The Impact of Hair on African American Women’s Collective Identity Formation
The Black Pride and Power Movements of the 1960s and 1970s changed the aesthetic of the larger African American community, promoting self-affirmation and reclaiming African pride. As individuals engaged in the movement, they began to internalize new meanings and understandings of themselves, leading to self-transformation and collective identity that promoted the specific political ideology and agenda of the group. In this research, the lived experiences of African American women who were emerging adults (ages 18–25) during the Civil Rights Movement from 1960 to 1974 were examined, through in-depth interviews, to understand their experiences with wearing natural hairstyles during this time. Seven participants highlighted how wearing natural hair was used in the three dimensions of collective identity formation: boundaries, consciousness, and negotiation. Participants’ counterhegemonic use of appearance constructed, created, and negotiated a collective identity that was aligned with demonstration for racial equality of African Americans.
This article is published as Garrin, A., & Marcketti, S. B. (2018). The impact of hair on African American women’s collective identity formation. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 36(2),104-118. Doi: 10.1177/0887302X17745656. Posted with permission.