Chapter

Yvonne's Wig: Gender and the Racialized Body

Maxine Leeds Craig

in Ain't I a Beauty Queen?

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152623
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849345 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152623.003.0006
Yvonne's Wig: Gender and the Racialized Body

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This chapter looks at the rearticulation of race in light of gender differences. The new meanings and practices of race had different consequences for black men and black women. In 1964, very few African American men straightened their hair and virtually all African American women did. When men gave up straightened hairdos, they became more conventionally masculine. Women who ceased straightening their hair did so at the risk of sacrificing their femininity. Though the experience and meaning of wearing straightened hair was quite different for men compared with for women, a gender-neutral discourse of racial pride masked the differences.

Keywords: African Americans; hairstyle; black men; black women; straightened hair

Chapter.  9394 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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