Hairtyles In African American Culture

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Since the very beginning of African civilization, hairstyles have been used to convey messages to the greater society. In nearly every West African culture if unkempt hair was present that particular individual would have been considered unattractive or dirty. Hair maintenance was aimed at creating a sense of beauty. Hair provides women with a means of representing themselves and negotiating their place in the world. Furthermore, what women do and say through their hair care can shed light on how members of a cultural group use hair more broadly as a signifier of status. Although hair may seem like such a mundane subject, it in fact has a profound implication for how African American women experience the world. Everyday these women are faced…show more content…
. . Therefore we must use our terminology as a verbal skill that gains respect from people . . . around us.” Thus, as listing themselves being similar to a doctor, stylists’ are legitimizing that their work is not entirely easy, and there is a science to it. But they are also proclaiming that an African American woman has “sick hair” because it is not the same texture as the average White woman’s. Hair stylists have a number of different stances that they associate themselves with, which provides vivid testaments in regards to their type of work. They learn how to be a hair expert through a large number of hair shows, attending cosmetology school, and by attending continuing education courses. Clients depend on their hairdresser or stylists, to know what they are doing and to be assured that they will obtain a positive result every time. With hairdressers or stylists, it is that consistency that women want from them. They want to be sure that every time they leave that chair they are getting the same satisfied result. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that hair is with out a doubt the most complex signifier African American women and girls use to display their identities in order to take on situated social meanings, and to understand how and why hair comes to matter so much in a Black women’s construction of their identity. Just as mentioned in Chris Rock’s, Good Hair, in Jacobs-Hueys’ book it is also evident that Black women feel the need to conform their natural state to a more common, typical look. It is through the hair salons, and educational seminars that teach individuals when hair is hair, and alternatively when hair is not just hair. These two seemingly contradictory stances hint at just

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