Carbonated Wit

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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Black hair? White hair? Femininity? Strength? Confusion.

I love this story: www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/10/15/endia_beal_can_i_touch_it_explores_gender_race_and_generational_gaps_in.html

But I especially love how the pictures look in a series of smaller headshots, at http://cargocollective.com/endiabeal/Can-I-touch-it.

They look proud, powerful, and a little strange; it’s like they’re the board of directors of a major corporation in the early 19th century or something. I read these women as having indeterminate gender: because they are older, because they are staring the camera straight on with confidence, because they’re wearing power suits, but most of all because the hair is not white female hair of any kind, not even white female powerful women hair.

Pretty interesting, and pretty awful, that my unconscious read of black women’s hairstyles is apparently “not female” or “not feminine” when it’s on white women’s heads. Also interesting, maybe less awful (maybe not), that I read it as powerful.

My reaction to the large pictures in the Slate article was “okay that is gorgeous” and thoughts about mechanics of hairstyles and maybe more white women should do these and then concerns about appropriation and then it gets complex and I am very privileged here.

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