Saturday, April 14, 2007


The best post I read on the Don Imus situation was by Pam Spaulding. It dealt with the subject of nappy hair and how to straighten it:
I am old enough to experience the “pleasure” of the thermal hot comb — you rested it over the gas flame of the stove to heat it up. Then the grease was carefully applied to your hair and that comb sizzled through the kinks till it was bone straight, hissing as you prayed the comb didn’t touch your scalp — inevitably you got scalp burns because the “stylist” f*cked up. [By the way, the “stylist” for most folks was usually a relative, but in my case, everyone in my family had straight hair, so my mom had to take me to a salon till she figured out what to do.]

Once the chemical relaxer came into vogue it was the same problem with a different twist, it became a watch-the-clock endeavor to see how long you could leave the vile-smelling chemicals on to achieve maximum straightness before your scalp started to peel, burn and get open sores. Anything for that damn straight hair.
And that's what one does to get hair that won't activate Don Imus' stereotypes about "nappy-headed hos". It wouldn't be so much of a problem, except that the success of one's career often depends on impressing men who come from Don Imus' demographic.

Dominant groups can impose strange and unpleasant burdens on less powerful groups, while acting on judgments that they never take a moment to consider. A straight man reading feminist blogs learns this over and over again.

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