Plastic hair for African women has now become a truism, it has entered not only into theoretical discourse, but also practical discourse. Plastic hair has entered into everyday deliberation, a truth that should be added to the discourse of choice. It has, so to speak, established itself as an object of desire worth spending time and resources on. Indeed, plastic hair has bought its seat in the discursive arena. Here women argue over the best choice of hair, there they argue over the best saloon where one can get the best hairstyle, elsewhere they are fighting with their husbands and boyfriends over adding onto their budget plastic hair as a necessity.
What we have here is Feminism playing the best tool for capitalist conquest. The woman, freed from the grip of the man, no longer possessed like an object, strives to assert her subjectivity through choosing her own way of living. She is free to choose from the world of objects what she considers to be helpful in asserting her subjectivity. So the woman is a free being in the modern Free Market society.
In Africa, the saloon has become the best symbol of women’s liberty. In the saloon, an African woman asserts her subjectivity through discarding the short hair that distances her from the White woman, who is a human being, and adorning her head with the elongated hair such as a white woman has. For an African woman, the real woman has long hairs.
This is the point where the hair industries have come to use women’s freedom to exploit them. The industries have constructed a false need in African women, a need that has induced great desire in them. The most pathetic thing is that these desiring subjects do not know that their desire has been induced by this false need.
This is an interesting point. “Doing one’s hair” for an African woman has come to mean selecting from an ensemble of plastic hair that which the woman thinks can make her look like the real woman, and attract attention and gaze from the menfolk. Here, the whole concept of freedom totally disintegrates. The whole idea of women’s assertion of their subjectivity, their humanity, totally vanishes. Now, it is no longer men who objectify women, but women willingly objectify themselves and offer themselves to the powerful gaze from men. African women today have offered men a great chance of window-shopping. A woman who emerges from the saloon all made up and prepared like a package cannot escape this gaze.
So then, should we stage another Feminist revolution and free African women from the powerful grip of plastic hairs? I do not know! It’s such a great view when we look at the modern African women.