Jewish Journal


August 9, 2010

Jennifer Aniston plays Barbra Streisand—but without the Jewish nose



Jennifer Aniston portrays Barbra Streisand in a Harper's Bazaar photo tribute

If you ever wondered about Jennifer Aniston’s Jewish connection, alas, here it is: The sitcom star turned screen queen portrays Barbra Streisand in a special photo tribute to the legendary diva in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

If, like me, you’re thinking, wow, those brilliant magazine editors couldn’t possibly have chosen anyone better to represent the original Funny Girl, you’ll be glad to know that Babs herself agrees. In a statement on her Web site, Streisand pointed out how apt the choice was:

“I was very flattered that Jennifer Aniston chose to interpret my style with the photos in Harper’s Bazaar. She’s a delightful person, and I think she did a wonderful job,” Streisand wrote. “If only she had a bump on her nose.”

That last bon mot is a snarky reference to the nose job—or, excuse me, deviated septum—Aniston fessed up to in 2007. Streisand, on the other hand, endured much criticism over the years for refusing to have rhinoplasty in the event it might compromise her voice. Streisand’s nose, at first suggestive of her Jewish ethnicity, soon became a symbol of artistic defiance. Stereotype or not, Streisand’s refusal to go the plastic surgery route, some say, caused a decline in the number of Jewish girls and women who wanted to be rid of their Jewish noses.

In a 1999 New York Observer article about plastic surgery, University of Chicago professor Sander L. Gilman was interviewed about his book, Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Esthetic Surgery and recounted a 1989 New York Magazine article citing the rise of rhinoplasty among Jewish women:

“By the mid-60’s, an upturned nose had practically become a middle-class status symbol, and hundreds of teenage girls in New York (read: Jewish girls) seemed to be wearing the same design. The bone was narrowed, the tip pinched into a triangle, and there were two distinct bumps above the nostril.’’ Jewish girls, convinced their noses are “too Jewish,’’ that is too big, want to look like typical American.

Gilman, who is also the author of “Jewish Self-Hatred” and “The Jew’s Body” talked about the implications of Streisand’s decision to keep her “too Jewish” nose.

Guess Jennifer Aniston didn’t want us getting the wrong idea.

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