We Jewish girls are so lucky, aren’t we? I remember going to a friend’s birthday party at YMCA when I was about eight years old. We were changing out of our swimsuits, and I looked around at the undeveloped, blonde stick figures in the room and concluded that I was a chubby Jewish girl. Yup, you read correctly. The truth was that my stomach muscles hadn’t quite developed, and like a little pygmy child, I too, had a belly.
Since this glorious day at the Y, I have been all but obsessed with trying to attain a precise kind of beauty, and I am not alone. We are told from day one by our mothers, television shows, and magazines that we need to look a certain way.
I was at a bar the other day, and I was talking with this cute sailor (in uniform). Everything was great until he said, “Are you Jewish? You look Jewish.” What was I supposed to say? Why yes; as a matter of fact, I do have big hair, big boobs and a big nose?
As little girls, we are growing up with constant pressure to look like Swedish models, so what does one expect? I blew out my hair in the sixth grade, and yes, this was before the blessed Chi. It was not my best look. I had a breast reduction when I was eighteen, as I had had it up to here (literally) of both boys and girls talking to my chest instead of my eyes. No nose job yet, but I can rattle off the names of at least 20 girls from my high school who have had one without even blinking.
In the past year, I have done more to change my appearance than I care to admit. Of Russian-Jewish decent, I am the palest person I know. My brother called me Casper for a decade. So what did I do? I bought tanning spray. I paid actual money to expose my skin and lungs to toxic chemicals that are supposed to mimic sun damage. Last month, my roommate had a crazy idea to do a “cleanse”. This meant that we simultaneously drank some nasty, chunky powder mixed with apple juice for a week, and nothing else. I convinced myself that I did this for health reasons. It’s supposed to clean out your colon. Truth? Not eating for a week makes your stomach shrink and you lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning this. It was pure torture, and I can no longer drink apple juice.
Why do we girls do this to ourselves? Why can’t we embrace our ethnicity, whatever it may be? Now is the time to say “enough”. I am beautiful the way God made me, and so are you. Hey—writing this blog has been a cleanse in itself. However, if you think this means that I am going to start wearing my Jewfro out on a daily basis, you are dead wrong. That will simply never happen.