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Volume 9 Number 2 June 2023

Handle with Hair: A Qualitative Course-Based Inquiry into How CYC Students Think About the Relationship between Hair, Identity, and Self-Perception

Authors: Tanner Dauphinais ; Luna Højgaard ; Julie Leggett-Epp, et. al.
Pages: 8-14
DOI: doi.org/10.32861/rje.92.8.14
This course-based research study explored CYC students’ thinking about the relationship between hair, self-perception, and identity. It focuses on CYC students for two reasons. First, the ability to form meaningful relationships with youth of many different cultural backgrounds and diverse lifestyles is an essential skill of CYC practitioners. Second, CYC students are encouraged to engage in discovery learning aimed at uncovering their unrecognized assumptions, cultural biases, attitudes, assumptions, stereotypes, prejudices, and privileges to ensure respect for the dignity of every person, regardless of their unique characteristics. Data was collected through online interviews and an arts-based activity. From the data analysis, the following four main themes were extracted: a) the power of hair as a symbol of beauty, b) the relationship between hair and self-esteem, c) hair oppression is real, and d) changing hair styles and life transitions. The findings of this course-based study support the existing literature on the significance of hair as a signifier of culture, identity, resistance, and social inclusion.