February 13, 2015
Major and Classification
Rooted in Oppression: The Growth of the Natural Hair Movement
Black women in America have straightened their hair for hundreds of years in an effort to appeal to Eurocentric beauty standards. Throughout history, natural hair has acted as a barrier to spheres of power such as higher education and the corporate world. However, over the past five years relaxer sales decreased over 25% while product lines geared toward natural hair rapidly flourished and expanded. This analysis explores Black women’s recent motivations to embrace their natural hair and the interplay between social media and the marketing of natural hair care products. Women that went natural within the past five years were frequently motivated by personal health rather than the ability to make a political statement, and YouTube had a profound impact on participants’ transitions into natural hair.