Let’s break a couple of stereotypes, this time about convex noses. Indeed many people find it not really nice and want to change it. There was so much propaganda that many people around the world think of their convex noses as “ugly” and want to change. I personally don’t have a specific opinion on it. Was Lady Di’s nose bad? Didn’t it suit her? I can’t imagine her otherwise and yet she is still considered to be a beautiful woman. Does it really matter how your nose look? On other hand isn’t a big nose just too big for a face? ) Isn’t it better to change it and forget about problems coming with it? Just a thought, still no opinion, just thinking out loud!
By Anne Hart…
The shape of the nose in question is the 16 th to 19 th century defining feature of the Hapsburg Empire of Austria and Hungary referred to as the Hapsburg lip and nose shape. It’s found all over Austria. And it also shows up in Wales, Cornwall, S.W. England, and Bavaria. It’s also called the Hittite nose, referring to its surmised origin with the Hittites that settled in Anatolia (Cappadocia) from areas in Europe, speaking an Indo European language.
The genetic way to inherit a convex nose is when
a round-headed parent and a long-headed parent marry and have a child. That child is genetically predisposed to inheriting a large, convex nose, shortened or flat back of the head with a narrow skull shape on the sides, and narrow forehead, face, and chin.
The jaw may be oval or slightly square. It is not limited to any particular ethnic group or nationality. The face and nose shape is found throughout all of Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Central and Southwest, including India.
It is not specific to Jews or Arabs, Armenians, Iranians, Georgians, Caucasus Mountaineers, Dinaric Greeks, or Italians. There have been too many stereotypical cartoons with the purpose of belittling or diminishing the person with the big nose. Although large noses were made famous by comedian/actor Jimmy Durante referring to his big Italian nose as the “Schnozzola,” or Lebanese-American TV comedian/actor Danny Thomas referring to his convex “Lebanese nose.” A problem arises when people are discriminated against in housing because their nose is shaped like a stereotyped cartoon of one ethnic group or another.
Nose shape might have caused an uproar in the past when it was attributed to one ethnic group or another. For example, according to the article, “Flaw in the Jewel: Housing Discrimination Against Jews in La Jolla, CA,”—American Jewish History 84:3 (1996) 189-219, when Dr. Jonas Salk, the first Jew to move to La Jolla, CA moved next door to a non-Jew, that person put his/her house on the market.
People seeing others with convex noses that they haven’t met before may automatically jump to the conclusion that the person is Jewish or Iranian. But the highest frequency of convex noses on ancient peoples is found on the royal Egyptian pharaohs and on ancient Assyrian and Persian sculptures, and in northern Europe in Scotland and the far west of Ireland.
In Poland where 3.3 million Jews lived before World War II, Polish Christians rub the nose of the statue of a famous Jewish author for good luck. They also keep little figurines of red-haired Jewish scholars and rabbis in their home to bring in good fortune. Many of the figurines have convex noses.
In the USA, the convex nose statues are placed on Halloween witches, usually with black or red hair, but the witches convex noses are of ancient Celtic origin. Convex noses and dark hair are found frequently in the Cornwall area of England, a Celtic enclave, and in Wales.
Plastic surgery on your nose is right if something really is wrong with your nose, not just because it has a convex shape that turns down at the tip. That’s not defined as ugly. It’s just a variation. But, of course, it’s up to an individual’s perception of himself as to whether that person thinks the nose will prevent the quality of life the person wants such as a job promotion. So the answer lies with the individual’s preference.
For those who have convex noses, the thought is if everyone with a nose that has a downturned tip had their nose bobbed, then people with convex noses would be much rarer and therefore, more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace, for housing in some areas, and in the marriage market.
One woman’s war against teenage nose bobbing noted, “I’m always hiding my face with my hands, scared to panic that someone will see my Persian, Armenian, Hittite, Roman nose and automatically react with violence because everyone knows what a Jewish nose is supposed to look like.”
On the other hand, few know what a Persian, Armenian, or Roman nose is supposed to be. Is there the same stereotype—which is a normal, convex nose with a downturned tip? What’s wrong or right about a long nose?
The ancient Hittite nose is a feature native to Anatolia, Syria, and Northern Iraq that appeared in Neolithic times. It’s seen on the great Persian and Assyrian sculptures and rock friezes in art from three thousand years ago.
There’s no such protuberance as a “Jewish nose” any more than there’s something called a “Christian nose” or a “Buddhist nose.” A convex nose is the result of a round headed parent marrying a long-headed parent in any country.
The child born of a parent with the genes for at least 33 to 50 percent round, short-headedness and a parent with the genes for at least 33 to 50 percent of long, low-skulled heads as seen in some Northern and Southern European countries, the Middle East, or Persia will create a child with a different type of skull—flat in the back (occiput) with a long, convex nose.
That child can come from any country. You see this type frequently in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, the Adriatic, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Balkans, and anywhere else that short-headed people have married long-headed people of any religion or nation. In races other than Caucasian, you get the same result: short heads married to long heads beget children with large, convex noses and flat backs of the heads (occiputs) much of the time.
Ask someone to draw a Jewish nose and you get a number ’6′. Ask someone to draw a Roman nose—an ancient one of an aristocrat— and they are not sure or they draw the letter ‘L.’ The whole picture in people’s minds is built on years of cartoon caricature stereotypes and models used for painting.
The painting of the 14 th century poet, Dante Alleghieri shows the North Italian poet from Florence, a devout Catholic with a most extreme convex nose. Nobody cares because he’s an Italian Catholic. If he were Jewish, painters would have used him in Renaissance paintings to depict famous Biblical Jews.
The reason I’m alluding to Dante is because I’m tired of total strangers walking up to me at bus benches telling me I’m Jewish. They don’t even ask.
It has nothing to do with being Jewish. It has all to do with being intimidated and humiliated—not because the convex nose is so fervently associated with a consciousness of being Jewish, but with a myth that if you have a convex nose, you must be Jewish, and therefore treated like Jews had been treated in the days of the Venice ghetto.
And the stereotype can reinforce sociophobia in people vulnerable to panic disorder. Imagine what it feels like when I sit in a Christian church wondering whether anyone is looking at my nose or the scar on my face. I couldn’t care less about the scar.
It’s the shape of my nose that they are looking at. They are probably wondering what I’m doing in their church. It’s all right, I tell myself, to look as I do. I don’t need a plastic surgeon to give me back my self-confidence, to shorten my nose, or to remove a scar already partly hidden in my old-age wrinkles.
Taking away one’s freedom of having people say a convex, long, downturned tipped nose is beautiful is like being told you have the wrong country’s nose and that a surgeon must take off what identifies you.
It’s like being told that thousands of years ago an ancestor came from a certain place and that has to be corrected. A plastic surgeon once said he’d take the hump off my nose, but what’s the point? Do you need symmetry to feel beautiful on the outside or inside?
Enjoy your natural nose if you think it’s somehow ethnic and you want to be proud of your ethnic nose. It’s a symbol of how you will make the world a kinder and gentler place.