Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hair, hair, hair!

Watched the movie Good Hair by Chris Rock? He is alarmed when his six year old daughter is crying because she did not have 'good hair'.  'Good hair' is defined as 'straight hair'. This has political, economical, cultural and social implications.  No wonder hair business is a billion dollar industry.  Women of all social and economic classes spend a lot of money, even going into debt and time on hair.  Hair beauty shops, barber shops and saloons are crowded for hair cuts, shaving, trimming, colour, treatment, straightening, braiding, washing and the list is endless. 

Hair can be a tool for legal identity.  DNA can be obtained from hair strands.  'Nappy Hair' is also black.  Women with nappy hair straighten their hair to fit in the picture the media has created of  beautiful or good hair.  They use wigs, weaves, colour and other expensive equipment to achieve 'good hair'

As much as hair produces warmth to the head, protects body parts like eyes and provides touch sense, it does have social implications.  White hair may indicate age; hairstyles may indicate age groups; balding may indicate old age especially in men.

Hair possesses powerful symbolic and evocative properties.  Hair can be cut as a form of punishment or to follow cultural or religious rules.  It can also indicate refusal to comply with one.

It is not therefore by chance that hair takes such an important place in our everyday language.

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