The Politics of Hair

08.1.12

A lot can be said about women’s hair. It’s a source of pride for many of us, it’s expensive to maintain, it keeps some of us out of the water and for others it’s just another chore. As of yesterday Kelsie has none and she looks amazing… which just brings us back to our punk rock roots.

Some of the best writing I know of about African American Women and hair can be found on my friend Liz’s blog. First with the Yuko Hair Straightening System and then with the Brazillian Blowout caucasian and latina women were encouraged to dump chemicals on their heads to “fix” the problem of curly or wavy hair.

Recently Vivia Chen wrote a fascinating article about women over 40 and how long their hair should be to look “professional”. She concentrated on law firms and for the 80 bazillionth time in my life I felt great about my decision to forego a sizable scholarship to law school. On Hilary Clinton she says:

So forgive me for pointing out that her hair has been growing like an unruly potted plant in recent months. For a while, she looked nicely put-together. But since she’s been letting her hair grow, Clinton often looks haggard and rumpled.

This made me sad.

As a fashion victim I absolutely must confess that none of these things has made me sadder than the death of my very own blow dryer. For the first time ever I made a video with my wavy hair.

It’s something that Daphne Brogdon and I have talked about. I’ve always admired how she does video on all sorts of hair days, sometimes even without makeup. I’m not there yet.

In addition to having hair past my shoulders and being on the wrong side of 40 (make that 32 in this town) I don’t even have a working hair dryer. Have I made myself old and unattractive? Unpolished? Unemployable?

If my husband ran out of hair gel I’m the only human being on the planet that would notice.