1. In Stereo Styles, a series of Polaroids and engravings, Lorna Simpson focuses on African American hairstyles as a strategy to reveal and subvert conventional representations of gender and race. Simpson also comments on the appropriation of African-derived hairstyles as a fashion commodity, and correlates specific hairstyles with personality traits. Hair is a physcial code tied to issues of social status and position. A scholar who has studied the cultural importance of hair pointed out,

“Hair is never a straightforward biological ‘fact’ because it is almost always groomed, cut, and generally ‘worked upon’ by human hands. Such practices socialize hair, making it the medium of significant ‘statements’ about self and society….where race structures social relations of power, hair-as visibile as skin color, but also the most tangible sign of racial differece-takes on another forcefully symbolic dimension.”

    In Stereo Styles, a series of Polaroids and engravings, Lorna Simpson focuses on African American hairstyles as a strategy to reveal and subvert conventional representations of gender and race. Simpson also comments on the appropriation of African-derived hairstyles as a fashion commodity, and correlates specific hairstyles with personality traits. Hair is a physcial code tied to issues of social status and position. A scholar who has studied the cultural importance of hair pointed out,

    Hair is never a straightforward biological ‘fact’ because it is almost always groomed, cut, and generally ‘worked upon’ by human hands. Such practices socialize hair, making it the medium of significant ‘statements’ about self and society….where race structures social relations of power, hair-as visibile as skin color, but also the most tangible sign of racial differece-takes on another forcefully symbolic dimension.”

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        I know India Arie says you are not your hair, but it’s still a part of who we are, whether black, white, yellow, red,...
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