Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finding Me In The Media, Part 1: Natural Hair (47/90)

The influence of the media is powerful. Especially in our perceptions and attitudes about appearance. It seems natural to want to see a vision of ourselves represented in the media. It serves as some sort of validation, without which we too often  go to great lengths to conform to whatever it is that is represented and appreciated,  at the cost of the beauty that is our individuality.

I've decided to begin a search for myself in the media. I'm curious to see what aspects of my appearance are represented in the media, and which aren't and explore reasons why.

First up: Natural Hair.

I've pulled ads of  several ads of people with natural hair from two issues of Essence magazine, a publication that targets African-American women. I expected that it would be easy to find representations of natural hair in an African-American publication. And it was.



Of course, there are still some issues. This ad, for example, is full of irony. Mizani is a black hair care line. In this ad, the featured product line is for natural hair. Only this model has a head full of weave, with a curly, kinky texture. What is that saying? To me it screams that real natural hair isn't good enough, not even for a natural hair product line. 

Then I searched in five different mainstream magazines. And here's what I found.

I'm pleased with the amount of ads featuring people with natural hair, but  again, I expected what I found there. It's a black publication and the advertisers tailor their ads for their target market, which are African-American females. 

As for the five mainstream media magazines that I searched and found only two ads with natural hair, I'm disappointed.  I think it's sad that I had to search several magazines and found only 2 non-weave, natural hair images. And I'm sure there are more, if I search. But should I have to search, becomes the  question. 

But this is only my experience on finding me in the media, what's yours? 


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