What is a “professional” hairstyle?
Photographer Endia Beal set out to answer this question with her new project “Can I Touch It?“
While participating in a five-week residency at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Beal photographed White women wearing “Black” hairdos in efforts to bridge the gap in ways we express ourselves.
“I said, ‘I am going to give you a black hairstyle,’ and they were like, ‘You’re going to give me cornrows?’ ” she recalled. “And I said, ‘No, we’re going to do finger waves.’ ‘Finger waves? What’s that? You mean from the ’20s?’ And I said, ‘These are a little bit different type of finger waves!’
According to Slate, each of the subjects were at least 40 years old. “I wanted people that had a certain idea of what you’re supposed to look like in the workspace, because it would be a challenge for them to understand what I experienced in that space,” Beal said. “And to a degree, many young white women have shared that experience, but for older white women it’s an experience they haven’t necessarily had.”