A Critical Reader
Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
“They Are Taken into Account for Their Opinions”: Making Community and Displaying Identity at a Dominican Beauty Shop in New York City
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“They Are Taken into Account for Their Opinions”
Making Community and Displaying Identity at a Dominican Beauty Shop in New York City
Ginnetta E.B. Candelario
Use to be Ya could learn a whole lot of stuff Sitting in them Beauty shop chairs Use to be Ya could meet a whole lot of other women Sitting there along with hair frying spit flying and babies crying Use to be you could learn a whole lot about How to catch up with yourself and some other folks in your household. Lots more got taken care of than hair. —William Coleman1
The national museum and the beauty shop are physical, social, and cultural spaces that simultaneously display, mediate, and construct social identities. That both of these sites historically developed as institutions contemporary with department stores, which also arose in the nineteenth century as explicitly, gendered, and classed cultural displays, is important to this project. Museums borrowed heavily from department-store display and architectural models; beauty shops originated from the department stores’ “ladies’ parlor,” which had been used by women to try on dresses and to rest.2 On the similarities between museums and department stores, Tony Bennett writes, “Both were formally open ← 264 | 265 → spaces allowing entry to the general public, and both were intended to function as spaces of emulation, places for mimetic practices whereby improving tastes, values and norms of conduct were to be more broadly diffused through society.”3...
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