“’Princesses’ is part of a reality show genre which peddles over-the-top exhibitionism with elements of stereotyping of different groups,” the ADL wrote in a statement to the Herald. “While these shows are infantile and prurient and probably not helpful to society, we do not believe they are particularly destructive. However, the use of the term ‘princesses’ has a history of being used pejoratively toward Jewish women, and it is unfortunate Bravo chose this title for a show about Long Island women who identify themselves Jewishly.”
Rabbi Scott Hoffman of Temple Israel of South Merrick said of “Princesses” that “at best it’s banal and at worst it’s offensive.”
Reality TV is “as far removed from reality as anything I know,” Hoffman said. “I spent years in Great Neck, a place of considerable wealth, and I don’t remember anyone acting in the way shown on the show.”
Hoffman expressed concern that “Princesses” might distort the perception of some about life on Long Island. “I think in New York most people know Jews or people from Long Island, and they know they don’t act like this,” Hoffman said. “But for someone who lives in the Midwest and doesn’t have context, I’m not sure. It’s hard for me to tell because I don’t live in the Midwest.
“The only thing that’s never depicted in these shows is normalcy,” Hoffman continued. “I hope young people have the filter to realize that this is very far removed on many levels from most people’s ordinary experience.”
Hoffman’s concern about “Princesses’” effect on young adults was shared by Dr. Paula Uruburu, vice dean of the School for University Studies and an associate professor of English at Hofstra University. Uruburu, who focuses on women’s studies and the history of American popular culture in her teaching and research, said “Princesses” prizes superficiality over intelligence and hard work.
“It’s all about looking good and being seductive,” Uruburu said. “What are your goals in life? Is it breast implants and Botox, or do you want to be a CEO or university professor? Where are girls’ role models today?”