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Old 10-08-2005, 08:53 PM   #1
 
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Default Curl Stigma and Being Jewish

I hope I don't offend anyone out there who is Jewish (I am Jewish by the way) but my relatives get very upset when I wear my hair natural and curly. It is as if I look more Jewish that way---dark eyes abd curly dark hair. Does this response come from the need to blend into the mainstream---maybe even for safety reasons going back centuries? Has anyone else experienced this???
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Old 10-10-2005, 03:25 PM   #2
 
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I personally think its less because it makes you look 'more Jewish' (I am myself and I don't think I look more Jewish with curly rather than straight) and more just not liking curly hair. There've been a bunch of threads over time where people just don't like curly hair. Maybe it's because it isn't 'expected' and they don't like that, or because it's more 'wild', whatever, I think it has more to do with that than religon/culture/whatever.
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Old 10-10-2005, 03:30 PM   #3
 
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*I'm not Jewish*

I did notice that there were several Jewish women interviewed in Massey's CG book...they all seemed to mention their Jewish identity in relation to their curly hair...and (if I recall) none seemed to really love being curly-haired.

Maybe it's the 'too ethnic' thing many ethnic Whites feel.
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Old 10-11-2005, 03:37 PM   #4
 
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My Mom is Jewish and my Dad Catholic
However, my mom's hair is STICK strraight and black naturally. I get my curls (dark brown) from my Catholic, red-headed father. So, even though I have noticed a lot of jewish women with curly hair, I've seen just as many with straight. I agree with Mulitcolorcurls. I think straight hair is just more accepted. Oh well.
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Old 10-18-2005, 09:26 AM   #5
 
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I think it is about "passing" so to speak. No one wants to look "ethnic." (except me apparently )

I grew up in Albany, NY. A city that was mostly Italian, Irish, Afro-Am and Jewish. When I was growing up I pretty much looked like everyone else and most people who didn't know me assumed I was a little Catholic Italian girl. (like everyone else)

When I went to college in Wisconsin, the ethnic makeup was very different, suddenly I was shorter, darker and people who didn't know me often guessed that I was Jewish. (except two times when I was asked if I was Puerto Rican and Persian by a Puerto Rican and a Persian respectively.) I thought this was interesting, in Albany I blended in no problem, but in Wisconsin I stuck out. Many of the other Jewish women I met (who were out of state students from NYC burbs and Chicago) dyed and straightened their hair to the point of damage.

I think that Jews have definite issues about "looking Jewish." Don't get me started on the term....

BTW check out the thread on the General Board about the Genetics of Hair Texture. There was an offshoot about Jews on there. (my fault)
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Old 10-20-2005, 10:47 AM   #6
 
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I'm not Jewish. But I live in an area where there lots of Jewish people, and I have Jewish friends. Most of them have curly hair of some degree, and nearly all straighten their hair. That's not so different from curlies of other origins, who also mostly straighten. Maybe it's as much to be in fashion as to not look Jewish, I don't know.

I'm not in an Orthodox area, but the Orthodox women wear wigs, right? So I guess they can have any kind of hair they want.
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Old 10-22-2005, 04:34 AM   #7
 
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I am Jewish (although not super religious) and never thought of straigtening my hair because of it. I don't even relate it to my hair at all. If I want it straight I make it straight. If I want to wear it curly I wear it curly. It totally has nothing to do with being Jewish as far as I am concerned. Although, I am sure for some people it does...
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Old 10-22-2005, 06:53 AM   #8
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I have Jewish ancestry and have been told I look Jewish. While I hated my hair when I was younger, I've now learnt how to style it and I love it.
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Old 10-22-2005, 02:16 PM   #9
 
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Can anyone explain to me how someone can 'look Jewish'? 'Jewish' is the name of different ethnic groups scattered all over the world with a distinct 'religion'. I didnt know there was a 'standard' in being Jewish....or are we talking about the Jewish people in the US?
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:57 AM   #10
 
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I personally think that we get too hung up on race and ethnicity. I think it's sad that so many of us change the way we look to make those around us comfortable. I think the only reason to change your looks is to please yourself. I consider myself to be a Hispanic woman. However, I would say that my ancestry is European in general since I am a mix of Irish, French, and Spanish, as well as Mexican and Native American. All the time people ask if I am Jewish or Greek. But the bottom line is that I know who I am, and I LOVE myself in spite of what others think about my appearance. I love that I look so ethnic and I wouldn't change it for anyone.[/i]
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Old 12-05-2005, 06:16 PM   #11
 
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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.
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Old 12-05-2005, 06:17 PM   #12
 
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sorry, double post!
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Old 12-23-2005, 12:30 PM   #13
 
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i get my curls from my dad's side of the family - all Jewish. I celebrate them as part of my heritage. Personally I think I look more Jewish when I wear it curly, although I haven't straightened for a long time. I am very proud of my Jewish identity and I do associate my curls with that, so I love my curls
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Old 12-23-2005, 12:33 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eternalsunshine
When people tell me I look Jewish, I say thank you to that as well.
I agree....I take that as a compliment also
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Old 12-24-2005, 03:07 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mermaidhair02
Quote:
Originally Posted by eternalsunshine
When people tell me I look Jewish, I say thank you to that as well.
I agree....I take that as a compliment also
right on sisters!! people used to say i looked swedish when i bleached and ironed my hair. no more. my semitic ancestry is showing thru now!!! i was the only curly in my group of high school friends. also one of 2 jewish girls-the other was a straightie tho. we grew up in waspland usa. jews could not move into certain areas. it was BAD.
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Old 02-05-2006, 04:56 PM   #16
 
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Default jewish curls

[I teach in a high school with a high proportion of jewish people. I'd say 8 out of 10 of the jewish girls have their hair "japanese straightened"...I want to shake them and tell them how beautiful their curls are--one day, they'll get the idea, i hope....


quote="spiderlashes5000"]*I'm not Jewish*

I did notice that there were several Jewish women interviewed in Massey's CG book...they all seemed to mention their Jewish identity in relation to their curly hair...and (if I recall) none seemed to really love being curly-haired.

Maybe it's the 'too ethnic' thing many ethnic Whites feel.[/quote]
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Old 02-08-2006, 06:43 AM   #17
 
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I have very curly/frizzy dark blonde hair. I'm not Jewish, and one of the first ways I learned about anti-Semitism and about how conflicted some Jewish women feel about curly hair was when I was 13 and living briefly on the East Coast. In the first week of classes at my new school I was teased relentlessly about having "frizzy Jew-hair". I was hurt but also baffled, I'd never heard of such a thing. It got even more complicated when students who were Jewish assumed that I was Jewish because my hair was so curly. I thought they would like my hair, but instead they were some of the nastiest teasers, nagging me to "do something" about my hair.

It was bad enough to be a curly growing up, I can't imagine how much worse it is when your hair makes you a target for racism and religious bigotry.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:00 AM   #18
 
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I feel very lucky then- a lot of the Jewish girls at my school wore their curls with pride and love. So, my hair wasn't all that unusual. I got most of the flack from my mom's friends and people here on the east coast when I moved here.

It's so sad. It's HAIR. It was put there without anyone's opinion in the matter and how it grows out of your head should be a moot point.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:20 AM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betweenshades
I feel very lucky then- a lot of the Jewish girls at my school wore their curls with pride and love. So, my hair wasn't all that unusual. I got most of the flack from my mom's friends and people here on the east coast when I moved here.

It's so sad. It's HAIR. It was put there without anyone's opinion in the matter and how it grows out of your head should be a moot point.
might be generational. when i was growing up, NOBODY wore their hair curly unless they just could not do anything about it. now i see curls all over the place--it is very nice to see.
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Old 02-08-2006, 08:32 PM   #20
 
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Default it also has to do with the way the world has treated

the Jews over the centuries. I am and I grew up with survivors of the holocaust and although I married a catholic man and raising my son christian due to the fact that he has half brothers , the stories I heard as a child and young adult are terrifying that people hate you just because of your heritage! It still happens in this world and its wrong. People often resist their heritage coming to this country to fit in and succeed and not to face prejudice. My maiden name was not "jewish" sounding so i've heard many comments not intended for Jews to hear. There is a lot of prejudice. I imagine part of the reason Lorraine had some Jewish women in her book is because her salon is in nyc where there is a large jewish population. I didn't straighten mine for that reason. I was the only woman in 2 generations of my family that wanted it long. My aunt whose hair is probably curlier always wore it short so I just didn't know what to do but this place I have learned so much, I prefer curly now. I feel special. I think curly is often perceived as less neat but you can pull it back, or if styled well, good cut it doesn't have to look out of control depending on your type. Here is to a more open minded world.
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