At the most banal level, a beauty shop is where women go for beauty. But as Willi Coleman evocatively notes, at beauty shops “lots more [gets] taken care of than hair.” The degrees, types, and technologies of artifice and alteration required by beauty are mediated by racial, sexual, class, political, and geographic cultures and locations. Thus, beauty shops can be considered as sites of both cultural and identity production. Some have argued that if the female body generally has been subjected to “externalization of the gendered self” (Peiss 1994, 384), the explicitly racialized female body has been subjected to “exile from the self” (Shohat and Stam 1994, 322–33). With the rise of global colonialism, slavery, neocolonialism, and imperialism, African-origin bodies have been stigmatized as unsightly and ugly, yet, simultaneously and...

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