Rooks takes an interesting look at the social and political implications that hair has held for African American women. The six chapters discuss hair and its connection to black pride, race, advertising, gender, and women's magazines. She has used advertisements from different periods to trace representations of hair, which she then analyzes to show the political implications for women. She notes that discussions of hair in a political context have taken place in the mainstream press; however, the similarities and differences between the hair of women from the dominant culture and the hair of women of African American descent have never been fully explored. Rooks digs deep to describe how beauty and culture have politicized African American women and demonstrates that Western definitions of beauty are often not endorsed by African American women. Although Rooks' work is written in an academic style, the content is so compelling, readers will be intrigued by the quotes and footnotes rather than overwhelmed. Lillian Lewis
About the Author
Noliwe M. Rooks is an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of African American Studies at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She was the associate editor of Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris, winner of a 1993 American Book Award.