Perhaps Roth and Mailer need not have tried so hard.Today, a surplus of Jewish and gentile women covet an NJB of their own.In Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, Alexander Portnoy rails against his overbearing Jewish mother by becoming a deviant obsessed with shiksas and sex. ” Norman Mailer, too, struggled to throw off the curse of the Jewish weakling.“Enough being a nice Jewish boy, publicly pleasing my parents while privately pulling my putz! Mailer “spent his entire life trying to extirpate what he himself called the ‘nice Jewish boy’ from his soul…to overcome that lifelong terror of being a sissy,” according to Norman Podhoretz, former editor-in-chief of Commentary Magazine.An early anti-Semitic myth of medieval Europe was that Jewish men menstruated, perhaps as a result of their womanly excesses or dealings with the devil. In the 1890s, the Austrian-Jewish therapist put forth the idea of homosexuality as mental illness.
’”This prescription didn’t apply in America, where Jewish-American immigrants faced a different problem: assimilation.
Gentle, pious and scholarly, this new model was the original Yeshiva bocher—a stark contrast to the traditional Roman warrior of the time.
By the 16th century, this Jewish archetype had a name: edelkayt.
The Yiddish word—which derives from edel, or noble—referred to “a quality of gentleness, almost softness,” says Boyarin.
Yet this “ideal Jewish male femme” was also the pinnacle of manliness, a sexual force to be reckoned with. Other cultures twisted the feminized edelkayt into something negative.