Posts tagged with "hair" - Faerye Net 2008-12-22T20:32:09+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Random note: doll diversity 2008-12-22T20:32:09+00:00 2008-12-22T20:36:09+00:00 <p>In my interwebby travels, I found myself at a list of <a href="" target="links">black dolls</a> available from a web store, linked to by a <a href="" target="links">blogger suggesting dolls for Zahara Jolie-Pitt</a>. Yes, I was reading a blog about the care of African-American hair. No, I can&#8217;t remember why. It&#8217;s the internet, it&#8217;s like that.</p> <p>Anywho, looking at the ranges of dolls reminded me of something from my childhood: my favorite dolls were Asian (and Pacific Islander). My favorite Barbie for many years was a Hawaiian doll named <a href="" target="links">Miko</a>, who was succeeded upon her eventual decapitation (Mom always told me not to take them outside &#8212; dropping Barbies on the sidewalk is fatal) by an Asian-American <a href="" target="links">doll named Kira</a>. I was already deeply ambiguous about Barbies as a child, thanks to my feminist upbringing, but I did like them and created epic storylines where they warred around the room in various outfits (the blondes were usually the villains.)</p> <p>I had forgotten why Miko and Kira were my favorites until I was looking at the above-linked list of black dolls. Several of the dolls are parts of lines that include <a href="" target="links">a blonde doll, an &#8220;Asian&#8221; doll, and a &#8220;Black&#8221; doll.</a> Some, like the one I linked above, include a redhead. Some lines have <a href="" target="links">a whole mess of white dolls</a> (in this case, with crazy hair colors) with one &#8220;Asian&#8221; and one &#8220;Black&#8221;. Another side note: apparently you can&#8217;t have Asian or Black dolls with purple hair when all the white dolls have pink, lavender, et cetera &#8212; the Asian doll has just streaks of pink, while the Black doll has black hair and what really look like hair-curlers. I hope many theses have been written on this stuff, because <em>damn</em>.</p> <p>My point is that toy companies now apparently try to satisfy diversity, when they do at all, by rounding out their lines with one Black doll and one Asian doll. This was even less widespread when I was a little brunette (and my hair was almost black as a child) &#8212; mostly there was just one white doll, usually blonde, and if there was another option she was black. I grabbed any doll with light skin and dark hair I could &#8212; and often they were Asian dolls (I saw ads for brunette Barbie friend Teresa but never found her in the store.) Heck, I even grabbed redhead Midges, to have a relief from the sea of blonditude.</p> <p>So I have to wonder what little Latina girls are getting at the toy store. I&#8217;ve heard that retail spending by Latinas (teens and up, but still) is the fastest growing in America. So why the hell wouldn&#8217;t you make a doll with dark hair? It seems that there&#8217;s some realization that Bratz&#8217;s diversity as well as their much-vaunted &#8220;style&#8221; made them popular &#8212; Barbie&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">attempt to hit back at Bratz</a> had black, Asian-American and brown-haired white dolls, and was adding a Hispanic doll. But it&#8217;s still puzzling to me that the blond hegemony is so firmly in place overall. Dark hair is a dominant trait &#8212; there&#8217;s a lot of us. If rarity were the rationale, all dolls would be redheads. Since that&#8217;s not the case, what&#8217;s with the lack of brunettes?</p> <p>I made this a rambling, casual note on purpose because this is one of those topics that yawns before you, demanding endless research, and it isn&#8217;t really my field. But seriously, why so few brunettes? And is this Asian/brunette partial equivalency well-established, because now Barbie seems to sell more Teresas and no Kiras?</p> The Beauty Myth Kills 2007-10-04T21:17:16+00:00 2008-05-30T13:44:06+00:00 <p>I heard <a href="" target="links">this segment</a> on &#8220;Fresh Air&#8221; today. It&#8217;s about how cancer-fighting efforts tend to focus on detection and treatment rather than figuring out what environmental factors cause cancer. I&#8217;ve heard whispers about this before, especially about breast cancer and the way money pours into big companies that make cancer-fighting drugs and also make things like pesticides and fertilizers. But the first thing this doctor discusses on the show is a terribly specific, horrifying thing.</P> <p>Apparently, in the US, black women under 40 get breast cancer massively more often than white women under 40, despite the fact that if you line up known risk factors and demographic data, young black women should get breast cancer <em>less</em>. Dr. Davis hypothesizes that one environmental factor is beauty products. Many black women in America go into chemical-filled beauty salons often, from a young age, and undergo regular harsh treatments for &#8216;relaxing&#8217;, &#8216;straightening&#8217;, et c. According to Dr. Davis, the US government doesn&#8217;t strictly oversee the contents of toiletries well&#8230;and of course, as she indicates time and again, we don&#8217;t <em>know</em> what chemicals to ban, even if we were overseeing things carefully.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve read about the pressure &mdash; some of it economic, not &#8220;merely&#8221; social and aesthetic &mdash; on African-American women about their hair. (If you&#8217;re curious, <a href="" target="links">this post</a> is a good intro, and links to many more in-depth blog posts.) This pressure is not &#8216;mere&#8217; in any way, and extends far beyond hair. (If you click on one link in this blog post, please click on this one: <a href="" target="links"><em>A Girl Like Me</em></a>, a 7-minute film by Kiri Davis. It is amazing &mdash; there&#8217;s a part that makes me cry, but also some intelligent young women being devastatingly articulate.) But if Dr. Davis is right and the effect of &#8216;beauty&#8217; products is sufficient to skew cancer statistics in this way&#8230;then America&#8217;s beauty culture is killing more people than we thought. More than just people with eating disorders or teens with suicidal self-hatred. The world tells huge numbers of women their natural hair is so hideous it has to be transmogrified, tortured, tamed &mdash; and it sells them poison to do it with? How ugly can you get?</p> Braids: a random babble 2006-01-29T13:08:02+00:00 2008-06-08T15:20:44+00:00 <p>One of my mission statements <a href="" target="links">back when I started this crazy thing</a> was to remind my distant friends to be glad that I&#8217;m all the way across the country from them. Today I thought I&#8217;d pursue that mission statement with a very random series of thoughts.</p> <p>I know I&#8217;m not the only girl in the world who is so addicted to changing her hair that she wishes she could just press a button and have an entirely new hairstyle every single morning. One of the most frustrating parts about the syndrome is missing your <em>long</em> hair when your hair is short &mdash; and for me, at least, the big thing I miss is braids. I don&#8217;t miss brushing it out or conditioning it or my mom complaining about the long hairs clogging up the vacuum (let me tell you, it&#8217;s hard to argue with the blame assignment when everyone else has a maximum of five inches on top.)</p><p> I miss braids. Little braids swinging in amongst the rest of the mane, big heavy braids to mess with while you&#8217;re thinking, twin braids to make you feel six years old and full of mischief. Even now, with that lovely &#8216;new hairstyle&#8217; feeling in my tousled head, I can&#8217;t watch <em>Xena</em> without noticing braids on either the W.P. or the annoying blonde and feeling just a bit wistful.</p><p>And of course, the cream of the crop, French braids. I remember when French braiding was a coveted commodity. A few moms, mostly moms with gigantic broods of girls, could French braid, and the rest of us would peer covetously at their daughters&#8217; beautifully woven tresses. As you got older, some girls learned, and you might come home from a slumber party with a gorgeous, slightly aching braid; or a disappointing, lopsided one<sup><a href="#fn1">1</a></sup>. At some point, my father studied a picture and reverse-engineered the French braid. Then, for special occasions, I could sit down in a kitchen chair under good light and have my hair operated on. He used two combs and a rattail, and your hair was taut as a drum when he was done. It took hours, but you could sleep on those babies for days and they&#8217;d still look pretty keen.</p> <p>Then, of course, I finally taught myself &mdash; years after my first frustrating attempts on the rebellious hair-substitute of <a href="" target="links">Samantha Parkington</a> &mdash; spurred on by the reflection that a French braid was as close as a time-starved college girl on a Halloween budget was going to get to Carrie Fisher&#8217;s hair in the Hutt Leia costume. (It may have been improvised and ragtag, but that was one of the best Halloween costumes I&#8217;ve ever had&#8230;and to those three or four people who didn&#8217;t know who I was? When you die and Yoda&#8217;s Force ghost says &#8221;&#8217;Hated all that nerd stuff&#8217; did you?&#8221;, I&#8217;ll be the high soprano singing &#8216;Another One Bites the Dust&#8217; from behind the Pearly Airlock. Or, if I&#8217;m not dead yet, I&#8217;m sure some other geek will be there for me &mdash; but I don&#8217;t know the pitch of his or her voice, sorry<sup><a href="#fn2">2</a></sup>.) The only problem with French braids is that, when you&#8217;re in your twenties, you can&#8217;t wear them to work or people talk all day about how you look like you&#8217;re fifteen. Or maybe that&#8217;s just me.</p> <p>What&#8217;s the point? Was there one? Well, I guess it was just to say: if you have long hair, appreciate the simple joy of braiding, of shaping, creating, and controlling that often rebellious medium. Because for every one of you loving your braids, there&#8217;s a gal (or guy) with a short haircut, however stylish, who&#8217;s thinking wistfully of those long, smooth plaits of yesteryear.</p> <p id="fn1"><sup>1</sup> Unless you went to a slumber party with a certain flower-named friend of mine. Then your hair would neither ache <span class="caps">NOR</span> disappoint. She could even make two French braids that <span class="caps">TURNED INTO</span> one French braid. <span class="caps">MAGIC</span>.</p> <p id="fn2"><sup>2</sup> I don&#8217;t hate non-geeks. I&#8217;ve just never trusted them, and I never will. I can never forgive them for the death of Captain Kirk&#8217;s son.</p>