Curl Stigma and Being Jewish

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I'm of Jewish descent (among many other things!), I have dark curly hair and I am often times asked about my ethnic background. My dad's family came out of Germany in the 1860s, and they converted to Christianity once they arrived in America. Through the years, a lot of "watering down" occured in his family-- the typical Caucasion "Well, I'm Irish and Italian and French with a little bit of Scottish." Curly hair was always dominant though, and occasionally a very Jewish looking person would pop up in the family. I guess things got mixed up even more when my parents married. My mother's family is Hispanic, a mixture of Spanish and American Indian (they all have stick straight, black hair.) In a nutshell, I look like a very tanned Jew with an Indian nose. lol
I LOL'd a little while reading this thread... my family is offended when I straighten. Everyone has curly hair in my gene pool, so if I straighten they feel like I'm rejecting the family!
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I am now completely out of the closet as the craziest of crazy cat ladies. I own it. I embrace it. I am one with the crazy.
I have Jewish hair. Sometimes I get hassled about it. Not too much.
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I defenitely inherited my father's jew-fro.
I defenitely inherited my father's jew-fro.
Originally Posted by FrizzyJen
Oh, man, the jew-fro. I rocked it from about ages 7 to 10.

As much as I loathed it on myself, that's how much I love it on boys to this very day.
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My hair: layered shoulder-length 3b
A friend of mine makes fun of me when i wear my hair up. She says I look like a hasidic jewish woman. You know with the curlies in front of the ears? I am not jewish by the way.
Hair Type: 3a/b/c
A friend of mine makes fun of me when i wear my hair up. She says I look like a hasidic jewish woman. You know with the curlies in front of the ears? I am not jewish by the way.
Originally Posted by FloatyTheFish
your so called friend is clueless. actually it is the hasidic MEN that wear the curlies in front of the ears, the women wear wigs or kerchiefs covering ALL their hair. the sidecurls are called "payess" and have religious significance.
Susan suburban NY
3b going gray, not thick, waist length when wet, a bit below shoulders when dry
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1. Banjocurl's right about the forelocks. Those are curled with curling irons, BTW, in order to make them shorter (since observant Jews don't cut them). It doesn't have to do with natural hair texture.

2. I'm Jewish with olive skin and dark, curly hair, but the two are not related. A portion of my dad's side of the family is Iberian/Turkish/Morrocan, and that seems to be what I've inherited. Accordingly, most people guess that I'm Latina/Catholic, or Arab or Persian/Muslim. My brother has extremely pale skin, straight sandy hair, blue eyes, and freckles. People never believe that we're related.

The problem with saying that people "look Jewish" is that it promotes stereotypes of ugliness/deformity, and of clannishness--that there are no ethnically Asian Jews, for example. Plus, there are a lot of different acenstrally Jewish ethnicities. It certainly doesn't mean that you're anti-Semitic, but it's like complimenting a Black woman for "being so articulate." At the same time, I'm not gonna contradict anyone for saying that Jerry Seinfeld looks Jewish.

3. It has never occurred to me to "pass." Being Jewish and being a quivering ball of angst are not genetically related, either
Thanks for the info Eilonwy and banjocurl. I will relay the information back to my friend.
Hair Type: 3a/b/c
3. It has never occurred to me to "pass." Being Jewish and being a quivering ball of angst are not genetically related, either
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
maybe not, but there sure is a large correlation--just ask Woody Allen
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Susan suburban NY
3b going gray, not thick, waist length when wet, a bit below shoulders when dry
CG since 11/11/04
http://public.fotki.com/banjolady/
PW: banjo
HG: suave and honey for co-wash, deva, i use garnier fructis regular CO's or boots pink or white as leave ins and LA looks sport gel. plop w microfiber turban, then curl towel scrunch, then another turban.i sleep with the turban on. little one minute hair styling videos http://www.youtube.com/user/lazycurls
I have a Jewish friend who has the most beautiful thick, dark brown, curly hair. Unfortunately, she spends a ridiculous amount of time straightening it every day. I always bug her about this, but she remains in denial. Just thought I'd share...
"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us."
-Marianne Williamson
Please don't mind my butting in (nose insertion here)

...If you mean ethnic as in ethnic jewish (i.e. middle eastern) my future sis-in law is an ethnic jewish woman and she says that she likes wearing her hair natural because people can more easily identify her as middleeastern (whether or not they assume she is hebrew/jewish or muslim I'm not sure), but she likes it, she feels very in touch with her ehtnicity...

but I do think that non-white caucasians (as classified courtesy of the U.S. census , etc) like European Spanirds or italians or other groups such as midle easternerners may feel pressure like any other group depending upon where they live, like the U.S. or parts of Europe (like Germany), or even South America where they have the highest black populations second only to Africa, itself, but less so in other places where ethnic people flock like Canada or Africa or the Middle-East where your 'ethnicity' is looked upon as 'special' or a source of family pride and not a career hindrance...

When I found out how people are classified by our government I was really creeped out... caucasian white-ethnic groups are polish, irish and the like, non-white caucasian ethnic groups are Italian, middle-eastern (formerly classified as 'other' or some other cooky hybrid classification for mixed populaces, European-Spanish (and they emphasise Euro ), etc.. before you get into the standard Asian or Pacific Islander, African, Hispanic (not white ), and so on..

We are the product of a pretty color struck wesrten-society and that will naturally rub of to some extent on all ethnicities living in the states or certain parts of Europe, although that we are progressing to the point where it is being seen less and less, like for example everyone seems to have a uniformly positive living experience (periodic war, health crisis or famine not included) in France, Canada, N. Africa, East Africa, the African islands of Madagascar, etc...

So, we're definitely getting there, but as for those progressive 'ehtnic' peoples of Asian, African and Middle-Eastern lineage with 'throw-back' parents, born before say 1960, it's important to realize that they are literally coming from an era where just 25 years ago in the U.S. that if someone found out you were mixed or Asian or middle-eastern or African, your life might literally be in danger, so when they say wear your hair straight or relaxed or texturized, they are operating out of past fears (they may not ralize it) but that's all it is and as the next generations, it's our responsibility to let them see that the world has become a better place, and people and societies are learning to celebrate their uniqueness!
I think it is about "passing" so to speak. No one wants to look "ethnic." (except me apparently )

:
Originally Posted by Dancingbadger
I also like looking "ethnic" I am very proud of that fact that I am biracial...and that..curly hair or not..I don't look like everbody else. So many cookie cutter images of beauty are boring. Ok so those girls are pretty but nothing about thier look would make me remember them or differentiate them from the next one. I'm brown, with lots of curly hair..and a big nose!lol And I wouldn't change any of it.
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I'm Jewish but not a single person in my family other than me has curly hair. Everyone elses is stick straight- my mom, my brother, my dad (whose not Jewish, but you can't have everything), my grandparents, my cousins.. its nuts. So I went most of my life brushing my hair to try to get it to be straight like all of theirs thinking I just wasn't brushing enough. Come to find out that hey! I'm a curly!

But I totally embrace my utter Jewishness. I look as Jewish as can be... and growing up in the deep South made that an interesting experience. I'm going to a Jewish college though and I've never met so many people with curly hair! It's great.
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).
Originally Posted by eternalsunshine
I'm reading this with great interest, I'm not Jewish but people regularly assume that I am. I even had a boss give me a Rosh Hashanah card--I emailed her thanking her for her kind thoughts but explaining that it isn't actually my holiday!

So, I'll second what eternalsunshine said, there *is* a meaning to "looking Jewish" even if it isn't realistically tied to *being* Jewish. In my case, I'm part Lebanese. I look Semitic in the larger sense, but in an area where there are a lot of Jewish people and not many Lebanese, Semitic means Jewish to most people.

Funny part to me is that I've had a number of blond, blue eyed Jewish friends, including a college roommate with the most beautiful silky, naturally straight hair--again, looking Jewish isn't necessairly related to being Jewish, but to many people, there is a set of physical characteristics they tie to it.
shoulder length, dark brown and 2b-ish
I'm Jewish and I never heard of that! But there are a lot of Jewish women I know that do the permanent (aka Japanese) straightening thing....I was guilty of that once upon a time as well.

But hmm...that's silly...
There's just an obsession with straight hair in the USA everywhere you look. My former boyfriend wanted me to straighten and blonde my hair for his father who hated Jewish women. I love having curly hair, I love red hair, my color may change due to age but I won't straighten because my identity is not wasp. I'm happy sitting next to Latin women and knowing we have something in common, natural assets, big butts and curly hair!

Funny story: In Boston I saw two women walking down the street both with stick straight bleached blonde hair, grey pants, white shirts and black sunglasses. They looked like they were together or twins and then they walked separate ways.

Typical of how everyone wants to look the same.
At my hairdressers every single model in Allure this month was blonde, stick straight, or black with blonde highlights. Zero Latin or Hispanic models.

Same with every other magazine! I looked for Eva from Desperate Houswives, or JLO or SOMEONE! with curls, red hair, or a big butt!

Every woman in Boston seems to want to be the same, stick straight hair, blonde, skinny.

I can't stand it sometimes.

But they are following the magazines.

Having naturally curly RED hair myself I practically stand alone on the streets unless I meet a girl from Latin America with red highlights or someone with a bad color job.

I refuse to straighten my hair, maybe my hair color has to change due to age but curly is beautiful and some people are racist.
Red hair is not recessive like they say, everyone in my family has some red, strawberry, copper penney, red gold, russet or reddish-brown. Red hair and gray eyes are a beautiful combination. Thank goodness for diversity.

Nat
A Jewish woman with red hair told me that red naturally occurs in several ethic groups...Celtic (Irish/Scots), Jewish, Spanish -- which I didn't know -- and also Lithuanian. She said it was rare among other groups, though of course, all the ethnicities have mixed a lot so that's not as true as it was.

She was skinny, though, and her hair was very short so I don't know if it was curly or not.

If you move to the New York City area, you will merge right in!
Funny story: In Boston I saw two women walking down the street both with stick straight bleached blonde hair, grey pants, white shirts and black sunglasses. They looked like they were together or twins and then they walked separate ways.[......]
Every woman in Boston seems to want to be the same, stick straight hair, blonde, skinny.Nat
Originally Posted by ne3bwoman
Don't mean to guano this thread, but I'm ITA. Check out the "party" photos in Improper Bostonian; 98% "blonde". I think it might be the strong Irish/Wasp hold on Boston. Doesn't matter what Boston suburb/neighborhood, except... maybe... for non-white ones. At work, all the field-sales women from around the country were in for a meeting, and to a woman, they were blond with highlights, low-lights, 2-toned. Whatver you could do with peroxide was represented in that room

Also, I have seen black men and women with natural red hair. Went to school with 2 of them. I'm African-Jamaican-American.
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[quote="who knew]I'm reading this with great interest, I'm not Jewish but people regularly assume that I am. I even had a boss give me a Rosh Hashanah card--I emailed her thanking her for her kind thoughts but explaining that it isn't actually my holiday! [quote]

ROFLOL
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Playing with my hair is a hobby. Fluffy, fine natural 4a. Goal= Healthy, beautiful hair that retains its length.
Hear that crash? It's me falling off the CG wagon.

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