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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


This project seeks to explore and understand hair performance by black and coloured females in Cape Town and understand 1) its possible political significance and 2) its social role. This ISP will attempt to explore the construction of hair as a symbol of class and beauty by looking at its historical significance. In this paper, I will investigate how young women in Cape Town, specifically black and coloured women, choose to represent themselves through hair and explore the connotations attached to their particular hairstyle choice. Furthermore, in this paper I will try to answer the following questions 1) Do black women feel societal pressures to straighten their hair, 2) If, so, why? And 3) Do their personal choice in regards to their hair, whether natural or straightened, reflect any political or social stance or movement?


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Women's Studies



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