Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us about Women's Lives

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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.

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RAPUNZEL'S DAUGHTERS: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives

User Review  - Kirkus

A sociologist looks at why hair matters so much and what our concerns about hair have to say about who we are, as well as who we hope to be.In researching her subject, Weitz (Sociology/Arizona State ... Read full review

Rapunzel's daughters: what women's hair tells us about women's lives

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

From long blond curls to involuntary baldness, Weitz (sociology, Arizona State Univ.) considers the role that hair plays in women's lives. She opens with a brief history of women's hair and then ... Read full review


1 The History of Womens Hair
2 Hor Combs and Scarlet Ribbons
3 Ponytails and Purple Mohawks
4 What We Do for Love
5 Paychecks and Power Haircuts
6 Bald Truths
7 At the Salon
8 Ill Dye Until I Die
9 No More Bad Hair Days

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About the author (2004)

Rose Weitz is a professor of sociology at Arizona State University and a past president of Sociologists for Women in Society. She is the author of several books and the editor of The Politics of Women's Bodies.

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