Sisterhood Blog

The Ashkenazi-Friendly Beauty Revolution

By Elissa Strauss

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Sarah Silverman sports wavy hair and pale skin at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on August 25, 2014 // Copyright Getty Images

It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice. Things might never be the same.

In the style section of the New York Times, writer Marissa Meltzer looks at the rise of curly hair among fashion elite, women who are “are increasingly spurning blowout salons and the promise of a temporary straight-hair fix in favor of a curly look that is both natural and modern.” She cites singers Lorde and St. Vincent as examples of the new curl-love, as well as magazines and hair stylists who have come around to embracing all that is not straight.

“The look is styled but a little messy, even embracing a certain amount of… yes, frizz.”

Frizz is in style. FRIZZ IS IN STYLE. This would have been the best thing me and my wavy, slightly unruly, hair has heard in a long, long while if it wasn’t for the the Atlantic story that came out earlier this week by Olga Kazan on the dwindling allure of bronzed skin.

She writes about how the tanning industry is in decline, due to a combination of new age restrictions and taxes, as well as an increase in public-health warnings about the dangers of UV exposure. This has all contributed to the rise of pale fleshed trendsetter celebrities like Emma Stone and Taylor Swift. Indeed, Lucky magazine did a whole slideshow dedicated to “36 stunning celebrities who prove that pale is the new tan.”

“Today, many naturally pale celebs are choosing to embrace their snowy skin tones rather than succumb to the bronzed-beyond-belief look that much of America has deemed sexy,” they write in their intro. We’ve come along way from the time Coco Chanel returned from her beach holiday on the French Rivera and declared that “[a] girl simply had to be tanned.”

In 2012, Tablet magazine ran a story on the decline of the nose job among Jews. Looking at statistics showing that the number of rhinoplasty procedures has dramatically dropped in the United States, from 389,000 in 2000 to 244,000 in 2011, writer Rita Rubin deduces that Jews must have something to do with this. The theory is that now that we are more assimilated, we feel less pressure to look so. Basically, we don’t need a button nose to feel like we belong anymore.

Listen, I know that good, strong women don’t feel pressure to look to the outside for approval about the way they look. If only we were all good, strong women.

In the meantime, it is wonderful to see our definitions of beauty continue to broaden and, perhaps more so, to see the beauty gatekeepers, be it fashion editors, stylists or celebrities, taking note. A new story from the Washington Post notes that for the first time ever minorities will be the majority in U.S. public schools.

While I am fairly certain that pale-skinned, frizzy-haired Ashkenazi chicks represent a very small number of the minorities involved in this minority as the majority switch, there is still reason to rejoice in the fact that the reign of Barbie-inspired beauty is clearly nearing its end.


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