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**Sisters Spin Talk
on Hip-hop
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Two feminists who came of age with the music and the culture take a long, hard look at its impact--for better and worse--on young women, and reassess its importance in their lives. > by Tara Roberts and Eisa Nefertari Ulen

**The Mommy Wars**
How the media pits one group of mothers against another. It all boils down to the Haves versus the Have-Nots. > by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels
**Going Underground**
One woman's moving account of the painful decision to give up family, friends, and identity, and flee with her daughter to a safer life > by Anonymous Plus: Information about hiding in plain sight > by Hagar Scher

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**Turning the Tables on "Science"**
When Natalie Angier wrote Woman: An Intimate Geography, she took on accepted truths about women, poked holes in them, and offered an exciting revisionist view of our bodies. Oh boy, did she ruffle some feathers! > by Marilyn Milloy

NEWS:
*Ten Laws That Will Make Your Blood Boil
*Epithets Deleted: French Women Demand Respect
*Women in the House
*Free Kosovar Albanian Activist-Poet Flora Brovina
*Madrid's Back Alleys
*
Newsmaker: Dawn Riley *Reviving the ERA
*Opinion: Count Me In
*Amazon Bookstore Update: Beware the Lesbians!
*Pakistan's Turning Point
*A New Law for Unmarried Couples in France
*Recognition for African Women Farmers
*Clippings

 
 

 

It's been said that hair left to its own devices coils in the direction of the earth's rotation like tides follow the moon. Since the dawn of civilization, cultures worldwide have given way to this natural order, wearing locked tresses as a sign of spiritual devotion or political resistance, or as a rite of passage. They are called jatta in India, ndiagne in Senegal, palu in Sri Lanka. But Jamaican Rastafarians--influenced by black nationalist Marcus Garvey, the Nazarites of the Bible, and freedom movements in Ethiopia and Kenya--popularized dreadlocks through reggae music and its ambassador, the natty Bob Marley.

That this homage to African heritage is now a badge of world citizenship shows how far the "happy to be nappy" movement--phase two of Black Is Beautiful--has marched. Dreads (Artisan Books), a new coffee-table collection of photographs with an introduction by Alice Walker musing lyrically on the decision to let her own mane mat, captures locks in all their diversified glory--from New Zealand to Ghana to Arizona.

For some, locks are more fashion than politics. Tokyo trendsetters pay yen into the thousands to have their bone-straight hair drilled into "instalocs," imitating what was once a statement against vanity and artificiality. And many African Americans, freed by their hair-itage to express their individuality, bleach their dreads blonde. Yet the ascendancy of style doesn't mean the end of spirit, for who knows whether you grow locks or they grow you. --Angela Ards

 
photo by francesco mastalia and alfonse pagano
 
           
     

Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009