[Hat tip: Althouse.]
The British phone-hacking scandal is something I’ve managed to avoid writing about so far, although if you’d like to read about the substance of it please feel free. But a new and admittedly more trivial angle that caught my attention is the recent fuss made about News International editor and accused hacker-in-chief Rebekah Brooks’s hair, which looked like this in happier days:
It’s not the usual female corporate hair, which is ordinarily sleek and smooth and/or pulled back. If a woman’s hair is her crowning glory, Ms. Brooks’s is a particularly noteworthy diadem. It reminds me of nothing more than the coifs of the women beloved by so many pre-Raphaelite painters such as Rossetti, whose Helen of Troy is typical of the genre:
And then of course there was Pretty Woman:
The associations are almost inevitable: Temptress. Wild woman. Sex. Trouble. Fun. Risk-taking. Free. Or—you fill in the blanks. Certainly not Corporate, Staid, Dependable, Predictable.
Although Brooks is a Brit, her curly-hair type is more typical of other ethnicities. For example, most influential black women in the public eye have long had to deal with the choice about what to do with hair that, in its natural state, can look pretty unruly. First Lady Michele Obama’s smooth hair choice has been the subject of no small amount of commentary (for husband Barack it’s easier: clip it short). And many Jewish women, likewise, have faced their own version of the dilemma (see Debbie Wasserman Schulz and her mane).
But hardly anyone gets off easy in this hair game. Even with hair that approximates the most acceptable look du jour, there are few wash-and-wear styles any more. The preferred do is so bone-straight that it can only be arrived at for many courtesy of a ceramic iron, which is a sort of hair press.
Here’s famous hairperson Jennifer Aniston sporting the look:
As for me, I’ve got a dog in this race: I’m a curly-haired woman myself, going in and out of fashion with the tide. Back in the 60s I had a fling with ironing it: never again. My face and hair seem to go together, and straight hair looks odd on me.
I won’t give out my secrets for working with my hair and making the curls more curly and less frizzy, but let’s just say it doesn’t just happen. YouTube is a testament to that—there must be thousands upon thousands of videos instructing girls and women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities in taming their curly manes. Here’s a rather sweet one:
Note, by the way, the stylist’s remark, “Your face is made to complement your curls.” Or your straight hair, if that’s what you happen to have. And for the most part that’s true.
But I’m not so sure about Rebekah Brooks. Her hair and features don’t quite seem to go together. The hair overpowers the face; it’s just about all you notice. Perhaps, right now, that’s the way she prefers it.