Nordstrom made a big faux-pas recently–actually, a pretty anti-Semitic one at that. Until yesterday, they were selling a Hanukkah sweater for women in their novelty items section. Which, on its own, sounds like a kitschy thing to do, except it used hurtful stereotypes in the process.
We’re all about making fun of ourselves and wearing bad holiday sweaters at parties, but this went too far, with the front of the sweater saying “Chai Maintenance” and “Hanukkah J.A.P.” To drive it home, they featured a model posing as though she’s taking a selfie (with a tiara on nonetheless), because all Jewish women are high maintenance and self-obsessed, right?
On Nordstrom’s Facebook page, many consumers posted comments airing their frustration and outrage (“Ouch! Saw this on Amazon as well–the manufacturer has bad taste–take it down Nordstrom!”), which resulted in the store taking the sweater off the market (though it still appears on their site).
What’s even more disconcerting is the fact that there is a male version of the sweater, but without the negative stereotyping. This version is the right balance of cheeky and tasteful, with the front reading “Happy Hanukkah” and “Mazel Tov,” and the back followed by a cute “Oy Vey!” Why is it OK to inappropriately make fun of Jewish women, but leave men unscathed?
All we want for Hanukkah is for fashion designers to treat Jewish women with some kindness and respect. That’d be great.