#2

  1. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?
  2. Again we see the term performativity being used.  Why?  What work does it perform on the body?
  3. Foucault describes biopolitics as method of disciplinary power by the state designed to order bodies and their actions.  How does this inform the politics of hair?
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22 thoughts on “#2

  1. Question #2:

    In “ ‘A Mexican Who Looks Like You’: Reflections on the Politics of Hair from Outside the Black/White Binary,” Kimberlee Pérez discusses the performativity of hair. More specifically, Pérez considers the performativity of her dreadlocked hair. Prior to this, we explored the performativity of gender. This is the idea that gender is a performance rather than something that occurs naturally. Pérez describes her hair as “performing” because it actively communicates an identity to those around her. The performance of her hair influences the interactions she has with others. She states, “Over the last ten years of walking through the world with dreadlocked hair, I have unsystematically collected the stories it prompts and are prompted by it” (Pérez 397). These stories are prompted by what her hair communicates. In her skin, she can racially pass as white, but she uses her hair to tell the story of her otherness. However she is disappointed that the narrative often told is not the one that she would prefer. She states. “In public, my hair, like my racially passing body, is absent its meaningful, private stories” (397). The personal stories get lost within the interpretations of others. As a woman of color, her hair is used to label her. She observes, “Hair, like race, is not often marked or theorized on nonblack bodies” (397). This is a right reserved only for black and brown bodies. The parallels drawn between hair and race further express the work that is performed on the body. By her hair, like her skin tone, existing within a public space, it leaves the opportunity for others to make assumptions about her body and identity.

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  2. In “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair”, heteronormativity informs how voters read facial hair (or lack thereof) when it comes to male candidates. The paper argues that “facial hair makes men appear overly masculine, having strong support for use of violence and little support for feminist views” (1301). These voters’ readings of male candidates’ facial hair are influenced by heterosexual norms, because the voters are assuming the candidates’ positions on issues according to what they perceive to be more masculine physical characteristics. In essence, these voters are saying that it is more natural, or normal, for men with facial hair to have strong support for violence. This view is heteronormative because it suggests that an individual’s physical characteristics are somehow in alignment with certain gender roles. It suggests that there is something essential about gender that can be discerned through physical appearance.
    In other words, heteronormativity affects the politics of hair when people project their heterosexual norms onto the bodies they come across. If facial hair is seen as a norm of manhood, then men with facial hair are going to be seen as more normal and are going to be assumed to also have identities that are thought to be more typical of men. This is certainly evident in “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair,” where, despite the fact that “issue perceptions based on facial hair are not likely correct,” (1311) voters will use their perceptions of a candidate’s gender to infer all types of other things about a candidate.

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  3. Kimberlee Perez discusses performativity in her article “’A Mexican who looks like you’: Reflections on the Politics of Hair from Outside the Black/White Binary” by shedding light on her personal encounters with people in regards to her dreadlocked hair and her ethnicity. In the article she repeats the phrase “I never met a Mexican who looks like you” to describe how not only her hair, but also how her skin color performs in a way for individuals to identify/label her. Because she falls in the middle of the Black and White Binary it creates a social dilemma in regards to how people view her. She mentioned in the article “hair and skin move together” (Perez 396) which basically means that one’s skin color and hair performs and communicates to the people around them, which relates to how she interacts with people who she has just met. (Her skin is light, so individuals would correspond that to being white; not Mexican. Her hair is locked, so individuals would correspond that to not being white/Mexican). Because hair is not theorized on non-colored bodies it shows that there are racial binary boxes individuals are being put in socially and as some result individuals who do not conform to them are being left for interpretation.

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  4. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    Heteronormativity is a phrase formulated by Michael Warner in 1991,in his work on critical theory. This terms is considered to be the norm by which our culture coordinates, and assumes that people are naturally placed in distinct genders of man and woman with appropriate roles in life. In general , men and women have different physical futures, where hair can play a role in describing genders, and their position with in society. Further more, the article “Razor’s Edge: The Politics Facial Hair” debates whether facial hair has any effect on male candidates, and their political views. As stated in the reading : “Many other studies have found facial hair associated with the perception of masculine traits, such as competency, composure, and personality traits such as strong, bold, aggressive, powerful, pleasant, generous, outgoing, dominant, and open-minded (Hellstrom and Tekle, 1994; Addison, 1989; Reed and Blunk, 1990).”The belief is that if a man has facial hair he is more masculine. Society can build different perceptions based on this insignificant bodily feature , and place people into various cultural brackets. “Muscarella and Cunningham (1996) use evolutionary theory to suggest that facial hair is associated with aggressiveness and masculinity. Facial hair follows puberty in the male but has little real value except as a signal of maleness and dominance. The beard in particular increases the size of the lower jaw, which is important since teeth, evolutionarily, were seen as a weapon.”
    Heteronormativity is considered to be the “ criteria” by which culture places males and females into social roles. For in the article “Razor Edge” it is shown that facial hair sends: “ signal to voters about their masculinity by their choice of whether to shave.”

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  5. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    Heteronormativity can be loosely defined as denoting or relating to a worldview that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation. Heteronormativity also lends itself to the belief in two distinct, yet complementary, genders that maintain or uphold specific “natural” roles in life. Heteronormativity influences and affects many areas of our lives; including the politics of hair.
    One’s hair can either confirm or deconstruct ideas of heteronormativity. For instance, a woman having a beard deconstructs heteronormative beliefs which would suggest that facial hair is an indicator and attribute of masculinity or manhood. A woman with a beard, in the U.S. which is a heteronormative society, would raise eyebrows and turn heads; it would be seen as abnormal. On the other hand, a man with a beard not only confirms heteronormative beliefs but is a result of them. Men grow beards for a number of reasons including but not limited to, “biological connections to being male…to express their masculinity…or to appear masculine to compensate for feelings of limited masculinity” (Herrick, Morehouse Mendez, Pryor, 1303). In a heteronormative society men are told (subliminally or directly) to be a man’s man, or to be masculine, aggressive bodies. Men use facial hair to do so, or to make up for not doing so. There are also cases where men grow beards, goatees, or mustaches simply because they have the biological makeup to do so.
    On the other hand, while heteronormativity promotes growing of hair for males, it promotes the removal of hair for females. Removing facial, pubic or other hair from female bodies confirms heteronormative beliefs about women; that should take the necessary steps to be attractive to males, no matter how painful. Fahs argues that, “women’s body alteration practices represent a tangible manifestation of how women (including feminist women) internalize social control mechanisms…women do gender (West & Zimmerman, 1987) and do body work not only manage their own anxieties but also to manage the anxieties and expectations of others (Gimlin 2007; Kwan & Trautner, 2009)” (Fahs, 2011, p.452). Fahs goes on to examine how body hair removal and “traditional femininity” are connected (453). In the article she states that body hair removal is fairly new practice and evolved in the 30’s when changes in fashion and beauty standards occurred (Fahs, 2011, p. 453). And as a result of these changes women began removing “leg, underarm, or pubic hair”. In other words, women removed their body hair to appear beautiful in society’s eyes as well as to fit into the normative behavior. When a man grooms or removes hair on his body (for instance shaving his underarms or legs) he is seen as metrosexual. Metrosexual males can have their masculinity challenged or questioned more so than a male that does not remove hair from these areas on their bodies.
    The growth or removal of facial hair and hair on other parts of men’s and women’s bodies are direct effects of heteronormativism and when one steps outside of their “natural role” their identity as a man or woman is questioned.

    “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair” – Rebekah herrick, Jeanette Morehouse Mendez, & Ben Pryor. (2015)

    “Dreaded Otherness: Heteronormative Patrolling in Women’s Body Hair Rebellions” – Breanne Fahs. (2011)

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  6. Renee George

    How does Heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    Heteronormativity is not only the theory that heterosexuality is between a man and a woman; the idea of what is normal and how same sex is abnormal, but how it also affects the politics of hair. The politics of hair come about in how society judges and criticize the appearance and behaviors on what a man and women should be observed as to be. The idea of having a hairy body for example, is less looked upon the norm for a female. Rather than a man who can be hairy as much as he wants and be looked as ordinary. Since it is the norm for a male to be stereotyped as the hair sex. For instance, TV commercials that advertise women using shaving foam and a special razor specially made for women and their sensitive skin. It shows her shaving her legs and underarms, and in result her skin is clean and smooth as ever. It would be unrealistic of seeing a man in a commercial where he is shaving his legs or underarms, because in society it is taught that behavior is not masculine for a man to shave those areas. This shows the concept that give the notion that the norm is for women to be hairless on their bodies and clean, and men to be the hairier and messy sex. Another way that politics affect the hair, is how people stereotype hair on an individual’s head. The norm is for women to have long hair, although if she didn’t but her hair is short or a bald, she would be theologized into looking as a boy. With males it is the opposite as where if he had long hair and not bald or buzzed cut he would be stereotyped as looking like a female. This is to show the distinction on stereotyping the norm in appearance on what is the idea of how men and women hair should look like in distinguishing between the two genders.
    In the early years of a child’s life, schools are the first ones to introduce body behaviors. They use hidden curriculums to reinforce the heteronormative of society in which they live in. The performance in a heteronormativity society might change the discrimination of what people think. It creates an illusion of there is a choice but really there isn’t. Schools teach children at a young age that there are two gender identities and two ways to behave. This plays a part on how we view on hair. At a young age we are taught the characteristics perceiving on what a boy and a girl body are supposed to look and behave like according to the heteronormative society views on the norm of hair for instance. In Karen A. Martin’s article “Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools” Foucault argues that, society and their institutions disciplined and ordered bodies through power. Discipline the body consists of gendering it making gender appear natural. In a heteronormative society politicizing on hair deals with the idea of the norm and how naturally it contributes to gendering and stereotyping bodies. Which some people are unconsciously taught and reinforced in school at an early age.

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  7. 1. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    According to Everyday Feminism, heteronormativity “is a system that works to normalize behaviors and societal expectations that are tied to the presumption of heterosexuality and an adherence to a strict gender binary.” Now when discussing the effects of heteronormativity on the politics of hair, we must consider not only the hair on our heads, but also on the rest of our bodies, including the face. In the article titled “A Mexican Who Looks Like You,” Kimberlee Perez addresses her own life in an artistic manner, analyzing the stereotypical cloud put on her life. Ms. Perez is a Mexican with light skin, blue eyes, and blonde locks, which is not the explicit Mexicans seen here in the United States, or at all for that matter. She is seen as white and admits she has a “racially passing body,” which leads us to believe that society has grouped and labeled her incorrectly with a misleading identity due to the way she physically looks. On the other hand of the spectrum in the article “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair,” we see an insightful focus on the facial hair of men. Facial hair on men in general terms has been seen to “increase their masculinity and thirst for war” and can be “associated with aggressiveness.” But when we take a step back, can the same thing be argued for women? What if I had a beard? Would I have an increase of masculinity and automatically be associated with aggressiveness? It’s a double standard that society has placed among us, which is where heteronormativity and the politics of hair come together. Heteronormativity directly affects the politics of hair as soon as a gender steps out of their role that society has molded for them, and ultimately hazes their physical identity, including how they are perceived by the world. We should not be held within a strict gender binary, rather people should be able to be whomever they choose, where whatever they’d like, and embrace all the positivity that comes along with structuring your own life, in terms of gender and identity. Unfortunately, we are so quick to make snap judgements and assumptions, so the world isn’t quite there yet, but we must challenge the norms to even attempt progress with this movement.

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  8. 2. Again we see the term performativity being used. Why? What work does it perform on the body?

    Last week the idea of performativity in terms of how dressing and behaving is just a superficial way of displaying gender, and this week the readings did the same but to portray race. In “A Mexican Who Looks Like You,” Kimberlee Pérez talks about her experience as a Mexican woman who did not appear to be her race in the eyes of other people. This brings forth the question of how people’s bodies can be racially categorized based on appearance; along those same lines is that certain hair can also be distinctive of a race. So, in the case of Pérez, she did not “appear” to be her race because of her skin, hair and eye color. Her hair also served as her performance. She wore her hair in locks, which is non-traditional for “white” hair, which caused her to further stray from the binary racial categories: black and white. As a Latina, Pérez identifies as being “brown,” but the binary racial genres do not allow her express that since people immediately categorize her as white based on her fair appearance. Her locks suggest a different race, which, I perceive, could make the statement that if her complexion conveys one race, but her hair another, what does it all really mean anyway? Are they just things that can help society to identify a person as a certain race, and if so what is the point of doing so? Pérez suggests that the reason people may choose to “perform” a certain way, is a “personal decision” individuals make because they identify with certain aspect of a particular dress or hairstyle and not because they are trying to appropriate any facets of race. Ultimately the performance of appearance is only done in order to be identified by society and perhaps because individuals do actually identify with certain aspects of the reason behind a performance.

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  9. 2. Again we see the term performativity being used. Why? What work does it perform on the body?

    In the article, “A Mexican Who Looks Like You”: Reflections on the Politics of Hair from Outside the Black/White Binary, Kimberlee Perez talks about the performativity and she emphasizes more specifically on her dreadlocked hair. She mentions in the article “Hair and skin move together” (Perez, 396) which really means that one is judged by the skin color and also how they style their hair. For example, as she explains in the article, her skin is light, therefore people would consider her as being white but her hair is locked so then they don’t see her as being white, which puts her in the middle of Black and White Binary. She also states that “The performativity of hair, then, is similar to, and with, the performativity of race” (397). This clearly states that similar to performative of race, performative of hair also effect the interactions with others.This concludes that people’s bodies are being racially classified based on appearance specifying in hair and skin color.

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  10. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    I have a beard and it is just a part of my life. I have it partially because I’m lazy and don’t like to shave but I also think I look better with it than with out it. I really have never given it a second thought. Until I read the article “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair” I never even thought about what other people thought of my beard. Honestly I could care less what people think of it. I like it and that’s all that really matters if other people form opinions based only on my appearance I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with them anyway. All that said if my wife had a beard I do think it would be weird! Obviously if a woman sports a beard it is definitely not the norm however in terms of being mistaken for more masculine I’d have to believe that’s true. As someone mentioned in class today if we were presented with two females one of whom had a beard I know I would assume she wasn’t the most feminine women on the planet. I feel bad about saying that because I would be forming an opinion based only on looks and as I mentioned before I wouldn’t appreciate a person doing that to me.

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  11. #2

    Kimberlee Perez talks about the performativity of her hair in, “‘A Mexican Who Looks Like You…'”, regarding her dreadlocks. We discussed performativity in class before, when it came to gender. The conclusion was that gender does not occur naturally, we actually are taught to perform the way our genders are expected to. For Perez, “hair and skin move together”, meaning that they establish a meaning and communicate something about the person you are observing. Perez most likely used performativity because she believes her hair ‘performs’ for people in the sense that there is always judgement when she walks in public. Because her skin is white, people are offended at the notion of her having dreadlocks. Perez recalls a moment: ” The black woman who calls me the white bitch and wants to
    know who I think I am. She is angry with my performance, insists on an accounting for this appropriation”. Performativity, like gender, can also apply to race, which is something we think we know by looking at the color of someones skin or hair. Perez makes her case by stating, “Yet hair—all hair—is political. Is raced. Is relational. The
    performativity of hair, then, is similar to, and with, the performativity of race. If hair as a public performative constitutes relations, then it is the racial formations that construct and organize the public that infuse the performative and the relations with meaning”.

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  12. 1. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    The U.S. is a very heteronormative society which provides only two distinct categories; male or female. It does not allow its people to identify as anything other than man or woman. There are many factors that help differentiate between a male and a female other than the genitalia. Most people already know that those factors include clothes, colors and body movement however, it is not common knowledge that hair is also an important factor that contributes to heteronormativity. It is an ideology, commonly accepted in the U.S., that men are supposed to have a beard and women, even if biologically bearded, should not. Another acceptable ideology is that there is a certain way women should wear their hair, in a manner that is socially appropriate.

    “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair” mentions that facial hair is many things to men, it is “associated with masculinity…and personality traits such as strong, bold, aggressive, powerful, pleasant, generous, outgoing, dominant, and open-minded…[and acts as] a signal of maleness and dominance…” (Herrick, Mendez & Pryor, 1301-1302). Through this, the authors indicate that the heteronormative society has set standards for both men and women on how to look their parts; having a beard for men meant specified that they are strong and bold men because their beard symbolizes masculinity while the lack of facial hair on women defines their femininity. The heteronormativity in U.S. societies has influenced people to identify as either male or female; there are no choices available for people who do not accept the gender they were born with or people who do not identify as neither male nor female.

    The authors also write that biological reasons and social environment influence men to have facial hair while discourages women to have facial hair. It is considered feminine and ladylike to have no facial hair excluding eyebrows. On the other hand, a beard is a masculine trait which allows men to feel the characteristics attached to facial hair, strength, power and aggressiveness. Herrick, Mendez & Pryor write, “Zebrowitz (1997) offers four paths through which facial appearance and traits could be related. First, there could be a biological connection…testosterone levels are associated with both masculine traits and facial hair. The second path concerns physical and social environment factors” (1303). This indicates that heteronormative criteria in the U.S. have differentiated both genders through the use of facial hair and biological traits. The societal standards suggest that men have higher testosterone thus having more facial hair which ultimately categorizes them as strong and aggressive men. The same criteria categorizes women by the lack of facial hair. People have gotten used to this categorization and now try to fit into either male or female. The authors also write that “…men who wore an artificial beard perceived themselves as more masculine then those who did not” (1304). Some men and women feel that there is no category for them and that this heteronormative society only contains two options to choose from: man or woman. This statement further goes on to explain the ideology that heteronormativity has influenced them to identify as either male or female based on facial hair; beards for men and lack of hair for women.

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  13. 1. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    One of many things men and women have in common is the ability to grow hair. When it comes the heteronormativity of hair, it is common for women to style their hair to look how they prefer and it is common for men to have short haircuts with the preference of shaving their facial hair. In the United States, it’s not a common sight to see women with facial hair, but that doesn’t mean a women can’t grow a beard. It is not common to see politicians with long beards, but that doesn’t mean it can’t occur. Heteronormativity affects the politics of hair by depicting the attitude that comes with the person and their choice of hair. Whether it’s dreadlocks on a white women or a beard on a male congress man, there is judgement being made on the person as a result of their hair choice.
    In the article “Razor’s Edge”, an experiment is done involving members of congress and college students to see if there is a connection between men’s facial hair and their view on violence and feminism. “The result show strong statistically significant evidence that MC with facial hair are perceived as more masculine… MCs with facial hair are perceived as less supportive of feminist issues”. These results proved that men with beards are seen as masculine and less supportive of feminist issues. Although this is not the case for every male, this is the stereotypes they conform to. When it comes down to race and hair preference for women, can white women wear dreadlocks and still conform to the said stereotypes of a white women?
    In the article “A Mexican Who Looks Like You”, the author speaks on how she has dreads and is white, but people don’t identify her as what she is. “The black women who calls me the white B**** and wants to know who I think I am. She is angry with my performance”. Regardless of your race, your hair carries a message. It shows how you feel about yourself or how you perceive yourself in the world you live in. Therefore, it shouldn’t be any hostility when women of which ever race decides to wear a hairstyle that conforms to another race’s stereotypes or makes her feel like she is “performing” as another ethnicity.

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  14. Again we see the term performativity being used. Why? What work does it perform on the body?

    We should first define what performativity is. Performativity is the capacity of speech and communication not simply to communicate but rather to act or consummate an action, or to construct and perform an identity. The reason we keep on seeing this term rapidity since society keeps on pushing us into thinking that we only are supposed to act in the way we are born. This means that if we are born a man, they are supposed to show less emotion then women, like sports, and be the provider. In the case of women, they are supposed to be the caregiver, the emotional one, a good cook, and cleaners. In today society this shouldn’t be the case, where we should fall into these two molds. People should act the way they want to act and break what society thinks about them since they are not following this molds. If people do break these molds then some people in our society will look at them differently.

    It also doesn’t just stop at gender. We can also look at how people are molded on their race. In the article “A Mexican Who Looks Like You: Reflections on the Politics of Hair from Outside the Black/White Binary” Kimberlee Perez has her hair in locks, which isn’t “normal” for a person of Mexican descent to have. She even talks about how black women called her a white bitch and want to know who she thinks she is. It all revolves around the fact that she is Mexican but has her hair in locks were this isn’t the norm. While in the black race, it’s normal for them to have their hair in locks. The black woman was disgruntled that a white woman has her hair in locks.

    Performativity locks people down into certain group’s right when they are born. Where this shouldn’t be the case. People should have the right to be a woman even though she was born a man. As well this can be transferred to race as well not only gender. Society has to break these performatives, which we are getting better at over time. Since people are becoming more open-minded.

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  15. Again when we see the term performativity being used. Why? What work does it perform on the body?

    The term performativity has been used in a variety of ways that describes social construction of gender throughout the articles . Gender is constructed through our hackneyed performance of certain behaviors, mannerisms, and responses that are socially conditioned in a nutshell. For example, if there was a snake on the ground, a natural response for a woman will be to wail and shriek for help, while men will attack the snake and kill it. That’s performing a socially constructed behavior that in time becomes innate. Whether you are a male or female, black or white we are continually basing our judgement on one’s social identity by the way we perform and present ourselves physically.
    Based on presenting physical appearance, the article “A Mexican who looks like you” focuses on the performativity of hair. The word performance in this context describes the way hair is presented. Kimberlee Perez shows how the performance of her hairstyle affected her daily interactions with others. She states, “Over the last ten years of walking through the world with dreadlocked hair, I have unsystematically collected the stories it prompts and are prompted by it” (Perez 395). Her appearance mostly seemed to give off bad impressions which in turn attracted negative attention towards her. For example, “the black woman who calls me the white bitch and wants to know who I think I am. She is angry with my performance” (Perez 398). This alludes to the fact that society labels and judges people based on their physical appearance.

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  16. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    In order to answer this question, we must first define what heteronormativity is. According to Kris Nelson (in a post titled “What is Heteronormativity – and How Does It Apply To Your Feminism”) “Heteronormativity, then, is a system that works to normalize behaviors and societal expectations that are tied to the presumption of heterosexuality and an adherence to a strict gender binary.” This means that because heterosexuality is considered the ‘norm’ in today’s society, this creates an environment where women and men have to adhere to their respective gender roles as well. We can easily apply this concept to the politics of hair. Typically facial hair is seen as a masculine trait. There are dozens of treatments women go through in order to remove their facial hair whereas men are expected and even sometimes respected for having facial hair as it extends their jawlines and make them seem more definitively manly. Without heteronormativity, you wouldn’t have this concept seen in “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair” where men with beards are seen as “more masculine, as well as more conservative on feminist issues, and women and feminists are less likely to vote for them.” In the essay, they also entertained the idea of beards making men appear more aggressive. This is where heteronormativity is seen in action. Because people with typically high testosterone levels grow facial hair, it is seen as a masculine trait. People with high testosterone levels are also proven to be more aggressive which is why that connection is made in a heteronormative society. This is why when we see a woman with a beard we often feel weirded out because we’re not used to seeing women with higher levels of testosterone.

    “What Is Heteronormativity – And How Does It Apply to Your Feminism? Here Are 4 Examples” by Kris Nelson
    “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair” by Rebekah Herrick, Jeanette Morehouse Mendez, and Ben Pryor

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  17. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    Heteronormativity is a term socially constructed as a belief that people fall into certain or distinct categories, under the gender category of either man or woman. That each of these groups have “natural roles” in life and are set up to be viewed as the norm. Essentially, both articles “A Mexican That Looks Likes You” by Kimberlee Perz and “Razor’s Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair”, correlate between each other due to the fact that both speak about heteronormativity and how it affects the politics of hair. In Kimberlee Perez’s article, she reveals her personal experiences about being Mexican but, how in the eyes of others she can “pass” as white because of her fair skin complexion, blue eyes, and light colored hair. Here she describes a specific incident that had happened to her while wearing her hair in an “abnormal” manner just because she had dreadlocks. She writes, “The black woman who calls me the white bitch and wants to know who I thnk I am.” (397) It is clear that this woman of color was not accepting towards other women who are not considered “black” to wear that hairstyle. That it is not right for her to style her hair that way simply because she is identified as “white”. Although she is not actually “white”, people here in the U.S distinguish people in a “black/white binary of racial formation, race is visible and read through a visual register.” (395) Society automatically groups you by your physical traits even though they know nothing about your background. In comparison to “Razor’s Edge” article, states that men grow out their beard because it makes them feel more masculine. “Muscarella and Cunningham (1996) use evolutionary theory to suggest that facial hair is associated with aggressiveness and masculinity.” (1302) But these theories would not necessarily apply to women who choose to grow out their beards if they felt like it. These situations create double-standards and judgemental assumptions which lead us back to square one when trying to obliterate the division between genders because it is not socially acceptable for women grow facial hair .

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  18. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    Heteronormativity is basically what society considers the norm based on the standards of cis- gendered people. Cis is slang for individuals who identify with the sex they were born with and are heterosexual. Heteronormativity defines what is the standard for different aspects of life. Meaning if person A has trait A, then every person similar to person A should also have trait A. This translates into hair because society attributes different hair types to different races. Typically if a person is of color, they are expected to have textured hair, while a white person is expected to have straight hair. Of course there are people that don’t fall into those categories and in away confuse society. People tend to do a double take when a person of color has blonde hair, a trait usually categorized a white thing. The same can be true with a white person who wears dreads. When people move out side the social norms, people don’t react well to it. Kimberlee Pérez talks about her experience as a Mexican, with blonde hair, worn in dreads. She breaks all the “requirements” to be identified as a Mexican because she doesn’t fit the normal standard. People constantly question her and make comments about not fitting the typical mold. Because she doesn’t fit any mold perfectly, society is left with the question of how do we define you. Heteronormativty sets societies standards on hair and if they aren’t met it leaves a number of people uneasy and confused.

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  19. Again we see the term performativity being used. Why? What work does it perform on the body?
    In “A Mexican Who Looks Like You,” Kimberlee Perez talks about performativity, specifically relating to her hair. She describes herself as having light skin and blue eyes, and chooses to style her hair in dreadlocks. Perez talks about how even though she does not consider herself white, due to the fact that she has light skin, people often make comments about her hair. Perez speaks about how the black women who considered her dreadlocks appropriation was upset with the performance of her hair. In the article, Perez stated that “The performativity of hair, then, is similar to, and with, the performativity of race.”(397), Perez here compares hair to race. The same way you are judged for being a certain race, you are judged for having certain hair. Her hair’s performance often leads to people labeling and classifying her, the same way race does.

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  20. 1. How does heteronormativity affect the politics of hair?

    Heteronormativity is the belief that there are only two genders and that each gender has associated with them. Hair expresses this belief because you can tell so much from a person’s hair. Not just in the sense that females have long hair and that males have long hair but even the different stylings or cuts of a male or females hair can indicate a lot about them as an individual. Kimberlee Perez explains her idea of what makes hair so important so that we can get a deeper understanding for it as readers, “There is an intimacy in the touch of the skin, the head, the scalp, the touch that is so close, so personal, there is intimacy in the trust, the giving over to another your presentation of self. Intimacy in the time it takes to construct and care for this hair, intimacy in the relations that move in and through the time of hair, the spin stories, Alexander writes, that are woven into each lock. The intimacy, the privacy of hair, is important”. Perez talks about how intimate hair is and in turn helps us come to a realization that hair is more than just hair on our hair. This in turn relates to the politics of hair because certain styles of hair have a certain meaning and Perez Is able to explain the underlying idea. So people are judged and categorized by their individual haircut.

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  21. Performativity as a concept can refer to ones performance of identity in terms of race, class, gender. In Kimberlee Perez’s “A Mexican Who Looks Like You”, she merges the concept of performativity in with the ‘politics of hair’, but in a different dynamic considering she comes from a Mexican background but chooses to wear her hair in dreadlocks. She recognized that considering she physically possesses ‘white’ characteristics, i.e blue eyes and light skin, she did not want to ‘pass’ as white. She chose locks to represent control over her own identity, to her performance of self to the public. Perez states “the interplay between the performance and performativity of hair—of dreadlocked hair— explodes in public, generates meanings, and constitutes relations” which in turn gives her a sense of intimacy in public space. The work that performativity serves for her is the relations that arise from her self identification. Perez acknowledges that the public bases their own opinions off of physical appearance, and there will always be presumptions of class, gender, and race no matter what, but as long as she could hold her own “stories” and experiences, her hair was more than just a hairstyle.

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    1. answering question 2: Again we see the term performativity being used. Why? What work does it perform on the body?

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