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Dominican Women: Straight hair at all costs

Dominican women are obsessed with hair. Fact.

Where I come from (England by the way), the only people who regularly go to a hairdresser are old ladies, while almost everyone else goes for a “trim”, every 8 weeks or so. That’s it. Here however, I have friends who don’t even wash their own hair, but instead go to the salon 2 sometimes 3 times a week to get their hair washed and blow dried. To me it’s madness, to a Dominican woman it’s a way of life, indeed it’s an integral part of the culture.

And it is exactly this preoccupation with hair and the “salon” that Dominican designer Jenny Polanco is addressing in her most recent art exhibit “Good… Bad Hair”, a collaboration with photographer Yael Duval.

“This exhibition uses fashion art and design to express how hair impacts social conditioning and image in Dominican society,” explains Jenny. “Yeal and I, like many Dominican women, have experienced prejudice by virtue of not having straight hair, or ‘good hair’. Such terminology attributes negative and ugly qualities to curly hair and positive and beautiful qualities to straight hair. Social acceptance norms, or codes, tend to remove us as far away as possible from our African and mulatto roots shared by a majority of the Dominican population.”

The resulting exhibit, “Good… Bad Hair” opened last Friday the 15th of August, is in fact, a celebration of Dominican hair in all it’s natural- and unnatural -glory.

“Hair curlers, ‘tubes’, straighteners, extensions, and even wigs are part of the tortuous rituals to which we were subjected during childhood and adolescence.” Says Jenny, who believes that the Dominican mentality when it comes to hair is “to have straight hair at all costs.”

“Good… Bad Hair” will be open at The Gallery in Altos de Chavon until September 8th, so if you didn’t get a chance to go see it, go take a look!

by Rebecca Hughes

Source: Casa de Campo Living

Category: DR Living |

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Last updated January 21, 2018 at 12:31 AM
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