Dear Jewish sisters,

Ilanadonna is the editor of

It’s time for some “straight” talk: Enough already with this curl-hating crap. We didn’t wander the desert for 40 years so that you could hide your hot Semitic look beneath all those hair-straightening treatments. I’m calling for an end to all the Japanese/Brazilian/whatever techniques you spend time and money on every week to hide the fact that you have Gorgeous Jew Hair!

True, in our culture women long have subjected themselves to all kinds of pain and imposition to look good for men (and each other). When I was growing up, many Jewish girls got nose jobs. Has hair straightening become today’s nose job? There’s gotta be some underlying self-hating/non-acceptance psychobabble theories Naomi Wolf should address here!

My mother recommended I straighten my hair in high school so I could look like a beautiful goyish girl. But now I embrace my curls; hey, it’s my natural look (plus I have better things to do with my time than spend an hour having someone yank on my hair with a blow dryer). Any pictures or videos of me with straight hair are either one in a hundred or date back to high school.

I apologize to all my Jewish girlfriends who are guilty of straightening their Jewish roots away. You know I love you, curly or straight. (Though, come to think of it, I’ve never actually seen some of you with your natural curly hair! Send me a pic, will ya?)

Now, don’t tell me that if you had non-frizzy curls like me, you would wear your hair natural. If you didn’t use every chemical and drying method invented on your hair weekly, your hair wouldn’t frizz! And even if it does, Moroccan oil works magic.

Really, girls, let loose! Battle our reputation as being high maintenance ladies with your low-maintenance curls. It’s not like all Jewish men are only attracted to girls with straight hair. I’m sure there’s a percentage, just like with all populations, but let those guys go Asian if that’s what they want.

Be who you are! Love those shapely curls. We are not WASPy waifs, nor are we meant to have pin-straight hair like our Japanese sisters. We were chosen for a reason; now embrace your curls and be well. And let’s eat something while we’re at it.

I’m a curly girl, now and forever.

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  • Hey, you know what else? We should stop having to shave our underarms; if G-d intended us to be hairless, he would have brought us into the world that way. Also, I feel very inhibited wearing a brassier.

    Screw it all. Let’s just let ourselves go (all natural)!

  • This article made me rejoice.

    Love my curls and to the ex-boyfriend who told me I should straighten my hair so I look less Jewish… the amazing boobs would still let you know I’m a hot Jewish girl!

  • I don’t think enough women realize that natural hair is always better. Some guys, like myself, LOVE curly hair. Let it go! Btw, that picture looks gorgeous.

  • If my hair would do one of the other I would be happy! Instead the top is straight and the bottom curls! So I either look like half a poodle or like I stuck my head through a bush. With this is mind straighteners are my friend. I would have killed for curls like yours through high school and beyond. I spent hours trying to curl my hair (it would always be wavishly flat within 1 hour anyway even when sprayed to the consistency of a helmet), so now I straighten and it stays somewhat consistent.

  • Okay I am a jewish girl with curly hair and look, I don’t like it!! I am proud that I am jewish but I do straighten my hair! I like the look of my hair being sleek and I hate when people are “anti make up” ect… It makes those people look like they look down on people like me who like to wear make up and do my hair because I like the way I look. (I know the comments I will get from this saying no ones looks down on me for wanting to do my hair.) BUT the girl who I am is a girl who flat irons her hair and loves the way it looks AND PROUD OF HOW WELL I CAN DO MY HAIR 🙂 !

  • I think this is great! I have curls that gave me trouble and grief for so many years. My mom bought me a book called the Curly Gurl with tips and tricks to caring for and loving curly hair. There are hair stylists out there specially trained in cutting and styling curly hair and products just for us. Now my curls are exactly how I’ve always wanted them, it just took a little reading and education of how to handle them. Get educated about your curls and soon they will love you just as much as you love them!

    • While I am sure this is well intentioned and I celebrate your celebrating your curls, I cannot believe the ignorance of this.

      I am Jewish as far back as can be registered on both sides of my family. None of us have curly hair or look “typically” Jewish.

      Judaism is a religion, not a race. Six million Jews were killed in a world that believed otherwise not all that long ago.

      There are Black Jews, White Jews, Chinese Jews and more, Jews of all shapes, sizes, colours and hair types. Human beings are all the same species.

      I find your post offensive and supportive of stereotypes.

      • Hi Frances,
        I can’t speak for the OP but TBH, although I agree with everything you said (well, except for the part about being offended), I didn’t get that from the article at all. I think she was saying that Jews, like everyone else, should celebrate their “look,” and not be ashamed & try to fit in with the mainstream (whatever that is). Just like Black, Latina and Middle Eastern women have beautiful hair but have traditionally been told that it was “bad” hair, we Jewish sisters have also had a lot of negative perceptions to overcome regarding our appearance. (And you could even say that Jewish women ARE Black, since we technically originated from the African continent, but that’s a discussion for another day!) And yes, there are Jewish Latinas, just like there are “Black” Latinas and “White” Latinas, and there are Chinese Jews, and Asian Muslims, etc. etc. THe point is, we should ALL celebrate our rich heritages, and all the perks (like gorgeous curly hair and big tetas) that come with it!
        p.s. My daughter is Chinese but guess what? She inherted my crazy, kinky, unstoppable Jewish hair! 🙂

  • love it! and you are SPOT ON that if you stop fighting your natural texture, it will reward you with less frizz and more shine. big (hair) is beautiful!

  • Great to read this – it really made me laugh – thank you! As a 65-year-old Jewish woman with “Jewish hair,” I have been through the years of straightening my hair before there were any successful straightening methods (not even hair dryers) – so it was ironing, scotch tape, etc. and even eventually a wig, yes, a wig for a year or so. Then I read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and, though doubtless the least important thing learned from it, I was enlightened about the hair straightening issue, decided that’s what my hair straightening was about – denying my identity (and I am only a ‘cultural’ Jew). Plus, of course, it was helped by the feminist movement of that time, which had such a strong impact on so many of us in various ways – one of them becoming aware of the issue of women’s looks being of so much importance and open to scrutiny and comments by men and women.

    I immediately stopped all straightening, and learned to deal with all the comments, from “what did you DO to your hair” to “I wish I had hair like yours!” which really made me laugh – often bitterly, thinking about what I used to go through. And btw, my hair is not beautiful curls, but a crazy mixture of things, including fuzz, frizz, and, as my granddaughter says,”scratchiness!” (I totally get what deb was describing, it can be like having several different heads of hair, not easy.) There are still many women who would probably rather kill themselves than have my hair, but for me it was incredibly liberating – isn’t that what choice is supposed to be? I still get comments about my hair (including from strangers), and though now more often positive than negative, my big problem here is the sexist nature of the whole thing – people don’t feel free to critique men’s hair, and you don’t find too many (any?) Jewish men straightening their hair – this, of course, only one of just about everything else relating to looks about which men don’t need to be concerned.

    Now if only we could see this happen with, among other issues, different body shapes …. watching the changes with hair over the decades made it so clear to me that it is truly possible, by offering women many different images, to change how they feel about themselves. If you had told me in 1963, when I graduated high school, that not only would I come to appreciate my hair, but that others would tell me they envied it, well, it would have been beyond belief or imagination.
    Not that we don’t have a long way to go – my daughter, who is 35 and doesn’t have my hair, is, nevertheless, not happy with her less than straight hair.
    Sad, yes, very sad, because we all have better things to do with ourselves, contributions to make to this world. None of this has anything to do with what any individual woman wants to do – this has only to do with the propaganda fed to women about the importance of their looks, every detail from hair (in every place) to toenails, and every single body part in between.

  • It is obvious to many of us that some of the look many seek is a trend. In the
    80s my big curly dark brown hair was seen as pretty . Now it “needs” to be straightened. I never did anything to it in the 80s. I would never straighten it permanently. My husband is happy with my curly hair. He is also happy with
    me without makeup and with glasses. Ask me if I’d rather help someone or be
    beautiful. Yes, I’d rather be nice than beautiful. Sometimes you just can’t be both.
    And who cares.

  • I can totally identify with the comments of this site. I am predominantly african american, but have jewish blood from both parents. As a child I wore natural hair, but mom started hot combing it as I got older. In my teens I began chemical straightening my hair in order to have a greater variety of hair styles. My curls are much smaller and break very easily, which makes it hard to care for. I currently wear my hair in braids, but wear a straight wig over it. One day I will be brave enough to proudly go natural.

    • Jacqueline, I sympathize and identify – as I said, I wore a wig too. Non-straight
      hair is often problematic, and much as we don’t want to spend time on it, it is
      hard, especially when younger, to ignore all the images.
      But the day will come when you’ll be able and ready to, and will find the most comfortable and easiest way to be with your hair. I sincerely believe this, having loathed my hair for so long before coming to terms with it. And sometimes we need to do this more than once – I recently had to go through it all over again when my hair fell out due to medication.
      But I found it really does get easier, honestly!

  • I read this again and thought of so many Jewish women with awesome curly hair
    There are also some men, Jewish & not Jewish with great curls. This is an amsuing article and it makes a great point. Some of us have to be who we are. It’s just that simple. And embrace different.