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Jenni "Jwoww" Farley
(by: Young Jae Yi)
"I am like a praying mantis, after I have sex with a guy I will rip their heads off." (Jenni Farley, Jersey Shore Episode #101)
Jennifer Lynn Farley, commonly known as “Jwoww”, is one of the cast mates of MTV’s reality TV series, the
first aired in 2009 and now has become one of the most famous shows in America with 8.4 million viewers watching the premiere of Season 3 (Collins, 2011). In a deleted scene from Season 2, Jenni explains the origin of her nickname to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. She said she gave herself the nickname “Jwoww” because the MC at a club, who later became a good friend, would say “wow” every time she passed by. Later on, the MC introduced her to the club as “Jenni Wow” then Jenni shortened it to “Jwoww” (Kreisberg, 2009-present). Even though she is famous for being on a show about Italian-Americans, Jenni is of Spanish and Irish descent. She moved to New York City when she was 21 and bought herself a breast augmentation as a 21st birthday present to herself (Harper, 2010). She was born on February 27. 1986. Jenni studied computer programming science for three years and then discovered her passion for graphic design. She graduated from a local university with a degree in graphic design. Following her graduation, she started Jenni Farley Designs, Inc. (a graphic design business). She is also the Vice President of Marking for IgnitionNation.com which is a social networking website. Before going on the Jersey Shore, she worked as a graphic designer and club promoter. Jenni also released a book in 2010 called “The Rules According to JWOWW: Shore-Tested Secrets On Landing A Mint Guy, Staying Fresh To Death, and Kicking the Competition to the Curb”. She also started her own clothing line called “Filthy Couture” but it was shut down due to a trademark law suit (Harper, 2010). During Season 1 and 2, Jwoww was in a relationship with Tom Lippolis but the couple separated in Season 3 when Jenni was photographed kissing a 35 year old man she met in Season 1 named Roger Matthews. At the end of Season 3, Jenni and Roger were in a relationship. ("All things jersey,"). On the show, Jenni is the tough girl who never settles or backs down from a fight. She is filmed in multiple physical altercations including one with fellow cast mate Sammi Giancola and Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino. Jwoww is very aggressive and confident, but also takes care of her friends and will always defend them.
Sigmund Freud emphasized the unconscious processes of the mind. He studied three aspects of the mind: the id, ego and superego. The id is the pleasure principle, and the superego is the moral principle and the ego is the reality principle that balances the two unconscious parts of the mind. “Individuals never outgrow the id, but most adults keep it under control. “In some people though,” such as Jwoww, “pleasure-seeking dominates inappropriately or too often; gratification becomes a core aspect of their adult personality” (Friedman, 2009, p. 67). In Season 1, Jenni cheats on her at the time boyfriend, Tom, with a cast mate; Pauly D. Jenni also gets into violent fights with multiple people on the show and does not hold herself back. Her superego should be telling her not to get in fights in public clubs, but she does anyways and ends up getting kicked out of clubs and bars. Jwoww also disregards her relationship with Tom at the time of her hook-up with Pauly D and does what she desires at the time. She wants instant gratification and goes for whatever she wants at that current state.
The psychoanalytical perspective also incorporates psychosexual developmental stages: the oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital stage. These stages development the psyche and each stage has a central theme, conflict and fixation. Jwoww shows a fixation on the oral stage. The theme is for infants to satisfy hunger and thirst and the conflict is to give up breast feeding. The fixation in this stage results in attachment and dependency issues as well as a need for oral acquisition such as smoking or substance abuse. Jwoww has reportedly quit smoking last year, but uses SmokeSticks which still produces smoke without the harmful materials of actual cigarettes (Perez, 2010). Freud would say Jwoww was not able to overcome the oral stage because of her reliance on cigarettes. Another result of conflict in the oral stage is issues regarding dependency and attachment. Despite Jenni’s tough and independent persona, the female reality star has moments where she puts her walls down. After her break-up with Tom, Jenni shared details about their unhealthy relationship. She said “
"The day that I left for Jersey, he threw my luggage down the stairs, because he saw clothes in there that weren't acceptable. And I went with the luggage,"
). Jenni allows herself to be vulnerable when she’s with people that she trusts, such as Tom, because she allowed herself to succumb to the wrongful ways Tom treated her. Jenni is also the only cast member of Jersey Shore to have always been in a relationship on the show. In Season 1 and 2, she was with Tom but then in Season 3 as soon as she broke up with Tom, she turned to Roger. From the psychoanalytical perspective, Jenni has a need for someone to depend on and has difficulty being alone. Jenni builds up walls to appear independent and in control, but she actually is afraid of being alone and leans heavily on her significant other. Her vulnerability is shown in Season 3, episode 4 where she returns home to find her things stolen and her dogs left alone after her and Tom broke up. She breaks down and says “I don’t deserve this”
. She hopes that her looks and sex appeal will keep her secure but she still longs for companionship and has moments where she isn’t as confident and put together as she would like everyone to think. Freud thought
“the mother’s responsiveness is one of the best predictor’s of infant’s patterns of attachment and later social adjustment” (Friedman, 2009, p. 70). If the mother was nurturing and taught the child right from wrong, the child would have a sense of security and not be fixated on the oral stage. In the end of Season 3, Jwoww’s father came on the show for a barbecue for family and friends, but Jwoww’s mother was not present. There is not a lot of information released to the public regarding Jwoww’s mother which might indicate that Jenni’s mother is not a prominent person in her life in which case Freud would say explains her fixation on the oral stage, but that is just a speculation and not confirmed information.
Jwoww is fixated on the phallic stage according to the Freudian perspective. In this stage, the child gets pleasure through the genitals. The Oedipus complex refers to males and the Electra complex refers to females. Freud thought girls suffered from penis envy and direct their anger of lack of a penis to their mothers and transfer love to their father. Since the girl is unable to marry the father, she replaces the desire for her father with a desire for a baby to self-fulfill themselves (Huntington, 2011). Jenni has been reported saying a” “Hopefully I’ll be able to settle down and have kids within the next couple of years — maybe even the beginning of next year” (Dionne, 2011). The psychoanalytical perspective says that Jenni’s desire for a baby is so she can complete herself and be self-fulfilled because of her lack of a penis. The results of conflict in the phallic stage are vanity, narcissism and inability to love. While Jwoww does not lack the ability to love, she does have vain and narcissistic aspects to her personality. She got a breast augmentation as a 21st birthday present to herself (Harper, 2010) and is obsessed with her physical appearance. In Season 1, episode 1, Jenni says ““I have so many girls who hate on me because whatever they are, they can’t compare to me” (Kreisberg, 2009-present)
. Jwoww is very proud of her image and even got her nickname from her appearance, but despite her confidence in her physical body, Freud would say she is dependent on the love interest in her life. Freud also said the conflict at the phallic stage was socially unacceptable sexual behavior such as homosexuality and masturbation. Jwoww said,” I’m drinking my horny goat weed. I’m gonna masturbate and I’m going to bed” (Kreisberg, 2009-present). According to Freud, masturbation is an example of deviant sexual behavior and shows Jwoww’s fixation on the phallic stage.
Another one of Freud’s contributions to psychology was his description of defense mechanisms. Defense mechanisms are used to change reality in order to protect the individual from anxiety and to prevent threatening unconscious material from reaching the unconscious (Huntington, 2011). One type of defense mechanism is projection. Jwoww projects her own fears onto Roger. In Season 1, she cheated on Tom and then in Season 3 blames Roger for cheating when she had no concrete evidence of infidelity. Jwoww projected her fear of cheating onto Roger and gets angry with him because she thought he was driving with another woman in the car. Even if Roger had another woman in the car, Jenni jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst when it would have been just a friend of Roger’s. She was not even certain if he did have a woman in the car or not, but attributed her fears and past mistakes onto Roger.
TRAIT AND SKILL PERSPECTIVE
The Big Five Model was created in the 1960s. It is a model consisting of five dimensions used to describe an individual’s personality. It was created through factor analysis so therefore it emerged from data and not simply a theory. This model does not mean that personality is limited to these five dimensions, but they are broad categories with more specific traits within them. Research has shown that the Big 5 is fairly accurate in describing personality and that these traits are indeed real (Huntington, 2011). These five dimensions are: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.
Extroversion is used to describe people who are “energetic, enthusiastic, dominant, sociable and talkative”; on the other hand, “introverted people tend to be shy, retiring, submissive and quiet” (Friedman, 2009, p. 267). Jwoww isn’t shy or quiet, but she is not as outgoing and sociable as Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi who upon entering the Jersey Shore house for the first time said “Party’s here!” (Season 1, episode 1). Jenni is more reserved but still social and energetic. She is moderately extroverted. Extroverts usually enjoy party scenes, and large social gatherings in which case Jenni is extroverted because she loves clubs and worked as a club promoter. Jwoww enjoys the company of others but does not completely rely on surrounding herself with others to keep occupied like Snooki.
The second dimension of the Big Five Model is agreeableness. An individual who is high on agreeableness is friendly, trusting, warm and modest (Huntington, 2011). Jwoww is low on agreeableness because she is not very trusting towards others, especially men, nor is she warm or modest. Jenni appears very standoffish at first and portrays herself as being tough and independent. In Season 1, she says “If you don’t know me, then you hate me and you wish you were me” (Kreisberg, 2009-present). Jenni is conceited and thinks highly of herself. She also gets into many arguments with people and her housemates.
Conscientiousness is the lack of impulsivity. Conscientious people are organized, cautious, careful and responsible (Friedman, 2009, p. 267). Jenni fits the model of a conscientious person because she had high aspirations before the Jersey Shore and is responsible in her line of work. She was never late for work on the show and did her role in keeping the house. Jenni is more conscientious than she is impulsive.
Individuals who are neurotic are more nervous, anxious, hostile and tense. Jenni is high on neuroticism in some aspects because she is a very hostile person when the situation calls for it. She is hot-tempered and quick to be defensive. When she is slightly wronged, she is quick to judge the other person and cannot control her emotions. In Season 1, episode 8, Jwoww gets kicked out of a club and blames it on Mike “the Situation”. She resorts to punching Mike in the face and saying he was the reason she got kicked out the club ("J-woww punches mike," 2010). Jenni is high on neuroticism because she is tense and can’t control her emotions thus using physical strength to make her point.
The last dimension of the Big Five Model is Openness. Openness refers to the willingness to engage in imaginative, artistic experiences. Jenni is high on openness because she embraces her creative side by working as a graphic designer. Her outfits are original and she is by no means simple or plain. Jenni is open to culture, especially embracing the “Guido” lifestyle.
Another aspect of the trait and skill perspective is Henry Murray’s Needs. I believe Jwoww demonstrates three of Murray’s needs: the Need for Achievement (n Ach) and the Need for Exhibition (n Exh). The Need for Achievement is described as “driven to succeed on tasks that society sets out for them” (Friedman, 2009, p. 281). Jwoww’s goals and desires revolve around what society says is beautiful. She is concerned about her physical image which is shown in her love for tanning, even though it is hazardous to her health, and her breast augmentation. Her identity of being a sex symbol of the Jersey Shore has is correlated with her successes. Jenni wants success in finding a mate and attracting those of the opposite gender. Even her career of being a club promoter shows her n Ach. Jwoww’s choice in apparel may seem risque, but it is what the Guido culture views as sexy.
Jenni also shows a Need for Exhibition. The Need for Exhibition is “the need to show one’s self before others and to entertain, amuse, shock and excite others” (Friedman, 2009, p. 283). Jenni by all means has a motivation to show off in front of others. She likes to show off her sex appeal by wearing scantily clad clothing. She likes to shock others with her sex appeal and wants attention from others, especially men. The n Exh can apply to comedians and models and Jwoww originally turned down a Playboy offer, but now is reconsidering. In an interview on Lopez Tonight, Jwoww said she would pose for Playboy in the future (Deeken, 2011).
Jenni “Jwoww” Farley is a very interesting character on the show The Jersey Shore. There is more to her than he confidence and sex appeal. The Freudian psychoanalytic view describes her overactive id and desire for instant gratification. Despite her independent persona on the show, Jwoww has a softer side to her which makes her vulnerable at times. She has more aspects to her personality than just a sex icon on the show. Her unconscious shows through in her defense mechanisms and the quick conclusions she draws from other people’s actions. The Freudian psychoanalytic view can be used to describe her unconscious desires and conflicts at certain stages of her psychosexual development.
The Big 5 Model can be used to categorize Jwoww’s personality. Her personality is fairly stable across time and the Big 5 dimensions are a good way to describe her overall description. Murray’s Needs depict Jenni’s desires in life and what is important to her. Her motives are described by Murray’s Needs. She is clearly an individual who wants to be accepted by society and wants to be viewed a certain way. She is materialistic and at times, superficial, but has a deeper side to her. The media has a great influence on her and tells her how to act and dress. The psychoanalytic perspective and trait and skill perspective give depth to Jenni Farley and shows her personality in a different light than how she is portrayed on the Jersey Shore.
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Dionne, Z. (2011, April 7). Jwoww wants to have kids as soon as next year [Web log message]. Retrieved from
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Harper, J. (2010, July 29). Jenni “Jwoww” Farley [Web log message]. Retrieved from
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The Jersey Shore
Perez, H. (2010, February 4). Jwoww quits smoking!! [Web log message]. Retrieved from
Perez, H. (2011, January 22). Jwoww admits her ex was abusive [Web log message]. Retrieved from
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