I see from my stats that I get a lot of hits on an old blog Good Hair; Fair Skin; Feminism Or What so here is a an article on hair extensions that might interest readers. The hair extension industry grew in Europe in spite of the recession. Not that much colouring, cutting and blow drying but lots of hair extensions.
The Hair Trade’s Dirty Secret is interesting because it talks not only about the range of hair extensions offered (or that it is normalised now and no longer confined to the celebrity domain) but most importantly how customers don’t care which human head their extension comes from. Or that ‘fakeness’ has come to define female beauty.
If in his documentary Chris Rock bemoans about how the hair-products-for-African-Americans-industry is dominated by Asians he does not really touch upon the deep rooted poverty or economic difficulties of those women whose hair it is. Except for a quick trip to India and Tirupati, to see how devotees offer their hair to god, there is nothing about their exploitation. Would hair from a poor Indian woman’s head make an African-American female feel uncomfortable or does she just want to have hair like Kim Kardashian? No sisterhood of suffering here? Of course a feature length documentary is not enough to cover such complex issues.
I have thick, long, wavy hair, as I mentioned in the old post. Some years ago I cut it all off and donated it to a wig maker who made wigs for cancer stricken women.
I could never offer it ‘god’ even though my hair is a source of joy and vanity and hence worthy of sacrifice (what would god do with it anyway?). So really it is the same old story of tax free temple authorities, in cahoots with middle-men and exporters who make the profits even as the end user does not care about the source of this thing of beauty. Capitalism as we know.
This will go on of course because humans are vulnerable and tools in the hands of priests with their direct links to god so the devout will offer their hair for the very rich and the wannabes in the Western world to look and feel beautiful. Unless it becomes a fashionable and lucrative industry to protest against it. Like cruelty against animals.
That would make an interesting story. Can’t wait for some Western do-gooder-feminists to take on the Hindu priest brigade at Tirupati.