The s word
I wrote about the JAP and the shiksa a few years back here: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/06/beauty-and-jap.html
Now the issue arises with respect to the question of the connotations of the term in Anti-non-Semitism: An Investigation of the Shiksa:
The shiksa exists only insofar as the Jew is aware of her; she is defined relative to him. She occupies a hazy cultural nexus; the shiksa is not Jewish but is nonetheless only a shiksa on account of Jews calling her thus. Tracing the word is as much a history of the Jewish-Gentile dynamic as it is an etymological exercise. It’s a bridgeword whose history and development say volumes about the people doing the calling (usually, but not exclusively, Jews), the people being called (usually, but not exclusively, non-Jews), the language the calling is in (generally not Yiddish, at least not anymore), and all the complexities thereof.
So who, or what, is the shiksa? Where did she come from? How did she get to where she is today? Where is she today? And behind all this, of course, the question remains: is calling someone a shiksa really a hate crime?...........the shiksa semantically splits: (1) the non-tempting gentile woman, whose relationship to the Jew is often of an incidental sort, like that of a maid or neighbor, and who, if she’s described at all, is usually a hag; and (2) the tempting and by-definition forbidden seductress (though “seductress” implies a proactivity that isn’t always or even usually the case: the shiksa need not make any sexual overtures or come-ons beyond her simply existing and being visible, which, granted, would be considered by many in the shtetl provocative enough). Both are pejorative, but in different ways and of different intensities: one personifies forbidden pleasure, sharply reflecting the guilt and frustration of the tempted; the other is blandly derogatory, almost below concern.
Actually, the term I've heard applied to maids is "goya" rather than "shiksa," which seem to be more associated with the temptress type than with a nondescript nonJewish female.
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