I’m afraid that the Jewish world is about to blow it again with interfaith couples and families, as happened just two months ago with negative reactions to the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky. This time, it’s about Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook.
Apparently the soon-to-be-released movie, The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin, suggests that Zuckerberg created Facebook so he could meet non-Jewish girls. This according to a piece by Danielle Berrin in the Huffington Post yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg Created Facebook To Get Non-Jewish Girls, that is disturbing on many levels.
Berrin writes that the movie assumes that “for some Jewish men, and perhaps Mark Zuckerberg, being a Jewish woman is a turn-off.” Apparently there is a scene in the movie where Zuckerberg and his friends are looking at a group of Asian women dancing and one comments that Jewish guys connect with Asian girls because they are not Jewish.
I don’t deny that there are stereotypes in culture of Jewish women. As Berrin says, young Jewish women are depicted as Jewish American Princesses and adult Jewish women are depicted as the Overbearing Jewish Mother. To her credit, Berrin says that these stereotypes “obviously, are egregiously unfair.”
But Berrin offends when she suggests that it is not “pure fiction” when Sorkin suggests that in Zuckerberg’s eyes “one of the best things about being an Asian woman is that she isn’t a Jewish woman” on the basis of the fact that Zuckerberg is in a serious relationship with Priscilla Chan, a Chinese-American medical student, whom he started dating in college. She also ends her piece by saying that Jewish women aren’t the problem, the problem is that Jewish men like Zuckerberg are hanging out with the wrong ones.
The notion that Mark Zuckerberg is in love with Priscilla Chan because she is not Jewish, and that he wouldn’t be with her if he had hung out with the “right” Jewish women, is, with all respect, ridiculous. And offensive.
Do you know anyone who is in love with a stereotype as opposed to a real person? Do you know anyone who fell in love with a person because he or she was a stereotype – or was not a person who fit some negative stereotype?
There’s no explaining why Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else is in love with who they are in love with. But I’m pretty confident that people don’t fall in love based on whether a person they are attracted to fits one stereotype or doesn’t fit another.
Berrin offends for another reason: She says a profile of Zuckerberg in the New Yorker gave “the Jewish world yet another reason to fret over the its future by suggesting Zuckerberg is on the road to intermarriage.” Can I ask why that is a reason for the Jewish world to fret? This is the same kind of backward thinking that recently led Jewish leaders to declare the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky “not a Jewish event.”
It’s too bad that this movie, judging from Berrin’s comments, is probably going to generate many more comments complaining that Jewish men aren’t interested in Jewish women and are on the road to intermarriage. It would be a lot smarter if the Jewish reaction to Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan would be a great big “mazel tov, welcome to our community.”
This post originally appeared on www.interfaithfamily.com and is reprinted with permission.