A Brighter Side to “Jewish Mothering”: A Review of “The Guilt Trip”

The Guilt Trip begins by introducing Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen), a thirty— something inventor about to embark on a road trip to sell his innovative organic cleaning product. Andy makes a quick stop at his mom’s (Barbara Streisand) house, and spontaneously invites her to come along for the ride. Their journey cross-country turns into an exploration of the ties that bind (Jewish) mother and son.

According to Wikipedia, the stereotype of Jewish mother “generally involves a nagging, loud, highly-talkative, overprotective, manipulative, controlling, smothering, and overbearing mother or wife, who persists in interfering in her children’s lives long after they have become adults and who is excellent at making her children feel guilty for actions which may have caused her to suffer.”

Stereotypes, shmereotypes. Sure, they exist for a reason. A genuine cultural observation is made and then enlarged. Stereotypes are shorthand for complicated phenomenon, and can transmit lots of information with little description. But stereotypes are at best incomplete informational accounts, and can also be untrue and/or harmful. My own mother, for example, exhibits none of the above Wikipedia mentioned behaviors or traits. There were many years when I yearned for nothing more than my mother to have something to say, to be more involved in my life. Her response when I asked? “I don’t like to intrude.” Really.

Read More: @ jwa.org

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