The emancipation of women also goes through hairdressing

The emancipation of women also goes through hairdressing

The emancipation of women also goes through hairdressing

The natural afro hairstyle, the zero ball or the ponytail are not reduced to aesthetic movements. They can also be real tools for female emancipation. Haircuts on women and gender minorities are indeed ways of shaking up the normative criteria of femininity. Zoom on some hairstyles that have developed the history of social movements and feminisms in particular.

The square cut of the roaring twenties

Guided by the voices of the matriarchy, the Joan of Arc of modern times exhibited in the artistic world of the 1920s, proudly displaying the short, smooth or notched square. It was in this context of the Roaring Twenties that the Polish and avant-garde Antoni Cierplikowski popularized the bob haircut, by styling stars like First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, actress Greta Garbo, but also Coco Chanel.

This strict and light boyish cut, gives the air of a strong and independent woman. This has continued to seduce the great influencers of the century: Louise Brooks, Édith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot, through the actresses Marlène Dietrich, the artist and resistance fighter Joséphine Baker, or the spy Mata Hari.

Today this cut perpetually renews itself, but we always associate the classic bob haircut Has new wave movie actresses like Anna Karina, Jeanne Moreau or even Amélie Poulain, Mia Wallace (Pulp Fiction) and Winona Ryder.

The natural afro hairstyle

The hair movement advocating the afro hairstyle, born in the United States in the 1960s, is also the beginning of the movement “Nappy” – contraction of “natural” and “happy” – which frees Afro hair from straightening, braiding and other weaving. Certain hair straightening techniques can indeed be dangerous for black women.

It is for this, among other things, that the term “nappy” indicates all the empowerment of women who leave their hair frizzy, curly or curly. Being nappy is like that be proud of your origins and identity. The Martinican sociologist Juliette SmĂ©ralda explains in this sense:

“To relax is to demonstrate its ability to become a subject socially adapted (…) to the Western model. “

The ban on showing off your Afro hair dates back to the history of slavery. But it’s in Harlem with the current “Black is beautiful” (1962) that the demands were heard. Its symbol was a comb, which ends on a black fist. The emergence of the Black Panthers party also played a role in the 1970s, notably with the emblematic figure of the Afro-feminist struggle Angela Davis. She proudly wore her afro hairstyle with the other party members, in order to show their refusal to comply with the rules of white people.

Then personalities like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Donna Summer or Whitney Houston have helped to change mentalities. Despite this, natural afro hair is still not accepted in all areas. We think in particular of the Western world of work, cinema, etc. Emblems of the nappy movement continue to fight for afro pride, like actress AĂŻssa MaĂŻga, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, presenter Oprah Winfrey, Solange Knowles and many others.

The ball at zero

Going back to Antiquity, we discover that the shaved head of Egyptian women was the condition for wearing the wig and a model of elegance. During the Salem witch hunt, the skulls of these women were shaved so that men could look for the “mark of the witches”. After WWII, this shave continued to be a tool of humiliation especially for women, and those who were accused of “horizontal collaboration” with the German enemy. They were shaved in public, exhibited in the streets of Paris.

The zero ball as demand for freedom, for the emancipation of feminine beauty codes will arrive later. Getting rid of her hair as a woman today often remains suspect in the eyes of society. We think of Britney spears this famous February 16, 2007, when she shaved her head under the eye of the paparazzi and they magnified her action like hysterical madness. Also, the journalist ClĂ©mentine Gallot wrote for Liberation that the women with shaved heads represented in fictional cinema “heroines on the fringes of : convicts, skinheads or dying ”.

Get rid of your femininity symbols to get naked, This is frowned upon. Skin, leader of the ’90s Brit-rock band Skunk Anansie, who breathed self-confident rebel, proudly wore the ball to zero throughout her career. Later the actress Rose McGowan embodied the determination and rebelliousness of women, by making public the attacks on the part of Harvey Weinstein. She wrote in iD magazine:

“To shave my head was for me a war cry”

The ponytail: the model girl reappropriated

Originally according to fashion magazine iD, this hairstyle already appeared in ancient Greece, and was popularized in the twentieth century with emblems of femininity like Barbie by Mattel or Audrey Hepburn.

For the BBC, it’s with Madonna that the ponytail is become a “synonym of women’s empowerment”, in the 90s. By singing songs with sexualized lyrics as in “Like A Virgin”, the singer adopted a look of a model little girl, especially with her hairstyle.

Later, we will find this hairstyle in several ofemblematic artists of a “girl power”, such as Arianna Grande, the Spice Girls, or the punks singers of Riot Grrrl! By sporting these infantile looks, they then shed light on the sexualization of young girls in the patriarchy. From innocence to provocation.

Long or short, colorful or natural, attached or detached … it is ultimately to show yourself as you are. Were you aware that a haircut has that feminist aspect? Did you want a new haircut? Come discuss it on our forum!

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