Curl Stigma and Being Jewish
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Join Date: Dec 2005
when people say a woman Looks Jewish they mean more or less this: that she has pale or olive skin, dark, curly hair, a larger than average nose, a full mouth, and a curvacious body. Not always ALL of these things, but the curly hair and the nose are big on the list. I am Jewish and I am sometimes mistaken for other ethnicities, such as Italian and occasionally Puerto Rican. (Puerto Rican only after dark -- I'm way too pale to really pull that one off).
It is difficult for many American Jews and non-Jews living now to understand anti-Semitism, because it is not as prevalent as it once was, especially in progressive, metropolitan areas. In fact, it baffles me. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Yet my mother was tortured for looking and being Jewish throughout her childhood, and my father was a holocaust survivor. So these things are real, and being identified as Jewish has proven very dangerous for many people.
That said, I am proud of my heritage and I love having curly hair. I don't really love the halo of frizz, but hopefully I will find products that eradicate that! My mother raised me to love and appreciate my curls. I have gotten them blown out a grand total of twice in my life, both times as a novelty.
So when people compliment me on my hair, I say thank you. When people tell me I look Jewish, I say thank you to that as well.