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Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Johnny E. Williams


The Mane Attraction: Black Women's Hair Beauty Standards shows how white hegemony and the history of gender/racial oppression impacts black women's hair beauty standards. The theories of the matrix of domination, looking glass self, woman as other, and impression management are used to analyze and discuss the history of Black hair in America and 11 participant interviews. Although the participants rarely pointed to the impact of history or white hegemony in their discussion of how they feel about black hair, their responses reveal that there is an omnipresent, invisible hair beauty standard that stems from a history of oppression. Despite their different age groups and socioeconomic demographics, the participants showed that their hair is an important part of their lives and they are constantly striving for a certain "look". The participants' rejection of "good hair", vague assertions that "neat" hair is beautiful, and contradictory responses reflects how hegemonic standards of hair beauty are normative.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Full text access is limited to the Trinity Campus only.