Monday, November 16, 2009

Hair Issues

I found Hook’s article extremely interesting and yet saddening in the way that the “black female body is forced to serve as an icon for black sexuality in general” (62). Their bodies are exploited and not only are their butts seen as an indication of heightened sexuality but nowadays, so are their hair. Black women are not viewed as sexually desirable unless they cover their natural, curly locks with man made and synthetic wigs and weaves as “long hair evokes wildness, a sense of the ‘natural’ world,” (70). It is saddening that black women feel the need to hide their real hair and adopt “white girl” hair in order to feel beautiful. This whole issue is discussed on the Tyra Banks show (the clip is below). One woman proudly exclaims that she has “the white girl flow” in her hair, and nother woman says that her straighter hair looks “more professional”. If they themselves cannot accept the nature of their natural hair, how can society come to accept it as beautiful if it’s always hidden underneath a wig or weave?

Here is the clip:

And here is the clip of Tyra Banks real hair (which really doesn’t look bad at all, so I don’t understand why she is always hiding it):


However, by changing their hair and adopting long, straight weaves are they further reinforcing their image of sexualized icons and by adopting the same style of hair as white people are they simply “obscuring and erasing the possibility of any assertion of black power?” (71). On the other hand, if they do not conform to society’s standards of beautiful hair will they have no representation in the media? Hook’s article mentions that in clothing catalogs, such as J.Crew, they would often choose bi-racial or fair skinned black women who had blonde or light brown hair when they did include darker skinned models. What do you guys think?  


  1. AH you're right! Her natural hair looks absolutely FINE. But, i'm glad she tackled this issue on her show since it really is a problem that consumes so many black girls' and women's lives. Those two black women who said they have, not just good, but "amazing" hair when it is relaxed are clear examples of how our society has brainwashed young girls into thinking that straight "white" hair is "good" hair. I knew a mixed girl in my high school who always had gorgeous hair and then i found out she was spending a TON of money on it (relaxers, weaves). She's pursuing to be a model.......

    I guess she figured it out that she won't make it with nappy hair.

  2. I agree i think it was a great thing for tyra banks to tackle this issue on her show. i think it still might be hard for some women to look at tyra in a "normal" or "average" way because she was a supermodel and she is so gorgeous.

  3. It's true - many black women do adapt these hairstyles in order to look more professional, because it's easier,to emulate certain celebrities (such as Tyra Banks), etc. This can arguably feed into the dominant ideology of smooth Caucasian hair. But it's definitely a chain. For instance, looking professional,as mentioned above, can be asserted with conforming to a dominantly White society. It is important to realize that not all black women directly see their hair decisions as "feeding into the system" of white hegemony, but may instead be unconsciously feeding into it.

  4. there are many synthetic wigs available which gives us natural looks, as no one think you're wearing a wig.

  5. Her hair in cornrows absolutely doesn't look bad, but keep in mind, I'm sure that she had a full team of hairstylists and pros working on it prior to her stepping in front of a camera--it's carefully managed "natural" hair. Most people don't have that luxury.