“They’re Always Gonna Notice My Natural Hair”: Identity, Intersectionality and Resistance Among Black Girls

Leoandra Onnie Rogers*, H. Shellae Versey, Janene Cielto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

A wave of recent media and news coverage tells the stories of Black students who have been teased by peers, disciplined, and even excluded from school because of their hairstyles. These trends underscore the enduring anti-Black racism in schools and sociopolitical significance of Black hair in America. From a developmental perspective, such trends raise questions about the role of Black hair in the development of racial identity, especially among Black adolescent girls. The current paper follows a critical qualitative analysis to examine whether, when, and how Black adolescent girls (N = 60, Mage = 16.17 years) reference hair when discussing their racial and gender identities. Results show that 93% of Black girls spontaneously mention hair in their interviews. Girls’ references to hair highlighted the realities of oppression (i.e., discrimination) they encounter at the intersection of race and gender as well as the way girls used hair to illustrate their resistance to white feminine beauty standards and anti-Black racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-231
Number of pages21
JournalQualitative Psychology
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 13 2021

Keywords

  • Black girls
  • Black hair
  • Identity development
  • Intersectionality
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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