Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives

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Macmillan, Jan 12, 2005 - Social Science - 288 pages
12 Reviews
The first book to explore the role of hair in women's lives and what it reveals about their identities, intimate relationships, and work lives

Hair is one of the first things other people notice about us--and is one of the primary ways we declare our identity to others. Both in our personal relationships and in relationships with the larger world, hair sends an immediate signal that conveys messages about our gender, age, social class, and more.
In Rapunzel's Daughters, Rose Weitz first surveys the history of women's hair, from the covered hair of the Middle Ages to the two-foot-high, wildly ornamented styles of pre-Revolutionary France to the purple dyes worn by some modern teens. In the remainder of the book, Weitz, a prominent sociologist, explores--through interviews with dozens of girls and women across the country--what hair means today, both to young girls and to women; what part it plays in adolescent (and adult) struggles with identity; how it can create conflicts in the workplace; and how women face the changes in their hair that illness and aging can bring. Rapunzel's Daughters is a work of deep scholarship as well as an eye-opening and personal look at a surprisingly complex-and fascinating-subject.


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Review: Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives

User Review  - Ira Therebel - Goodreads

I am one of the people who doesn't spend more than 5 minutes fixing her hair before going out and always thought that it doesn't play a role in my life. This book made me see that this is not the case ... Read full review

Review: Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives

User Review  - Margaret Sankey - Goodreads

This is a sociological study of hair and modern American women--the politics of an Afro, identity and ponytails, lesbians and short hair, chemo and wigs, salons as social and commercial space and the advertising juggernaut that is the hair color industry. Read full review


Title Page
ONE The History of Womens Hair
TWO Hot Combs and Scarlet Ribbons
THREE Ponytails and Purple Mohawks
FOUR What We Do for Love
FIVE Paychecks and Power Haircuts
SIX Bald Truths
SEVEN At the Salon
EIGHT Ill Dye Until I Die
NINE No More Bad Hair Days

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About the author (2005)

Rose Weitz is a professor of sociology at Arizona State University and is past president of Sociologists for Women in Society. She is the author of several books and the editor of The Politics of Women's Bodies.

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