Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
Volume 25, Number 4, Summer 2007
pp. 18-42 | 10.1353/sho.2007.0121
This paper explores the growing acceptability of the "Jewish" nose amongst women in Hollywood and in television as an indicator of Jewish acceptability. At a time when cosmetic surgery to alter appearances of media stars as well as ordinary people has become a growth industry, rhinoplasty ("nose jobs"), so popular amongst Jewish women in the 1950s and 1960s, has declined amongst Jewish women. It is not just that such Jewish superstars as Barbra Streisand have refused the standardization of a nose job. It is also that identifiably Jewish stars have made their names playing non-Jewish roles, as is the case with Sarah Jessica Parker, the apparently ethnically standardized star of Sex and the City. This paper theorizes that the change from unacceptability to acceptability is based on an increasingly successful challenge to the American myth of melting pot sameness by the politics of ethnic difference, based on a realization by the dominant culture of the reality of ethnic hybridity and erasure.