Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women's Consciousness

Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women's Consciousness

by Ingrid Banks
     
 

Long hair in the 60s, Afros in the early 70s, bobs in the 80s, fuschia in the 90s. Hair is one of the first attributes to catch our eye, not only because it reflects perceptions of attractiveness or unattractiveness, but also because it conveys important political, cultural, and social meanings, particularly in relation to group identity. Given that mainstream images… See more details below

Overview

Long hair in the 60s, Afros in the early 70s, bobs in the 80s, fuschia in the 90s. Hair is one of the first attributes to catch our eye, not only because it reflects perceptions of attractiveness or unattractiveness, but also because it conveys important political, cultural, and social meanings, particularly in relation to group identity. Given that mainstream images of beauty do not privilege dark skin and rightly coiled hair, African American women's experience provides a starkly different perspective on the meaning of hair in social identity.

Drawing on interviews with over 50 women, from teens to seniors, Hair Matters is the first book on the politics of Black hair to be based on substantive, ethnographically informed research. Focusing on the everyday discussions that Black women have among themselves and about themselves, Ingrid Banks analyzes how talking about hair reveals Black women's ideas about race, gender, sexuality, beauty, and power. Ultimately, what emerges is a survey of Black women's consciousness within both their own communities and mainstream culture at large.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814713372
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
197
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Unhappy to Be Nappy1
1Why Hair Matters: Getting to the Roots21
2The Hair "Do's" and "Don'ts" of Black Womanhood41
3Splitting Hairs: Power, Choice, and Femininity69
4Women and Girls Speak Out: Five Hair-Raising Sessions99
5Black Hair, 1990s Style139
Conclusion147
App. I: Methods, Methodology, and the Shaping of Hair Matters157
App. II: Defining Black Hair and Hairstyling Practices171
App. III: Interviewee Demographics175
Notes179
References185
Index193
About the Author197

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