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Forget princesses. Let’s talk about real young Jewish women

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Okay, I’ll admit it. Much to my husband’s dismay and horror, I watch a lot of reality shows. Give me any housewife, house buyer, house seller, house decorator, matchmaker, newlywed—you name it, I’ll watch it.

I won’t try to justify this behavior, but I will say that for me, TV is an escape, a little getaway from everyday life, and I don’t really like to escape to dark and violent places all that often. So, for an hour, if I can get a glimpse into someone’s glamorous, ridiculous, diamond-studded and overly dramatic life, then why not?

When I first saw the commercial previewing the new Bravo series Princesses: Long Island, a show about Jewish 20-something girls from Long Island who live rather comfortably at home with their parents until a nice Jewish boy asks them to marry him, I was admittedly both intrigued and frightened. And while I’m not usually one to write about such things, or openly admit that I watch them, I guess this time I had something to say.

Last night, after returning from a weekend trip to New York where I actually spent one afternoon visiting with friends on Long Island, I hesitantly watched the first episode—apparently along with 1.2 million other people. I’m not going to get into the details of the show, but let’s just say that so far it doesn’t portray us Jewish 20-something women—or anyone from Long Island for that matter— in the best of lights. And having just stepped off the plane from my visit and based on the lives of my friends from Long Island, I know the stereotypes this show perpetuates are definitely not reality. I read a review in People Magazine that suggests some of the behaviors on the show are so over the top, one has to think these girls are in on it all, playing it up for the camera. I like to think this is the case—for all of our sakes.

So I'm not going to tell you about the out-of-control pool party, or the girl who asks to be carried out of the nail salon after her pedicure, or the girl who lies to her modern Orthodox friend, telling her the hot dog she's eating is kosher when it isn't, or the fact that these girls seem to be proudly portraying skewed caricatures. Instead, I’d like to focus on what I’d like to see featured on a reality TV show about young Jewish women—because in my reality, we are pretty great.

Let’s start just by looking at our female Oy! bloggers. We’ve got a magazine editor, the creator of a non-profit organization for cancer survivors, a chef, amazing mommies, non-profit professionals, authors, writers and so much more. There are female rabbis doing amazing things and making amazing strides—what about a show about that? The lives of young Jews today are so rich and diverse—let’s follow women as they navigate JDates, start a business, succeed in their careers, figure out how to fit Jewish traditions and values into their modern lives.

I guess all I’m saying is young Jewish women (hopefully including the “princesses” featured on the show) and young women in general, are doing way more interesting stuff than shopping and waiting around for a nice boy to marry us, so maybe, just maybe, we should highlight that reality. What do you say, Bravo? 

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