near bed time with my re-appropriated doo rag.What I don't think people talk about enough in any critical feminist debates is our hair and its role as a huge sexual signifier and an icon of youth and fertility. In ad campaigns, it's all wound up with the goals of success and happiness. Long, flowing, golden Gisele Bundchen hair is deeply revered. Unlike big boobs, big beautiful hair doesn't get a bad wrap for hanging out in the sun like cleavage. But like nice breasts, good hair is on women's minds - all women at one point or another - so let's not bullshit this one. When mine got tucked away, I quickly lost my ability to know what to wear, how to wear it; I found myself putting on lipstick at ten in the morning. I worried about looking ugly. I felt inclined to dress more girly than I usually do. I was shocked at myself, but my hair and my sense of femininity are inextricably linked. I thought I was above all that. Sitting on the Skytrain that sunny Thursday after the salon, I got a few stares. I decided that I either (a) look like a freak, due to the fact that my head is maybe misshapen. Or (b) I look like a fashion maverick freak, which is worse, and people are wondering where I am from. This is way worse. Or I (c) look a gangster, but I ruled this out as impossible. Or could it be (d)? Do I just look like a vacation braids freak? If so, I am pale, so people are probably assuming that I went and got this done in a place with no light and snow. Or maybe people weren't looking at me at all. Is that the worst? Tweet
Kate / My Good Hair: A Corn Row Retrospective
The hair fumes got me thinking about Chris Rock's documentary 'Good Hair'. When I was first scoping out cornrow style options (you know, researching Da Brat and all that good stuff) I came upon the hot discourse between black women in America about their hair. It's incredibly interesting, and everything about sitting in that stinky chair at Nunu's brought it to mind: a shop full of women, chatting casually while extremely dangerous relaxers are slopped onto their scalps and while weaves of Indian hair are setting. From my R&D online, it seems that everyone has something to say about whether or not African-American women should be doing this hair relaxing thing, or whether they should be getting something more organic - aka cornrows, like me. Of course, I have no real comment on this issue - I am total outsider in more ways than one. But I think the "good hair" worry is a paranoia shared by all too many females, and is relevant to skin colour and origin only in it's specificity. I think the whole issue just got dumped onto a margin. As women, most of us spend way too much on our hair in the first place. As an extreme, shaving your head as a female gets you labeled differently. Whatever year it was, Britney's baldness was a big media shock and it became the visual representation of how crazy she'd gone. See? She's clenching her teeth and has a shaved head - she's fucking bonkers! Does that really mean that she has gone and totally lost it? She's probably clenching her teeth like an animal because the media chases her for a picture like she is an extinct dinosaur or the Loch Ness monster.