Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not Our Jersey

I've refrained from making comments about The Real Housewives of New Jersey and E! Jersey Shore Unleashed. Why? (Kids -- especially you Marples -- cover your eyes because I'm about to curse):

Those shows are bullshit.

They are lame attempts to capitalize on the "Jersey" stereotype that only lives in small pockets of the state. Why should Belmar and Seaside Heights -- the party hardy parts -- speak for the rest of us? Why should those "housewives" serve as spokespeople for all Jersey Girls? I don't shop at Shorthills. I don't live in a McMansion. And I certainly have more to do than idly complain about absolutely everything.

So I propose staring a "NOT OUR JERSEY" campaign. If you visit this blog, you most likely agree with what I'm saying -- and probably write about it, too. Since NJ is so crippled with its budget and political problems, I wouldn't expect the state government to do anything about the state's PR issue any time soon.

What can you do? If you run an NJ blog, write a "Not Our Jersey" post, or share this one on your twitter feed or Facebook page. Graphic artist? I think we need a logo that we can display proudly to show that our beautiful state is not what media companies want people to believe, all in exchange for a quick buck.

Who's with me?

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jen said...

Right on Jen!!

I HATE the stereotype of NJ girls!!

I am with ya!!

Jen (bookwormonamission.blogspot.com)

Meghan said...

I am with ya!

sarah said...

LOVE YOU JEN! Yes I have seen the trailers and the first show but clearly this is a stretch and the network should have stopped with NYC> We have three to keep us full of botox and diamonds.
The ladies are frivolous at best .

Gwen Moran said...

Umm...me, as long as we don't bash Belmar and Seaside Heights. As someone who lives in the next town over from Belmar and has friends in Seaside Park, I can attest that the folks who live in these areas are NOT like the stereotype. The stereotype often comes from out-of-state people who vacation here.

New Jersey is a beautiful state filled with a wonderfully diverse population. Shows like "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" are pure fiction. They are not representative of the "real" (smart, funny, warm, successful, resourceful, innovative, caring, generous, terrific) people I know who populate the Garden State.

Anonymous said...

As a native Jersey Girl who has lived around the country, I am often called upon to dispel these stereotypes. When I meet someone new, I have to show that I'm not a gum-snapping daughter of a gangster or a gold-digger. And I have to explain that the only people who say "Joisey" are people on TV or people who watch too much TV!

Let's spread some positive news about the Garden State!

John and Lisa Howard-Fusco said...

You know Lisa and I are on board with this - and yes, we shouldn't slam Belmar and Seaside Heights. - John

Greg said...

Maybe the rest of Jersey can cede the "Joisey" parts of the state to NY and be done with it.

Lee Romano Sequeira said...

So very true Jen! I grew up in Dover, lived in West Orange, Mendham and Flemington (currently enjoying city living in Philadelphia) and seldom came across women like this.

This show just goes to show you that money cannot buy taste or class...besides, when is looking like an oompa-loopa en vogue?

Justin Gaynor said...

I'm on board with this cause.

Carol@Dandelion Vintage said...

That show has the worst NJ sterotypes. I do not know anyone like those women. I watched about 15 minutes and shut it off because I was so embarrassed.

Jen A. Miller said...

Woah! Guess I hit a nerve here. Didn't mean to bash all of Seaside and Belmar -- just the "party hardy" spots (and I've corrected the blog post -- sorry about that).

How should we move ahead?

John said...


I get where you are coming from Jen. At the same time, I feel like efforts like these feed this inferiority complex too many Jerseyans have. So they made a show featuring some housewives in New Jersey who skeeve you. So what? Was NYC up-in-arms about the NYC version?

People who watch one show and assume everyone there walks and talks the same as three or four show characters isn't worth your time anyway.

Jen A. Miller said...

John, I'm going to respectfully disagree. Real Housewives NYC is about a city. Atlanta is about a city. Orange County is about a county. The NJ version is about a small enclave, too, but it's the first show in the series to label an entire state. It's wrong.

I don't think it feeds an inferiority complex at all. It's about standing up any speaking for our state -- that we're not like this.


Anonymous said...

I refuse to watch this show.

If someone comes up with a logo banner, I'd put it on my blog.

Bridget said...

What about the kid that broke into the grocery store in a snuggie? Not your jersey either? BOOYAH!

I kid.

Steve said...

Jen, I especially agree with your last comment.

But let's not sugarcoat this either. This is mostly (and I emphasize MOSTLY) about the infamous "guido" and "guidette" that the media has now been linking with NJ the way Cajuns are associated with Louisiana.

My Italian mother hated the Sopranos for 2 reasons: 1) It linked Italians with the mafia and 2) It reinforced that NJ stereotype that is now so played on SNL and now on Bravo. To add insult to injury, 4 out of the 5 Housewives are Italian.

I know you have your Italian roots too. Those are your writers, artists and bloggers who can really sink their teeth into your idea with jaws - New Jerseyeans who may have some ethnic Italian in them and aren't afraid of calling this for what it is - painting us as the caricatures of Adriana. We can do so without the fears of smearing an ethnicity or group also.

I DO have many colleagues that say their HS was like the Sopranos, but again, it is a small portion.

I still say it needs to be renamed, "Real Housewives of Bergen County."

But look what they're doing on Long Island:


Kim said...

Hey Jen -

I'm an Atlanta native and I can tell you that ALL of my friends and family think the Atlanta version is just as idiotic and completely out of whack as to who the people are in Atlanta and how they act....and that goes for the ones that actually have money. People with real money don't have to TELL you they are loaded or flaunt it. I learned a long time ago that the more someone has to tell you about how much money, status or sex they have - they are LIARS!

Kim said...

Oh and forgot to mention - I LOVE NJ, have friends there - you have the most beautiful trees! My husband works for an awesome company company in Wayne (GAF).

Anonymous said...

I've been to NJ twice and loved the shores and the people. But this is the best testament to New Jersey that you might get: my sister-in-law who lives near the coast in Brazil was here on a visit, her second to the U.S.. Guess where she just spent a few days as part of her 'need to go see' itinerary? You got it. New Jersey! She really enjoyed herself and the regular people. She's returning to Brazil with many good memories and new friends.

Anonymous said...

Skeeve is not a word!

Lisa said...

Don't watch the show. But yes NJ always gets a bad rap and it is a beautiful state. It cracks me up when people ask what exit your from. I am proud to be a "Jersey Girl"!