According to Jenni “J-Woww” Farley, the incendiary terms “guido” and “guidette” refer to a lifestyle, a state of mind rather than a derogatory word for those of Italian-American heritage. In fact, this morning on FOX’s The Strategy Room J-Woww revealed that neither she nor Snooki are Italian. J-Woww is of Spanish and Irish decent and it turns out that Snooks is Chilean! Who knew?
However, Snooki was adopted by an Italian-American family, so she’s been exposed to the Italian culture, but J-Woww says that wearing the badge Guidette proudly isn’t really about Italian heritage at all. At least not any more. Here’s what she said:
“That’s a stereotype that people misconstrued with Italians. It’s a lifestyle. Like, the scene that we’re in. It’s not like Italian.”
Now we can laugh and be horrified/transfixed by the Jersery Shore kids, but they do have a point here. The meaning of words change over time, and they are now very famous representations of a different idea of the word “guido.” It maynot be a lifestyle or a dress code that a lot of people would choose, but it’s a universal thing for kids in their teens and twenties to identify with a particular scene that includes flashy and sexy clothes and certain types of hairstyles and music. What the Jersey Shore kids represent is a particular scene that’s a very real part of American culture right now, and while they’re not the most mature people in the world are they any less mature than kids who identify with punk culture, hip-hop, goth, rockabilly, who dress up as amplified versions of themselves, party, hook-up, and search for themselves?
So even though J-Woww, Snooki and her crew are making the case for the term “guido” to not be defined as a racial term, UNICO (The National Italian-American Service Organization) is looking for ways to sue MTV over the show because they believe it reinforces negative racial stereotypes. They’ve been outraged at the show since MTV started airing commercials, causing MTV to pull the word “guido” from the commercial. The castmembers, however, used the word constantly during the show to proudly describe themselves.
Here’s UNICO’s grievance with the show, which they believe merits legal action:
“The use of words like ‘Guidos’ and ‘Guidettes’ is racial stereotyping in the worst possible sense and they are portraying young Italian Americans in the worst possible light.They would not try and get away with the same tactics if it was show full of young African American or Jewish kids so why is it acceptable to portray Italian Americans in this way?”
What do you think, is Jersey Shore damaging to Italian-Americans?