Representation in Hollywood is being examined deeply these past years. When people talk about it, it usually comes down to race, but the truth is, Hollywood has had a problem with all sorts of representation across roles and media. From directing, writing, and even acting.
Recently, on her podcast, comedian Sarah Silverman brought up the idea that Hollywood has a problem casting Jewish women in roles written for them.
This first came to light when Kathryn Hahn was cast as Joan Rivers in an upcoming biopic. Silverman expanded on the casting news, saying, “There’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews, and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish but people whose Jewishness is their whole being. One could argue, for instance, that a Gentile [a non-Jew] playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called ‘Jewface.’”
Silverman continued to define this issue, saying, “It’s defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and center, often with makeup or changing of features, big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection. And in a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does ours constantly get breached even today in the thick of it?”
She says, “Right now, representation fucking matters. It has to also finally matter for Jews as well. Especially Jewish women.”
Recent examples of this kind of casting include Felicity Jones playing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rachel Brosnahan playing Miriam Maisel, and Margo Martindale playing Bella Abzug. Silverman made sure to mention that she doesn't think these women are doing anything wrong by accepting these roles, but wants to see Hollywood open the doors for more Jewish people to have them themselves.
You can listen to the full podcast above.