Saturday, October 19, 2013

Term Project Proposal: "Hair: A Life of Its Own"

My term project, entitled HAIR: A Life of Its Own, will address the social and political implications of hair, particularly as they apply to normative (Eurocentric) standards of beauty and Black females in the United States. By critically examining hair and its function in perpetuating normative standards of beauty, in addition to its significances to politics and social resistance movements, my project will bring awareness to the impact that hair has on identity construction and demonstrate how it can be used as a tool for resistance within our social, cultural, economic and political framework.

The Project
The purpose of my project is use media as an advocacy tool to promote a diverse and board spectrum of beauty, which challenges normative (Eurocentric) standards of beauty and celebrates cultural difference. To that end, a fictitious company will be created and it will be launching a new initiative designed to promote beauty by celebrating non-normative standards and using hair as the focal point to educate and empower Black females.

A media kit and power pointe presentation will be created to support the launch of this new initiative and these components will serve as the core of the project. The media kit will include the company brochure, overview, press release detailing the launch of the initiative, the “ask” letter soliciting involvement, a mock up print advertisement promoting the initiative, a current media related piece to highlight hair’s significance within our culture and a visual aid (i.e. picture slide show).

Considering that the media kit is primarily a composite of print documents, a power pointe presentation will serve as visual aid to support my in-class presentation. This power pointe presentation will highlight the components of the media kit, in addition to incorporating commercials, snippets from film and advertising to support my claim. This aspect of the project will be publishable to the public and will also include the visual aid included in the media kit.

Media Kit Component Breakdown
(Please be aware that the organization that will be highlighted in my project will be fictitious; however the appearance of the company will be authentic (i.e. name, logo, contact info). I will serve as the founder of this company and will be the person providing the information and making the ask)
Company Brochure: This will highlight who the company, provide general background information, mission statement, services we offer/work we do, contact info and include company tag line.
Company Overview: This will include a brief history of the company, give founder’s bio and include the mission and vision statement.
Press Release: This will detail the actual initiative that’s being launched, identify its purpose, provide general information to the public and inform them to how they can get involved.
The “Ask” Letter: This letter will be addressed to Professor Cacoilo , addressing the claim of the overall project, as well as incorporating a critique of media and its impact on Black female identity construction. It will then identify how she/the class can get involved with the company and cause.
Mock-Up Print Ad: This is an ad used to promote the company and initiative. Ideally if this was a real campaign it could appear in newspapers, magazines and on-line.
Relevant Media Piece: This would simply be a current piece in the media depicting that hair is an issue for women. This piece serves as supplemental support to the overall cause and theme of the project.

Three copies of the media will made; one to be given to the professor and two to be shown to the class, complementing the power pointe presentation. A blog post explaining the overall project will accompany the power point presentation, contents/images from media kit and will be linked to the class blog to be published.

How It All Fits
This project is inspired by my CUNY Pipeline Thesis, “Visual Truth, Is It Real or Fake? Understanding the Impact Mass Media has on Black Females and SeIf-Identity Construction”. It is my hope that my thesis will help to bring attention to marginalized groups and issues, not only within the academy but within our everyday lives. While the company used in my project is fictitious, community advocacy is a passion of mine and creating a company that works to promote this cause or those similar is a long-term career goal. This project has allowed me to find harmony in both of my career paths. By having a degree in Business with a concentration in marketing, the first ten years of my career were all about sales, strategy and promotion. However finding comfort in academics and social justice sometimes creates disjointment with a business background. This project has allows me to bring the best of both my worlds to the forefront.




  1. I find your topic compelling and still completely relevant. Why do we define beauty in such static ways?

    Here are some things I found:

  2. I say don't knock your company as fictitious, you've got a great topic and a very well thought out media kit why not make it real? Maybe distribute the kit where you feel it would be relevant and make your hard work more visible?

  3. I really like your topic because there is a huge craze with black women and hair. I do feel like they need to be happy and proud of their natural hair instead being ashamed. Granted, not all black women feel this way.
    I found it even more shocking to see that there are magazines out there dedicated to black hair. I think you should def mention Solange Knowles because she is so influential and she would be the perfect example of someone who doesn't care to follow the standards of beauty.

  4. I have already linked this on the blog but I'll put it again because this documentary was AWESOME. It went into WHERE they get the hair from, the CHEMICALS they use for "relaxers" and a bunch of cool stuff. check it out.