Saturday, March 6, 2010

I See What Your Hair is Saying

I want to share some pictures of the hair belonging to some of the lovely Philly children who were the stars of my Tiny Talk Tuesday post. While assisting in the classrooms, I wasn't permitted to take full facial shots of the children; the most I could show of their faces were their profiles. Since I didn't obtain permission to post these pictures, I'll only show pictures of the backs of their heads, which I don't think will be too exposing. Since I'm focusing on their hair, reverse head shots should work just fine. :-)

All of the bead work, braids, and parting designs really showcase this as an art form. I wish I was talented at styling hair. :-)


Since posting my Tiny Talks last Tuesday, I've been thinking about how much appearance dictates how people perceive others. Hair cuts and styles can be very culturally bound, but as with anything superficial, they can also be swamped with labels and stereotypes. When I got rows put in my hair, I caught some flack from people who thought it wasn't appropriate for "the likes of me" to wear my hair like that. Some of my friends just simply thought I didn't look nice in them, which is fine with me and I appreciate their honesty ;-). (Perhaps it emphasizes my generously-sized forehead and elf-shaped ears! *laughing*). What I don't welcome, however, is the objection to this hairstyle because it's not fitting for "someone like me" to sport this hairstyle. I do understand that this hairstyle might lead others to assume a number of different things about me and hold me to those assumptions, whether or not they are indeed true.

My hair says a number of different things about me. It often says I don't take the time to straighten it, so I wear it naturally curly. Or perhaps the curl and often wild waves make allusions to my free spirit. Sometimes my hair says that I need a shower. It's light color and texture may give some indication of my ethnic heritage. It's long length may say something about my beliefs about femininity. Some of these are correct assumptions to make about me regarding how my hair is perceived; some, however, are not correct. How is one to know?

What might we assume about these people regarding their hair cuts and styles? What is their hair saying? Might we be smacking a label on their foreheads that does not properly represent them?

...hmmm. Some thoughts to consider. What is YOUR hair saying?


  1. Last six photos found at:

  2. I definitely get the idea that our hair says something about us. I've worn my hair long for ages--and I have become used to people asking "What religion are you?" based on my hair. After all, why would anyone wear their hair long except for religious reasons? :-P

    Correct or not, people certainly tend to base their perceptions of us on our hairstyles (and I know I do the same to others).

  3. How fun! One of my poems for April was on my hair and how I wore "black girl" hair as a kid.

  4. Love it! I was just thinking about this today as I walked past a hair salon in the mall. All the white women in their posters had long, straight hair; all the black women had curls. And I realized why I will never look stylish, no matter how hard I try...because this white girl likes her curls. :) What does that say about me?


Thank you for taking the time to muse aloud with me,
to share your heart
& allow your thoughts to become words.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Leah