October 5, 2005

Organize yourself! Stop wasting time! Quit playing with your hair!

Teachers in Togo force schoolgirls to shave their heads.
"They must shave their hair. The government should even legislate on this."

6 comments:

Condoleesa said...

Some days I wish I could shave mine! Then I wouldn't have to fool with it. If everyone else did, I sure would be doing it.

F said...

Oh if only it were possible to introduce such a rule for college students...

And a rule prohibiting teenage boys from answering questions with a series of grunts

jeff said...

Condoleesa,

Nobody is stopping you. As for "everyone else did"... when was the last time that "everyone else" did anything?

I've seen lots of girls with close cropped hair.

Condoleesa said...

Nothing is stopping me except that I would not be socially acceptable. I need a job and while people think looks don't matter they sure do.

Diane said...

I see it as just another way of saying “A woman cannot look like a woman and be smart.”

Yes, stereotypical girls invest a lot of time on their hair.

I could also say that stereotypical boys spend way to much time playing sports and waste too much time on watching professional athletics, and force them to burn down the soccer fields.

The point of the matter is that you don’t want to make girls over into boys. You want girls to succeed, and if they must sacrifice their femininity to succeed, then you’ve accomplished nothing for women’s rights. They still can’t be openly feminine and successful. You need to tackle the idea that brains are somehow “masculine”, and that they need to become androgynous if they want to succeed. We need to stop making women choose between their gender and their goals.

This will probably make the problem worse.

vbspurs said...

From one of the BBC reader comments, a Ghanaian responds:

Schools in Ghana have always insisted that girls have short cropped hair since the 1960s. As a female who went through a system like that, I can that it is one of the most necessary policies to impose on teenage African girls. Many people particularly Europeans have no idea how much time we African girls can spend on our hair. There is nothing sexist or improper about the request. In Ghana, girl students in government schools that insist on short cropped natural hair perform better than girls in other schools (ie private schools) that do not insist on that. Asking girls to have short hair is a legitimate request because the girls are in fact very distracted with their hair. In the past, British girls especially in boarding schools were required at some point to have short hair too. The term "shaving" is an exaggeration - they are simply being asked to keep their hair short and natural - free from chemicals. The girl in the picture above looks trim and proper after her hair cut. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Abena Nuamah, Ghanaian in USA


I'm willing to believe that each culture has to have guidelines for what is considered proper or not.

I'm even willing to believe that we white women have no idea how hard it is for black women to maintain their coiffs, because I've heard from my black friends some stories on the topic, that made me tremble.

It's just not frizzy or curly hair, it's to do with styling, too.

I'm even willing to believe that girls spend an inordinate amount of time on their looks, because goodness knows I did -- and I went to a British independent boarding school, which had strict rules about dress and appearance.

But even so, come on.

Shaving the head?

It would be funny, if it weren't true.

Cheers,
Victoria