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.
"Rapunzel's Daughters seems an especially relevant read in this era of bikini journalism and Extreme Makeover, with its contention that a few buttery highlights are all that separate studs from duds." --Nita Rao, Village Voice Education Supplement 2004
"Weitz weaves first-person accounts of white, black, and Mexican-American women's hair sagas into an interesting . . . sociological analysis." --Psychology Today
"We spend so much time obsessing about our hair-and so little time understanding why we do it! This great, clever, and insightful book gives new insight into our cultural fetish. A fascinating read." --Pepper Schwartz, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington
"This book is a fascinating read of the ways in which women have changed their identities by changing their appearance. Through in-depth interviews, Rose Weitz explores the cultural statements that different women make through their choice of hairstyle, which is a creative way to approach questions of identity, adolescence, and aging, changing cultural norms about appearance, and power dynamics." --Rosanna Hertz, Chair, Women's Studies, Wellesley College
"We spend so much time obsessing about our hair--and so little time understanding why we do it! This great, clever and insightful book gives new insight into our cultural fetish. A fascinating read." --Pepper Schwartz, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington