Since the Antiquity, female hair has been a powerful social semiotic, used to determine women's sexuality, mental states, and adherence to gender norms. As a result of this extensive signifying power, many disciplinary practices have evolved to regulate female hair. In this thesis, I use critical discourse analysis methods to determine what ideologies are present on consumer hair care products. I investigate a selection of products found within a Fairbanks, AK beauty store, analyzing the English and French text on the labels. The results of this analysis show that hair product labels directly address the disciplinary practices that circulate through our culture, often referencing control, aggression, and defensive relationships. The language to evoke control is modified slightly between Anglo-American and French and Franco-Canadian contexts, with the former more likely to use managerial terms in the discourse. Hair product labels also appropriate language of resistance, ultimately creating an adversarial relationship between the consumer and nature.
Thesis (M.A.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2017
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