Feminist scholarship has looked extensively at the perception of the body as a flexible construction of cultural and social dictates, but head hair has been often overlooked. Feminist Interrogations of Women's Head Hair brings new focus to this underrepresented topic through its intersections with contemporary socio-cultural contexts.
Scholars from a wide range of disciplines investigate private and public meanings associated with female head hair, problematising our assumptions about its role and implications in the 21st Century. Readers are invited to reflect on the use of hair in popular culture, such as children’s television and pop album artwork, as well as in work by women artists. Studies examine the lived experiences of women from a range of backgrounds and histories, including curly-haired women in Israel, African American women, and lesbians in France. Other essays interrogate the connotations of women’s head hair in relation to body image, religion, and aging.
Feminist Interrogations of Women's Head Hair brings together cultural discourses and the lived experiences of women, across time and place, to reveal the complex and ever-evolving significance of hair. It is an important contribution to the critical feminist thought in cultural studies, fashion studies, media studies, African American studies, queer theory, gerontology, psychology, and sociology.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why hair? why women? Part I: Agency and Resistance Reified by Women's Hair Chapter 1: Fiery gingers: Redhead girls in children’s popular cultureChapter 2: Hair rites and wrongs: Tonsorial acts in the work of women artists Chapter 3: Samson the Hero in the new millennium: Hair donation, altruism, and feminine bravery Chapter 4: Hair as an indicator of liberation: Lesbian's biographical paths Chapter 5: "It won't go straight": Curly-haired women tell their stories Part II: Women's Hair as a Marker of Identity Chapter 6: Ages and stages: African American women and their lives through their hair Chapter 7: Hair and the "body-self" of women with body image despair and eating disorders Chapter 8: Women’s gray hair as an abomination of the body: Conceal and pass, or reveal and subvert Chapter 9: Women's gray hair in online discussions Part III: Women's Hair in a Consumerist Age Chapter 10: Black women’s hair politics impact on bodily health: A historical essay Chapter 11: Creative consumption of modesty: The wig in a Jewish Israeli Ultra-Orthodox community Chapter 12: Imagery of hair and identity in album covers: Beyoncé, Bjork, Madonna, and PJ Harvey
Sigal Barak-Brandes is a Lecturer at Tel Aviv University, Israel. Her research interests include: gender representations, media images and ideologies of motherhood, women and girls audiences, girls' images, girls and Facebook, media and crime victims. She has published in international journals such as Communication, Culture & Critique, Feminist Media Studies, The Communication Review, European Journal of Cultural Studies.
Amit Kama is a Senior Lecturer at Yezreel Valley Academic College, Israel. His research focuses on minority groups – particularly, gay men and lesbians, people with disabilities, and migrant workers and immigrants – and the construction of their identities vis-à-vis mediated representations. In the past decade he has been studying cultural constructions and manifestations of the body. His works include numerous papers published in international and Israeli journals as well as five books published in Israel. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of LGBT Youth and Media Frame