Free Racial Identity In Black Woman In Relation To Their Hair Compared To Eurocentric Ideal Hair Research Paper Sample
Emphasis on beauty of women as a core cultural impetus in the various social contexts has continued to be a subject under deliberation and overall reflections associated with it. As such, a number of ideals and general outlooks have incessantly characterized the beauty factor in societies, especially on a more universal scale. This is in regardto the race aspect as a more definitive element of this feat due to varied viewpoint that are hedged on it. Noteworthy, the hair of women as a marker of their beauty has effectively been under focus in depicting beauty and as a basicthoughtfulconstituent.
Hence, it is in light of the above that this research paper present a more informed perspective of the hair element in view to depiction of beauty in women.Notably, it adopts more of a comparison angle in relation to racial identity in black women’s hair vis avis the Eurocentric ideal hair.
Owing to hair being an imperative beauty marker on the women worldwide, its study especially under the inevitable racial angle is actuallyof immense value. Thus, a number of documentation has been made in an attempt to shed more light into the socio-cultural perspectivesof it on a universal scale. These are usually in consideration of the various hair styles, the typicalideals of beauty as portrayed by media and market of femininity, besides other standpoints. Arguably, all these are in an attempt to bring a considerate experience in races’ perceptions.
Bodily image implications
For example, Thompson (852) posits that as a matter of fact, the black women experience these effects even in their respective workplaces despite the attempts to change perceptions on the same in these times. He adds that significantly, the black women continue to exhibit dread in adorning their supposed “natural hair”mostly in their workplace environmentsdue to perceived spectacle a realistically black aesthetic will generate. Moreover, majority of the black women allude to the probable undesirable effect it has on their much needed economic mobility.
Demonstrably, the effect of the Eurocentric ideals on hair have a more devastating effect on the bodily images on the black women in light of their self-esteems. Habitually, the society has had more stress based on the allusion to Eurocentric standardization of hair looks, which irrefutably has had more effects on the black woman’s image in addition to the above. Instances of ostracization of black women having natural hair in relationships that are external to work place environments have also been evidenced on quite a number of occasions in the western nations (Thompson 852).
What is more is the fact that these forms of preferenceshinged on hair are practiced by even some of the black women themselves on the course of their relationships. As such, very few demonstratethe pride in having their own natural hair in place of the standardized Eurocentric hair ideals. Thus; they show that they are certainly vehicles of the perspectives of theEurocentric standards of beauty instead of being extremely dynamic agents in their images’ identifiablesocietal scripting.
Resistance to the Eurocentric hair ideals
Nonetheless, the black women have not just been on the receiving end of the effects of these Eurocentric ideals of beauty in reference to the hair impetus. According to Chapman (26), the black women especially in the United States have habitually exhibited diverse measure in confronting such adversetypecastsand defined their pride in African identity in light of black hair. This has certainly been fairly challenging to the worldview concerning black beauty being influenced by how they speak about their hair.
Hence, in a bid to maintain relevance of the black hair possessed by the black women, most of the women who are pro-black hair have shown this expression by keepingtheir hair natural and even having them permed. Chapman (27) attributes this to having a sense of identity and a level of personal certified pride in handling adversities associated with racism, which uses the Eurocentric beauty ideals.
Likewise to the above, the black women’s countering of the seemingly supreme Eurocentric ideals of beauty in light of hair was initially occasioned by some movements and advocacy measures. Demonstrably, Bryd and Tharps (51) note thatmid-1960s, the black women’s hair experienced its largest transformation in terms of universal outlook, in the United States. It is in consideration of the fact that it was not only a symbolism of the politics, but rather dynamism in the cultural and social influences that attribute to the black characteristics, with the hair included. The movement was referred to as “Black is Beautiful” and it aimed at regaining the black identity particularly to the women with emphasis on countering white elements pegion-holed on Eurocentric ideals.
Consequently, the movement’s goal fosteredself-importance in blackness structures and inclusive culturalisation as appropriate. According to Bryd and Tharp (53), significantlyvisible was the blackhair as principaldeterminant in the declaration of black pride. This was manifested in rather a number of hair styles that were mostly natural. They included the numerous braiding styles and afro.Interestingly, some of the black women were fairly uncomfortable in having their hair in their natural form based on the racial stigma at the time. Nonetheless, the movement hastened its promotional activities by laying even more emphasis on the fact that the black hair in its natural form and state is irrefutably beautiful(Bryd and Tharp53).
On the other hand, Chapman (103) takes note of the fact that even some of the white women seemingly supported the movement however inactive and subtle their contributionwas.She argues that these category of white women were mainly resistant to the Eurocentric cultural norms concerning beauty and hair since they are intertwined and ominously influence relationships of women universally since they define feminism.
Role of media in black women’s hair vs. Eurocentric ideals on hair
Indeed, the media has one of the most definitive roles in portraying the variances attributing to the black women’s hair and the Eurocentric ideal hair. The various forms of media in this case are varied with the inclusion of print (mainly magazines), television, radio and the internet. As such, Gilchrist and Thompson (1) allude to the hairhistorically reflecting material consequences in the black community in light of its power and privilege matrix as disseminated via the mass media forms. These are in their relative permeation of society and impacts on the black women’s subsequent perceptions compared to Eurocentric hair ideals.
Ominous to note is that the magazines are some of the dominant forms of media that propagates perceptions on the beauty contexts considering hair especially in favour of the Eurocentric ideals. This has even led to the development of black magazines that seem to counter the effects that have been created by most of the beauty and fashion magazines in more personalization of embodying the former hair. Therefore, the black magazines highlight on the beauty of black hair with vivid descriptions that supposedly gratify the natural black hair formsagainst over the apparent forms of Eurocentric ideals (Gilchrist and Thompson 10).
What is more is the fact that the advertisements via the various media forms have an extreme bearing on even hair enhancementby the black women and their white counterparts, which is necessary in this comparison. Interestingly, Gilchrist and Thompson (15) relate that the mass media in this case elicits varied reaction sin terms of influencing perspectives on black hair and the Eurocentric hair ideal. In the case of the black women,hair enhancement influenced by the mediaallow them try wide-ranging styles that are related to the European ideal hair while also presenting them with varied options in maintaining it naturally.
On the other hand, the white women who are certainly inclined to the Eurocentric hair ideals based on nature also portray mixed reactions as a result of the hair enhancements. For instance, Chapman (90) relates to the fact that some of the media’s depiction of the Eurocentric ideal hair emphasizeon notionsof beauty that are far-fetched such that even some of the white ladies cannot attain. Although the media in the United. Despite the fact that they are largely overall to women’s beauty, the stress is certainly on their hair characteristics.
Gilchrist and Thompson (20) statethat in regard to the Social Comparison theory, human beingshabitually relate themselveswith mediaembodiments that are similar to their characteristics. Thus, the black women are more inclined to varyperceptions in hair that are hypotheticallysuitable to them with prominenceon black beauty in relation to the Eurocentric hair ideals. This is the same situation with the white womenthough there maybe a few exception across the two comparables.
Finally,Chapman (91)points to the fact that the above has been the tool used by the mass media in taking advantage of the variant perceptions attributed to black woman’s hair and the Eurocentric ideal hair. As such, the mass media and cosmetic companies use the visual images, which are out rightly powerful in depiction of beauty with hair as the material realm of which the Eurocentric hair ideal proponents have made use of more than the black women.
Black women are undeniably one of the most predominantly affected group of persons in light of the Eurocentric ideals of beauty pegged on hair. As such, the research paper above presents aspects, which the black women relate to the notions fronted by the Eurocentric standards of beauty. It is manifest that overtime, they have been a subject to ridicule based on their natural hair forms and styles. This has habitually led them to adopt the Eurocentric hair ideals in workplaces and even social relationships. Nonetheless, their evident opposition to the ideals was occasioned by the black movement ensured their substantial embracement of their natural black hair forms and styles. In addition to the above, there are some white women who are against the Eurocentric hair standards as a gauge for beauty. They do these through blatant taking sides with the black women and also expressing displeasure in meeting the Eurocentric beauty canons. Lastly, the media’s partcompounds the comparison and definite contrasts as shown above.
Chapman, Yolanda M. ““I am Not my Hair! Or am I?”: Black Women's Transformative Experience in their Self Perceptions of Abroad and at Home.”Thesis, Georgia State University, 2007. Print
Gilchrist, Eletra S. and Thompson, Courtney.Media Effects and Black Hair Politics.University of Alabama, 2012. Web. 23 March 2015.
Thompson, C. Black women, beauty, and hair as a matter of being. Women’s Studies, 38, 831-856.2009. Web. 23 March 2015.
Byrd, Ayana D. and Tharps, Lori L. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin Press.2001. Print