Rezel Pomade Hair GreaseSee all questions about commodity
Hello my name is Lizzie, I’m your commodity consultant for today,
Why not both!
What happens to the hair after it is cut?
Former Spice Girl and fashion icon Victoria Beckham joked, in an interview, that her stylist called her ‘Babs’*short for Babushka*because her once- thick brown hair extensions originated in Russia. According to Beckham, ‘My extensions come from Russian prisoners, so I’ve got Russian cell-block H on my head’; a ‘hairstyle’ that cost her US$12,000 every ten weeks, the price of putative ‘virgin Russian’ ringlets. Beckham’s nickname not only reflects her erstwhile Russian hair, but also other discourses, the long and short of which are intimately entwined in the critical politics of (post)coloniality, femininity, race and class.
Just as femininity has become fluid, so the female body has become part of multidirectional global flows, in particular, a flow of follicles: the transna- tional trade in human hair. As Beckham’s comments suggest, human fibres have become increasingly woven into the ever-unfolding story of transnatio- nalized capital and the manipulation of bodily materials around the globe. Exploring the lucrative business in locks teases out important questions surrounding the politics of incommensurability and the horror at a continuing colonialism rooted in the global marketplace. A dead object given a second chance at ‘life’, sold hair’s symbolic material is a critical means of unpacking these questions of radical difference and domination; it takes the reader into the processes of a trade in which multiple strands contribute to global capitalism’s exploitation of the Third World
Great Lengths International is a multinational ‘natural hair extensions company’ that specializes in the fabrication of 100 per cent human hair extensions made from Indian hair. It offers its extensions in fifty countries worldwide. Headquartered in Rome, Great Lengths has enjoyed international success. The company was founded in London in 1991 by hairstylist David Gold, who patented the world’s only pre-bonded extensions system: a protein polymer bond that mimics the molecular structure of human hair. This allows for the attachment of additional strands to the customer’s head without gluing, waxing or welding*practices that can, according to Great Lengths, be too aggressive and damage the client’s own hair. Great Lengths uses a ‘modulating’ technique in which one’s own hair is fastened to new strands using Great Lengths technology.
The multinational’s hair extensions go through three important processes once they arrive at the factories in Rome: first, ‘sanitation’, in which they are fumigated; second, ‘depigmentation’, in which they are stripped of their black colour; and finally, ‘pigmentation’, in which they are dyed a variety of hues.
According to the testimonials of Great Lengths clients Karen Speer and Lucia Giancroce, having hair that acts as one’s own facilitates feeling confident, feminine, beautiful and sexy.
In order to attain a ‘natural’ look, Great Lengths has considered various hair types and selected the one it feels is best suited to its primarily ‘European’ clientele. The multinational asserts that ‘European hair is unsuitable for hair extension. It is very fine and few European women would be willing to give up their hair to hair companies and, if they did, it would be necessary for their hair to never have been chemically treated.
Great Lengths acquires all of its raw material from Indian temples, in particular Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati, where pilgrims have their heads shorn as a symbolic gesture to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu God of Preservation. Because in India long dark hair is usually considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the body, particularly of the female body,it is a spiritual act to rid oneself of its worldly beauty, while giving thanks to Lord Vishnu for good fortune. On sacred ground, then, the global trade in human hair begins as major Indian temples, along with the country’s hair exporters, earn a combined revenue of approximately US$300 million. to journalist Julia Angwin, in 2002 Venkateswara Temple earned US$5.6 million through its hair auctions, twice as much as in 2001. The money gained from its hair auctioning is used to provide free food and housing for pilgrims, as well as to run five hospitals, twelve colleges and other charitable institutions; the temple is one of the wealthiest religious institutions in India, with an annual budget of US$120 million.
If you want to read more, this is the source -
Also here is a link to watch the first part of the Jamelia Whose Hair Is It Anyway documentary if you want to find out more information - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9rXFskeFRM
Another thing to think through is whether hair is a commodity if it is not sold but donated?
The Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs to boys and girls across the UK and Ireland that have sadly lost their own hair through cancer treatment. (http://www.littleprincesses.org.uk)
Even if hair is donated it is still a commodity, as is blood, for example in the case of Blood Transfusions!
Waldby and Mitchell (2006) have written a fabulous book on this called Tissue Economies, here is a mini summary…
Ultimately, Waldby and Mitchell conclude that scientific technologies, the globalization of tissue exchange, and recent anthropological, sociological, and legal thinking have blurred any strict line separating donations from the incursion of market values into tissue economies. (https://www.dukeupress.edu/tissue-economies)
Also, why do we get our hair cut?
Since the inception of advertising, advertisers have realised that sexual appeal and the desire to find a partner were more effective than any discourse about the advantages of purchasing a particular product. The people represented in these misè-en-scenes are not representative of a broader society: the actors/models are always young, always slim, and almost always white; the scenes represented are sex-saturated yet devoid of the erotic (http://womenshistorynetwork.org/blog/?tag=womens-bodies-as-commodities).
What about dogs, is it easier to believe that cutting and dying dog’s hair makes them a commodity? Here is a video about how to dye your dog’s hair, how does it make you feel? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odX4v-t4Btk
Thank you for your excellent question,