I am not currently doing any video interviews, but I am curious to see how an ongoing conversation about the politics and culture of hair might play out on a blog. If you have an interesting and insightful story about your own experiences with this topic, please feel free to leave them here. I’ll start a new thread if this one gets too long. Thanks!
This woman in Canada discovered firsthand the double standards that exist between men and women’s respective abilities to choose their hairstyles. She decided to have her hair cut for a cancer benefit, and when she showed up for work with short hair, she was promptly fired.
Blogger Meowser posted a lovely piece about her experiences with PCOS-related baldness and the effects that experience has had on her life. It really highlights the importance of hair to women’s senses of self, identity, and confidence. It’s not just superficial.
A toddler has gotten in trouble at his preschool for having his hair in locks. The school has a policy against “faddish” hairstyles. Clearly someone used discretion in enforcing this policy, because locks are not a new “fad.”
This is an interesting example of how something that would normally be an individual choice, i.e. up to the parents and their own cultural heritage (and no one else’s business), becomes politicized. Should school administrators tell parents how to style their kids’ hair? What difference does it make, in fact, how hair appears as long as it’s not in the way? I could understand, possibly, if teachers objected to a child wearing his bangs so long that they impaired his or her eyesight. But hairstyles are personal choices, and have little to no bearing, I would think, on a child’s learning ability or self worth (unless she or he is criticized for prejudicial reasons).
Writer Morgan Sherman has a piece on The State about black women and their relationships with their hair.
The New York Times published a story about new hair removal (sorry, “skin smoothing”) products aimed at the under-15 market. Nair has a new product called Nair Pretty for all those youngsters worried about their excess hair (!).
Seems more about expanding their market & earning more money. Hmmmm.
While I was in Chicago last week for a conference, I had a strange encounter. As I was unloading my luggage from the airport shuttle van, the driver walked over to me and rubbed his finger against my forearm. He said, “Oh, nice. I bet not many men would tell you that.” I’m pretty sure he was referring to the hair on my arm, which is a bit on the dark/thick side. I was shocked, and didn’t respond, but started to walk away immediately.
I felt a bit violated, to be honest; it always bothers me when people feel compelled to make personal comments to complete strangers, anyway, and I couldn’t figure out what I’d said or done to lead to this backhanded “compliment.” I felt self-conscious for the rest of the day; being alone in an unfamiliar city was challenging enough.
Has anyone had experiences of other people commenting directly to you about your hair?