Going Natural: Reading Black Women’s Hair in Americanah as a Sociopolitical Narrative to Battle American Misogynoir




Green, Erin

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UTSA Office of Undergraduate Research


America is founded on several different forms of oppression--two most notably being white supremacy and patriarchy. As white supremacy affects people of color and patriarchy affects women, Black women can suffer both forms of oppression, which many Black feminist scholars have deemed as “misogynoir.” Coined by Black feminist Moya Bailey, misogynoir is defined as “anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience.” One specific form of misogynoir is hair discrimination, which affects Black women personally and professionally. Americanah, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a novel that uses the trope of Black women’s hair not only to bring awareness to anti-Black, sexist society, but also to fight against the actual sociopolitical hierarchy seeking to disenfranchise Black women. This paper explores Adichie’s illustration of Black women’s hair about perming, workplace discrimination, “the big chop,” going natural, and finding a community. Additionally, this paper argues about the different kinds of spaces Black women and their hair must exist in society, from anti-Black workplaces to Africana womanist hair salons. The paper, also, argues that Adichie uses the novel itself as an act of resistance against America’s system of anti-Black misogyny, misogynoir.



misogyny, misogynoir, hierarchy, patriarchy, discrimination, intersectionality, undergraduate student works