Professor McKay English 190
Blondes Are Better
The idea that “blondes are better” has been an ingrained perception of all people for a plethora of years now. The blonde-haired lady has been a representation of the typical, American woman for decades. Magazines, television shows, movies and even novels have portrayed the idea that being blonde is superior to all others and because of this, many European immigrants especially the Italians that were migrating to America felt completely out of place. In the anthropology, Unsettled America, the poems “Why Don’t I Speak Italian” and “Growing Up Italian” both demonstrate the depiction of blonde-haired people through the eyes ...view middle of the document...
/ All the boys liked her. Her parents and/ grandparents were born in America” (Mazziotti 383). Not only were blondes portrayed as prettier, but the saying “blondes have more fun” has been shown in commercials, television shows and songs. European immigrants, such as the Italians would strive to be blonde so they could fit in with the American culture. Young girls would “read all the magazines that told me/ why blondes have more fun/ described girls whose favorite color was blue./ I hoped for a miracle that would turn my dark skin light,/ that would make me pale and blonde and beautiful (383). The Italian immigrants’ dark skin and dark hair were completely opposite from the pale, blonde hair that the American girls had. Therefore, they had a very difficult time assimilating to the American way of life.
When European immigrants began to migrate to the United States of America in the 1800s, there were many struggles that they had to face. Learning the English language was very tough for the immigrants, but adapting to the culture was even tougher. A majority of the Italian immigrants that came over had olive-toned skin, dark hair and dark eyes. This image was the complete opposite of the typical blonde, pale American. The Italian immigrants felt completely out-of- place and were looked upon as inferior to the American people. In the poem, “Why Don’t I Speak Italian” written by Arthur L. Clements, the speaker was an Italian-American, but was still looked upon as lesser. His Aunt Clara would share her childhood stories with him about how Americans would call her nasty names like “dago and guinea, hurt by friends; juvenile jokes…once, when I was four, to console my swarthy aunt I told her she was almost as beautiful as a blonde” (Clements 82). The Italians almost felt as though it was a sin to be Italian. No one wanted to be Italian and anyone who was, was considered inferior. The immigrants came to America to find a better place to live, but was that what they were doing? The Americans should have reached out their arms to the new people joining the country, instead of shunning them and treating them like they meant nothing. Not only did the Italians feel uncomfortable coming to America because of their appearance but they were also very poor, thus disadvantaging them even more so because they did not have the ability to climb up in the “social class system”.
Even though the Italians were extremely...