Bell Hooks: Hairtyle Stereotypes

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Women are highly impressionable when it comes to magazines, fashion, music, and films. As technology improves and expands, advertisement is able to influence a greater population than ever. When forced to live under extreme expectations of being feminine and flawless by social standards, being a woman of color has even greater challenges. Gloria Jean Watkins, popularly known as bell hooks, is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. She was born in Kentucky in 1952 and later received degrees from Stanford, University of California Santa Cruz, and University of Wisconsin. She focuses her work on American popular art, music, and literature and the effect of black female icons when presented in a white-dominated culture. When explaining the driving force behind her work, hooks says, “I began writing a book on love because I felt that the United States is moving away from love” ( She received a nomination by NAACP’s Image Award for Outstanding Children’s work and Publishers Weekly top twenty most influential women’s books for Ain’t I a Woman? One of hooks’ most insightful essays that discusses the historic exploitation of black female figures and ongoing…show more content…
The use of animal printed clothing and placing models in exotic situations exemplifies how popular culture forces the idea of dehumanization of black women onto society. A white female would never be placed in an outfit or location such as this because she represents “civilized Europe” (hooks, 114), implying that black women are barbaric and uncivilized. Clearly, hooks’ perspective suggests that society has shown little progress in its views towards black women since the 50s and 60s. Popular culture has a troubling influence over women who follow trends and begin to believe everything the media

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