:18 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger bex said...

Golly geepers! I must admit, though, the Halachic input came from my cousin, who's a super-Jew. Her name is Meredith Woocher and she's way smart on all the Jew stuff; I just mooched off of her. (PS -- I blogged you right back - hot cha cha).

 
At 2:23 AM, November 17, 2004, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Nothing special, just wanted to say that I was a camper and counselor at Ramah in California and a counselor at Ramah in Canada.

Seminar '85- The Memories linger

 
At 7:22 PM, November 17, 2004, Blogger ontheface said...

She may not be a Jew in real life, but Rachel Aniston played a sexy Jewess in "Friends". Does that count?

Also, what about half-heebs - e.g., Michael Douglas? (not to mention Papa Kirk: he was considered a sex symbol back in the day).

 
At 9:19 AM, November 18, 2004, Blogger PetiteDov said...

If you're counting kirk douglas then lauren bacall should also be included in the list.

 
At 12:08 PM, November 18, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

natalie portman is jewish, half israeli, studying in israel now too at Hebrew U.

Winona Ryder definitely qualifies too

 
At 12:35 PM, November 18, 2004, Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

We all acknowledge that Winona and Natalie are very sexy. But physically, they do not represent to Jewish girls the same kind of role model of sexy that J. Lo represents for Hispanic women. These girls are slim, waifish and unrelatable to most Jewish women I know. That's Bex's point about the sex symbols; not that there aren't any gorgeous Jewish people, just that they're not quintessentially Jewis.

 
At 12:36 PM, November 18, 2004, Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

That's "Jewish," obviously.

 
At 1:59 PM, November 18, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree that Natalie Portman is unrelateable, for instance. Thankfully, not all Jewish women are overweight, with kinky brown hair, big breasts, and a big nose -- as you friend Bex is claiming.

 

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My Urban Kvetch: CAMPER GONE WILD

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

CAMPER GONE WILD

Way back in the day, I was a camp counselor at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.

My second year on staff, when I was 19, I had a great edah (age group)...although I didn't know it at the time (because she was like 12), the girl who would become the woman who would become my sister-in-law was living in the bunk next door. But living in my bunk at the time was a great group of girls...including a girl who talked backwards. She showed an independent spirit (especially on Hippie Day, which was all about the counterculture) that was unusual for that age, and the backwards-talking thing was something we'd never seen (or heard) before.

That girl became the diva known simply as Bex. Or to you, More Bex Than at That Which Sticks Can Be Shook (aka Planet Bex). Her stardom will undoubtedly be enhanced by her appearance in the Battle of the Schwartzes feature in the new issue of Heeb.

But aside from this true milestone, I wanted to share with you a post that she wrote. In it, she wonders why there don't seem to be any Jewish sex symbols (and no, Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus doesn't count):

I can't think of any sexy Jewesses in pop culture from my childhood and adolescence and I'm hard-pressed to find them now -- when we look to popular culture and the cult-of-personality to find our role models of the sexualized gaze, who do we see? skinny hipped, tiny nosed non-Jews. Where are the ladies with the hips? The thighs? The hair? They're not on the screen -- they're not celluloid idols (ha, more like cellulite idols, she quips wittily, like she was trained), so they're like the anti-idealized-Barbie and therefore the notion of the sexy-Jew becomes appealing to anti-establishment sorts of people.

(I found this especially interesting given the fact that I just wrote a singles column about Jewish girls and boys not being able to measure up to the expectations that they have of each other, and that this is in part due to the way singles life is depicted on television. I read Bex and heard echoes of myself.)

On her blog, long-linked to by me, she shares "Bex on Bad Girl Jews," an essay replete with references to both cable access porn and halakhah (Jewish law) that she wrote for Penthouse.com.

At the marriage between her humor/pop culture sensibility and her Jewish education, however secularized and potentially scandalous, how can an ex-counselor be anything but proud?

10 Comments:

At 5:05 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger Charles Star said...

Isn't Natalie Portman Jewish? And Mia Kirshner?

 
At 5:32 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger Princess Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:18 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger bex said...

Golly geepers! I must admit, though, the Halachic input came from my cousin, who's a super-Jew. Her name is Meredith Woocher and she's way smart on all the Jew stuff; I just mooched off of her. (PS -- I blogged you right back - hot cha cha).

 
At 2:23 AM, November 17, 2004, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Nothing special, just wanted to say that I was a camper and counselor at Ramah in California and a counselor at Ramah in Canada.

Seminar '85- The Memories linger

 
At 7:22 PM, November 17, 2004, Blogger ontheface said...

She may not be a Jew in real life, but Rachel Aniston played a sexy Jewess in "Friends". Does that count?

Also, what about half-heebs - e.g., Michael Douglas? (not to mention Papa Kirk: he was considered a sex symbol back in the day).

 
At 9:19 AM, November 18, 2004, Blogger PetiteDov said...

If you're counting kirk douglas then lauren bacall should also be included in the list.

 
At 12:08 PM, November 18, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

natalie portman is jewish, half israeli, studying in israel now too at Hebrew U.

Winona Ryder definitely qualifies too

 
At 12:35 PM, November 18, 2004, Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

We all acknowledge that Winona and Natalie are very sexy. But physically, they do not represent to Jewish girls the same kind of role model of sexy that J. Lo represents for Hispanic women. These girls are slim, waifish and unrelatable to most Jewish women I know. That's Bex's point about the sex symbols; not that there aren't any gorgeous Jewish people, just that they're not quintessentially Jewis.

 
At 12:36 PM, November 18, 2004, Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

That's "Jewish," obviously.

 
At 1:59 PM, November 18, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree that Natalie Portman is unrelateable, for instance. Thankfully, not all Jewish women are overweight, with kinky brown hair, big breasts, and a big nose -- as you friend Bex is claiming.

 

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