The battle for self-acceptance: hair and faith edition

Beth Caplin – Hair issues and the difference the right cut can make

Sarahbeth Caplin

229029_1005796311444_4436_n Baby SB, circa 1990

I’ve written before about how my curly hair is an outward marker of my Jewish identity (ethnically speaking). I want to revisit that subject today, because it took me over 25 years to find the right haircut. 25+ years of having stylists consult other stylists in front of me because they had no idea how to cut my hair. 25+ years of being told, “Wow, you have a lot of hair,” as if I never actually noticed before. 25+ years of dealing with backhanded compliments like, “You would look really cute if you straightened it.”

For me, curly hair and being Jewish were always conflated. While I know that Judaism is a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures, the fact is, stereotypes about Jewish appearance exist for a reason. And growing up, my hair and my last name outed me before I had the…

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