Beyond the Beauty Salon: Sport, Women of Color and Their Hair
Collins, Jennifer Elizabeth
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Research concerning women of color in sport tends to center around several topics: barriers to participation, racial stereotyping, symbolic annihilation, and the intersecting axes of power that influence their involvement and representation. Furthermore, while there exists a rich body of literature that hair has inspired in black feminist scholarship, these works have overlooked the experiences of black female athletes. In this project I seek to bridge these two bodies of knowledge through focus groups and personal interviews with black female collegiate athletes. Specifically, I examine three issues related to hair in the context of black women's athletic experiences: 1) as a particular racialized, gendered, and sexualized expression of self; 2) as a signifier of "other" in sport and society; and 3) as a possible cultural barrier to specific athletic endeavors. By bridging the disconnect between the two fields, I will address the ways that hair is an embodied cultural form influencing the physical culture of women of color.