Tuesday 6 March 2018

Get your Mum's portrait done for Mother's Day

This Sunday 11th March I'll be drawing postcard portraits at Love Thy Neighbour in Chorlton Manchester, 12-3pm

This is a drop in event and portraits are free to Love Thy Neighbour customers! Plus you don't have to be a mum to get your portrait done!

Each picture takes about 10 minutes and is created with ink and brush pens. To see more examples of my postcard portraits check out the page on my website.

Friday 2 March 2018

The Hidden Pin Up #17 Can I Touch Your Hair? AGAIN!

I saw a friend had recently posted this on Facebook and I asked her if I could share it as the thread made some really important points. What is it with the lack of awareness about personal space and black women's hair?

I've been thinking a lot about this. The instances of hair touching and commenting on afro hair has come up a few times in my call out for everyday stories of fetishisation from women of colour. I think this thread highlights so much about how this small gesture has such huge historic and cultural baggage attached to it and the negative impacts it can have. 

The online magazine Everyday Feminism has a fantastic article called '8 reasons You Want to Touch a Black Woman's Hair - And Why They Mean You Shouldn't'. It cleverly puts into perspective how this objectification is not only racial but sexist, even if the intentions behind it aren't coming from a negative place.

'[It] comes down to one of our core feminist values, consent – respecting everyone’s agency over their own bodies, including their hairHaving our hair touched is just one of the ways Black women are often denied this agency in our society.'

This is a brilliantly insightful and well written piece and I urge anyone to read it. Similar versions of other stories I've collected for The Hidden Pin Up make an appearance here too making it clear how curiosity and ignorance are rife everywhere. This article breaks down the nuances behind the 'Can I touch your hair?' problem perfectly. 

Another issue that the hair topic throws up is how afro = inferior. (See one of my past posts also about this). The person commenting on how their niece is getting a complex because her hair is different is really upsetting. Women have enough to compete with when it comes to our appearance. We are constantly told we should look a certain way. We can't age, get wrinkles or grey hair. We can't be too fat, or too thin. We can't be too sexy or too dowdy... it just goes on and on. But women of colour have the added pressure of not fitting the Western ideal. There very few role models with afro hair in mainstream culture. Most women of colour in the media have weaves or straightened hair and that is fine, it's their decision. But without full representation of different cultural identities in the public realm this might never change and the vicious cycle of afro hair inferiority just continues. Without afro hair becoming a normal fixture in everyday life it keeps it as an 'other', a fascinating object to be touched and commented upon.  

It's just such a huge subject and hair is just the tip of a very tangled weave of problems about female representation and how women of colour specifically are interpreted.