Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Tiffany King

Second Advisor

Dr. Juliana Kubala

Third Advisor

Dr. Lia Bascomb

Abstract

Within popular discourse, natural hair is considered to be a source of liberation where Black women can accept and nurture their natural hair texture. My research explores the points of contention in this community and the hierarchies that exist based on length of hair, curl pattern, and texture. By using product content analysis, interviews with Black women with natural hair, and analysis of social media, this thesis brings the ideal aesthetics in the natural hair community to the forefront for closer examination. Findings insist that, in the natural hair community, a curl is more attractive than a kink, longer hair more preferable than short, and that “manageable hair” is vital to Black women’s successful performances of Black femininity. This thesis project attempts to broaden the discourse on Black women and natural hair to encourage new conversations and understand tensions in the natural hair community.

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