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Hair penalties: The negative influence of Afrocentric hair on ratings of Black women’s dominance and professionalism

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that my co-author, Kathy Phillips, and I recently learned that our paper on Afrocentric hair and professionalism has been accepted in an academic journal called Frontiers in Psychology.  Here is a link to the abstract: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01311/abstract

You can also download the full article PDF on that page.

woman_2

More and more women are donning their natural hair in the workplace.

Many of us may be aware of the international phenomenon where women are embracing their natural hair.  In our paper, we found that Afrocentric hair is rated as less professional than Eurocentric hair.  Honestly, this was no surprise given societal norms.  However, of particular interest to us was that, when evaluating Afrocentric hair, Black people were harsher than White people.  Read the full paper to understand why.  Please share your thoughts on natural hair in the workplace on the hairasidentity.com blog or my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DrTinaOpie.

 

 

 

  • Mia

    Congratulations on the acceptance of your paper on such an important topic!

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Tina featured on Un-ruly.com!

What an honor to be featured on un-ruly.com.  Antoniah Opiah is a force and I’m delighted that her organization wanted to chat with me.  You might remember that they beautifully executed the “You can touch my hair” campaign in New York!  Brilliant minds.  If you missed that, here is a link Un-ruly.com short film on the “You can touch my hair” campaign.

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Here is a link to the feature article they just ran:  Un-ruly.com interview with Tina Opie.  Please check out other features on the un-ruly.com website.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Give people with red hair some love

red hair 330px-HH_the_Prince_Harry

Prince Harry

I had no idea that the term “ginger” was an offensive term for those with red hair.  Apparently, the term is used to ridicule entire populations of people who happen to have red hair.  They are sometimes considered targets, sexulized and bullied. Really, I had no idea.  I think it’s because as a Black woman, hair color has been much less of a discussion point for me than hair texture (sample from any of the past year’s blog posts and you’ll likely gain insight into hair texture).

red hair Elizabeth_I_when_a_Princess

Elizabeth I

Yet, hair color seems to be much more of a concern for non-Black people, especially White people.  I recall Chris Rock’s famous insight that White women seemed to be obsessed with blonde hair, with many White women dying their hair blonde.  So, I’d heard about the pursuit of blonde hair, but I’d never heard about the teasing that some may endure just because they have red hair.

I came across an article “Seeing red: why we need to be sensitive about using the word ‘ginger'” on  www.theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2014/jan/24/mind-your-language-red-hair).  I must admit that I cringed at the sexist references littered throughout the article but I tried my best to chew up the meat and spit out the bone (I hope that doesn’t offend my vegetarian readers!).  I’m curious to know what you all think about the article.

Did you know:

1) red hair is the rarest hair color?  Only 1% to 2% of the world population has red hair.

2) Scotland has the highest concentration of those with red hair? 13% have red hair and 40% have the recessive red hair gene.

3) Polynesians have a significant incidence of red hair?  In Polynesian culture, red hair is a mark of high ancestral descent.

4) The stereotype that people with red hair are “hot tempered” in part comes from 19th century work (i.e., Cesare Lombroso & Guglielmo Ferrero, see below for link) which associated red hair with lust crimes and asserted that almost half of women criminals had red hair.  Geez.

If you’re interested in this topic, here are a few links that educated me on this topic:

– Wiki on the history of red hair

– Wiki with famous list of red heads

– Duke University Press link to “Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman” by Lombroso & Ferrero

  • Amy Donovan

    Thanks! This rang true for me. I’m mainly Scottish, some English, Welsh and German. Both of my parents had dark red hair.
    In my experience people of all complexions make comments about white hair color. People pursue blond hair sometimes when they’re older but I heard a lot of “dumb and dirtzy blue eyed blond” comments and jokes until about age 30.

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Andre Walker Shares 8 Natural Hair Commandments

Andre Walker is the bomb.com.  Love him or not, he’s an Emmy-award winning genius who has his own hair care line.  He’s credited with the hair typing system (if you refer to hair as 4b or 3a, you have his original typing system to thank).  He also famously styled Oprah Winfrey’s fabulously fluffy and healthy hair for her show.

Andre Walker

So, when Mr. Walker shares natural hair commandments, I take notice.  Here are the tips as shared at http://www.elle.com/news/beauty-makeup/natural-hair-tips:

Shampoo and Condition More Often
There are many schools of thought when it comes to how often you should wash your hair. Walker believes for those with dry hair, the more the better. “Many people think that dry hair should not be washed too often, but that is incorrect,” he explains. “Dry hair needs moisture, water is moisture. Use water and highly moisturizing products to deliver moisture to your hair.”

Rinse Shampoo Thoroughly
Rinse for an extra minute or two in the shower to make sure you get all the shampoo out of your hair. This will leave you with less frizz and extra shine.

Condition From Roots to Tips
Make sure to get conditioner on your whole entire head. Leave on for a few minutes before you rinse to lock in the moisture.

Related: Why Can’t a Black Woman Have a Perfect Bedhead?

Deep Condition
During the dry winter months, deep conditioning treatments are essential to combat breakage and frizz. If you can’t make it to the salon, you can easily do a DIY version at home. Simply shampoo your hair and rinse it out with hot water, then add a conditioner throughout. Dampen a towel with hot water, ring out the excess, and wrap it around your head. Place a shower cap over the towel to lock in the heat and keep things in place. Once the towel gets cool, soak it again and rewrap. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes.

Do Not Brush
When styling natural hair, Walker says it’s best not to disturb the curl pattern as it dries. Brushing, combing, even touching your hair will cause frizz.

Go to Bed With a Ponytail
If you want to keep frizz at bay, don’t wear your hair down when you sleep. Lying on your curls will cause them to frizz and straighten out. Instead, Walker suggests loosely pulling all of your hair into a pony at the center of your crown.

Related: Why I Stopped Relaxing My Hair

Sleep on Silk
Cotton pillowcases absorb moisture and will dry your hair out and cause breakage. Switch to silk or satin and you’ll keep the moisture in your hair (and feel that much more luxurious).

Get Misty
To freshen up kinks, curls, or waves that may have drooped or frizzed when you don’t have time to shampoo and condition, mist your hair lightly with water (be careful not to saturate it too much) and add a small amount of styling product and Argan oil.

 

 

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Halle Berry: In Court Against Ex Over Daughter’s Hair?

Hair MATTERS.  I don’t know Halle Berry, Gabriel Aubry, or their daughter but if anything about this story is true, it is just SAD to me.

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First, their daughter is six years old, so any chemical process (straightening, coloring, etc.) seems ridiculous.  What is the point?  Second, if there is any truth to the goal of denying the little girl’s Black heritage, well…THAT is even sadder.

Below is an excerpt from a 11/24/14 article on www.dailymail.co.uk; what do you all think? Would you take your spouse or ex to court over this?

BTW, I decided NOT to post a picture of their daughter, let’s leave the children out of this.  I wish the paparazzi would stop hounding these parents for their children’s pictures.  Can you imagine how traumatic that would be?

Excerpt from article on Dailymail.co.uk:

Oscar winner Halle Berry’s ex made ‘completely and totally unacceptable’ racial slurs against the actress – and dyed their six-year-old daughter’s hair blonde, it was revealed in court today.

The star took her former love, Gabriel Aubry, to court, accusing him of straightening their little girl Nahla’s naturally curly hair and lightening it over the past year in a bid to deny her African-American heritage.

As a result, Halle said in court documents, Aubry had caused Nahla ‘potential psychological and physical damage’ – and could cause her to wonder ‘why her natural appearance is not good enough’.

A judge ruled today that neither Halle nor Aubry can now change Nahla’s hair, while court records obtained by MailOnline show that Aubry has made shocking racist remarks against the star”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2847893/Halle-Berry-s-ex-Gabriel-Aubry-totally-unacceptable-racial-slurs-against-Hollywood-star-explosive-court-papers-reveal-accuses-causing-daughter-psychological-damage-dyeing-hair-blonde.html#ixzz3K25FQBl0
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Carol Rossetti’s Sublime Work

I love supporting work that I find beautiful and inspiring.  Lay your eyes on the beautiful work of Carol Rossetti (http://carolrossettidesign.tumblr.com/).  This piece on Afrocentric hair is sublime.  What do you think?

 

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LOVE OUT LOUD! Ms. Verta Ayanna’s Beautiful, Personal Story (Part 2 of 2)

love it and let it go

part 2

by verta ayanna

http://www.vertaayanna.com/blog/

naa sees verta

i have come to learn that alopecia is the medical term for balding.  like so many things, using the term alopecia alone is not descriptive enough.  it does not encompass or adequately define the various types of alopecia that exist. when i returned for the results, dr. jones told me that i had two forms: androgenetic alopecia and scarring alopecia. i am not a doctor, however, experience is making me more expert at understanding my alopecia.

androgenetic alopecia is in essence pattern baldness.  yes, my eyes got wide too. it generally affects men and women differently. for me it started with the shedding/thinning hair i was experiencing. i would literally have large amounts of hair in my hands after running my fingers through it. over time this form of baldness will likely lead to thinning hair mostly at the crown of my head and eventually could lead to baldness in that area.  scarring alopecia, as i understand it, is a relatively rare diagnosis and it can only be diagnosed with a biopsy. there are several forms of scarring alopecia and symptoms usually include burning, itching and pain in addition to hair loss.  the hair follicle is destroyed under the scalp in scarring alopecia and in its end stage results in smooth, clean, bald surfaces on the scalp (scars) that can be raised.  to prevent permanent hair loss it has to be treated pretty aggressively.

since my diagnosis in 2013, i have received several injections in my scalp. i am being treated with kenalog, a steroid solution. this is injected directly into my scalp and it hurts. i started with injections every six weeks. then every three months and now every four to six months depending on how i am responding. eventually i will only need the injections once a year. according to dr.jones and no second occurrence of balding to date, i am responding well. in fact, hair has actually grown in places on my scalp it was not present before.

alopecia, while ego threatening, is not life threatening. i chose an aggressive treatment because i still cannot and currently don’t have to imagine life as a bald or balding woman. shortly after i was diagnosed i decided to dye my hair blonde. my new motto on hair is “if i may lose it anyway, then no regrets” i have long adored dark skinned women with blonde tresses. my entire life i felt i could never pull that off. i was wrong. alopecia taught me that. currently my hair is exactly representative of who i am becoming on the inside. a more bold, more honest, more open and more confident version of myself.

alopecia is teaching me to let go of some of the external things i use to define myself. i am being forced to slowly let go of hair as such a strong definer because it is deciding to slowly let go of me. alopecia is a reminder that i am meant to grow. that with each passing day, every cell in my body is growing older, just as it should. i, just like you, am miraculous in this way. i am not ready to lose my hair, yet i know that i will one day. in accepting this inevitability i get to use my hair to weave whatever identity i choose to or not. i get to love it and let it go.

 

 

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LOVE OUT LOUD! Ms. Verta Ayanna’s Beautiful, Personal Story (Part 1 of 2)

love it and let it go

Part 1

by verta ayanna

http://www.vertaayanna.com/blog/

in january 2013 my hair fell out. a huge patch of hair, the size of the motherland that blessed me with my divine kinks as far as i was concerned, was gone. it was not especially gradual. one day i recall hair, somewhat thinning, but hair none the less. the next day, bald. smooth as a new years baby’s bottom.

for months i strategically wore my hair in what i like to call the contained fro. the style too many of us with naturals sport when our fros are too much for twa status and no where near the goal length of the natural hair goddesses we aspire to become. the beautiful ones who are posted on our bathroom mirrors as daily inspiration or torture. i would fold what hair i had left over itself at the nape of my neck to cover my bald spot; slip a thin headband around my head; pull till the right amount of fro was contained and the right amount exposed and carry on with my day. the hair had started to grow back slowly. this little bit of new growth allowed me a bit of false hope and a great deal of true denial.

i convinced myself it was stress. i self diagnosed to avoid the possibility that something more serious was to blame. when my best friend saw my bald spot, she stayed composed and said “you need to see a doctor.” she never says that. she is ghanaian, super smart and has a PhD from google so generally offers up all kinds of accurate and alternative solutions for my ailments. i didn’t go.  not right away. i had work. i had children to raise. i was too busy with life. i was scared. when i had amassed a decent amount of new growth, i made two appointments — one to get my hair cut and one to see a dermatologist.

i wanted to find a black, female dermatologist because i needed to see someone who would understand. understand that like most women, i have over-identified with what was on top of my head as opposed to what was inside of it more than i care to admit. understand that my hair defies gravity and grows towards the sun and the gods in tight brilliant coils. i needed someone i could see a little bit of myself in and feel comforted because deep down i knew it was more than stress that was to blame for my recent hair loss.

in april 2013 i sat in dr. elena jones’ chair for the first time. she examined my scalp and immediately said, “we need to do a biopsy.” six words no one ever wants to hear. the moment i heard biopsy i thought cancer. i said to myself, i didn’t even know there was such a thing as scalp cancer.  i will have to google that when i leave the office. dr. jones was not testing for cancer. she was testing to see what form of alopecia i had. she used her scalpel to cut out a small piece of my scalp to be sent to the lab. she gave me two stitches and told me to come back in a week for the results. like so many, the only form of alopecia i was familiar with was alopecia areata totalis.i was already deciding what earrings i would need to wear to detract from my bald … everything.

i have come to learn that alopecia is the medical term for balding.  like so many things, using the term alopecia alone is not descriptive enough.  it does not encompass or adequately define the various types of alopecia that exist. when i returned for the results, dr. jones told me that i had two forms: androgenetic alopecia and scarring alopecia. i am not a doctor, however, experience is making me more expert at understanding my alopecia.

scarring alopeica 2

Scarring alopecia

androgenetic alopecia 2

Androgenetic Alopecia

  • Camille DeFreitaa

    I appreciate you in every way!

  • erica addison

    The PhD from Google. Loved that one, and am gonna steal it! Thanks for this story. Can’t wait to read part 2!

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