I am a Jersey girl. I am not tanned. I do not have fake nails. I do not get into cat fights every other day but I am still a Jersey girl. Over the last few years New Jersey has become famous due to the shows Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious and The Real House Wives of New Jersey. The only thing is that the New Jersey that depicted in those TV shows is not the New Jersey I have grown up in. I have never seen someone who looks like Snooki from Jersey Shore or Mikey from Jerseylicious pass me on the street. None of my friends get fake tans or style their hair in a “Snooki Poof”. No one I know talks with a “Jersey Accent” as thick as the ones the people on those TV shows do. No one I have ever talked to has referred to Jersey as a “place full of highways and roads going nowhere”. So why do the majority of the shows with Jersey in the title depict these exact things?
I was appalled the other day when I turn the TV on to see a special on style called Jerseylicious: Born to be Jerseylicious. What is that even supposed to mean, Born to be Jerseylicious? How can you be born to be Jerseylicious? Half of the people on the “Jersey” shows aren’t even from Jersey, so how can they be born to be Jerseylicious? Show Specials like this one are popping up every day and I have to ask WHY? What is so interesting about New Jersey all of a sudden? It’s not our state bird or state insect is it? No. It’s not our state test scores or our state legislature is it? No. It’s a bunch of young, half-dressed, self-proclaimed guidos with fake tans who drink to oblivion to make “good TV” (or not so good TV).
I would like to set the record straight. Not everyone in New Jersey “GTLs”. Not everyone in New Jersey uses crude language or has anger issues. The population of Italian Americans in New Jersey is about twenty five percent not hundred percent. We do not all take an hour to do our makeup and we do not all go hardcore clubbing on a regular basis. I am not here to insult anyone who that applies to, but I would like to not have to explain to people when I tell them where I live that no it is not like Jersey Shore. I am proud to be a Jersey Girl. I am proud the person I am! But don’t get me, a real Jersey girl, confused with the TV portrayed ones.
By Gabrielle Wickizer