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Open Access Publications from the University of California

TV Jewish Mothers: The Creation of a Multiethnic Antiheroine


It is in the domain of cultural studies to critique icons that delineate models of behavior and beliefs represented in films, movies, music, print and television. The media “provides modern morality tales that demonstrate right and wrong behavior, that show what to do and what not to do, that indicate what is or is not the ‘right thing’.” (Kellner, l995, p. 162) The TV Jewish Mother is a media archetype whose depictions represent the ambiguity that 21st Century American culture promulgates about the role of mothering. By doing a diagnostic critique of the Jewish Mother, so often stereotypically characterized on TV, one discovers that, for the most part, she is a devouringly negative, albeit loving presence in her child’s life...

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