Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hair Ads from the Late Nineteenth Century

Speaking of hair-race connections, and the roots of the issue for women...

Check out these ads for hair products appearing in negro periodicals in the late nineteenth century (I love microfilm!):

In the first one, we see that curly hair, of course, must be made straight. You don't want the terribly "wild" curly look pictured on the left--your life will be much better after using this "wonderful discovery" to make it straight.
Straight = better.

In the next one, pay attention to the adjectives describing blacks' natural hair, which they should definitely straighten so it will be longer and flowing on their shoulders as pictured: "Positively straighten knotty, nappy, kinky, troublesome, refractory hair..." Hair that in its natural state needs to be fixed. The desired result? "Causes the hair to grow long and straight, soft and fine, and beautiful as an April morning."

It's obvious whom these are marketed to--we can assume advertisers want consumers to see themselves in the images. WOMEN.


D. Scribe said...

It is funny how you make the observation about ads being targeted to women, given what my husband saw the other day. He told me he was out with my son and saw a thirteen year old black boy with his hair relaxed to imitate the look that best fit with his Skater persona. The teenager was with a white woman, who appeared to be his mother. My son did a double take when he saw this. It was such an unusual sight. I still wonder how that hairstyle is working out for that boy in allowing him to feel more accepted.

Summer and Stuart said...

Hi! Thanks so much for your sweet comment on our blog :)
I have been enjoying your blog, as well!
I truly appreciate your honesty, humor, and sincerity. And I learn something new every time you post! :)
Please keep writing!!

wren said...

I'm trying something new and perhaps stupid on K's loc's now. It involves a crochet hook and a lot of fuzz - but I'm hoping that the roots of the locs will lock, now! We'll have to get your thoughts... do you know anything about retightening, cuz I think that's what we're doing...

Liberty said...

With the crochet hook technique, what you're doing is called "interlocking." I've heard good things. Let me know how it goes!

Thanks for stopping by. I see you've been writing about gaming's influence? :)