Hair As Identity Menu

Viewing all items for tag beauty messages

Permalink:

Skin, hair/pencil test and other crazy proof needed for acceptance

I am watching “Skin” a movie starring Sophie Okonedo (she plays the main character Sandra) that takes place in apartheid South Africa. In a poignant scene from the movie, Sandra is taken before government officials and subjected to inspection to determine her ethnicity. What is the first thing the inspector does? Takes his fingers and rubs her hair between his hands. The second thing he does? Puts a pencil into her tresses and asks her to shake her head. The object of this pencil test? To determine if the pencil would fall out; thereby identifying her as white. Wow!


I am watching “Skin” a movie starring Sophie Okonedo (she plays the main character Sandra) that takes place in apartheid South Africa. Here’s a link about the movie: http://www.skinthemovie.net/site/and here is a brief description of the movie that I found on Amazon.com:

Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story. Starring Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill. Based on the best-selling book “When She was White” by Judith Stone.

In a poignant scene from the movie, Sandra is taken before government officials and subjected to inspection to determine her ethnicity. What is the first thing the inspector does? Takes his fingers and rubs her hair between his hands. The second thing he does? Puts a pencil into her tresses and asks her to shake her head. The object of this pencil test? To determine if the pencil would fall out; thereby identifying her as white. Wow! I couldn’t help but be reminded of the paper bag test (allegedly used by historically black sororities to determine if members could join; those with skin darker than the paper bag could hang it up: NO admission for darker-skinned people).
I am literally watching the movie at the same time that I’m typing this post. My heart is breaking as another scene shows Sandra powdering her face with what might as well be baby powder. Even her mother says, “You look as white as a ghost”. Oh my dear. I hope that we once come to appreciate beauty of all shades, sizes and curls. Maybe one day.



  • topie

    Oh boy, I'm getting to the point where I think she's about to fall in love with a Black man. Wow! This movie is DEEP!!!!!!!

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

The Call to Beauty

I continue to wonder how women in general, and Black women in particular, became so beholden to the beauty industry.Black women were attracted to the Black beauty industry of the early twentieth century for at least two key reasons.First, the Black beauty industry promoted the message that Black women were beautiful.This message refuted larger societal notions that Blacks were bestial, unclean “people” little better than animals.Participating in and using the products promoted by the black beauty industry wasn’t just about developing pretty creatures to look at, such actions helped to convey the humanity of Black people.Second, Black women could gain wealth by participating in the beauty industry.Madam C.J. Walker is an exemplar of the self-made woman entrepreneur (http://www.madamcjwalker.com/bios/madam-c-j-walker/).

One of Madam Walker’s advertisements illustrates the call to participate and encourages participants to view her beauty company as a “haven of hope for millions”.I wonder what Ms. Walker would think about the messages directed at Black women today.

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.