Perversely for an odd looking bald man with no dress sense, I've spent much of the last two years talking to women about their hair and how they feel about how they look. I've looked at umpteen pieces of communication from beauty brands. I guess you could say that if you need a planner to help think about how women look and feel about themselves, I may be of some use.
I've learned one or two things along the way, lots about hair, even more about women and culture.
Here's some of them...
Firstly, hair and beauty is the one of the most conventional markets in the world. Doesn't matter if you're on about hair care or hair styling tools, make-up or night serum, it's riddled with ta dah! moments. Basically most brands promise to change your life. There is no meekness here, everything is a miracle in a bottle. It says something when there's a big hoo hah over No 7 Protect and Perfect actually proven to have some effect!
They also pound women with images of perfection to live up to. Air bushed models with airbrushed personalities banging on about science and product function.
How can they manage to make the brilliant Beyonce so dull?
Even Dove is conventional. Don't get me wrong, brilliant strategy, but it's still a particular image or lifestyle to buy into.
Dove also misses the point, women like to look amazing. They're not fine as they are and they don't want to be. That's a contradiction of course, they're reject ing much of the imagery and 'grammar' of the industry, yet still want to be able to hope. What's going on?
First off, hair really matters. Historically, men have always been afraid of women and hair represents that more than most things. It signifies the power to beguile and draw a man from the true path. That's why most religions have an element of covering up women's hair. Of course there's the 'habit' and the Burkha, but their also the 'unveiling of the bride'...quite literally allowing a woman to show her hair to aman for the first time.
In short, women have power over men and hair is potent symbol of this.
But there's also a weird magical thing going on here. Hair grows out of the body. It's at once part of and external to you. It's also the one part of a female physicality she can alter at will, instantly.
Consequently, how a woman feels about her hair directly affects how she feels about herself. It can bring great pleasure but also great pain. That's why a women will spend a fortune on her hair and buy into all sorts of pseudo science and false promises....the secret hope that the promises might be true. Hair is just to too intrinsic to self belief, even self worth to not respond.
At this level, hair and stuff is not frivolous, it is important and significant. It always was, in Sampson and Delilah, the choice of hair to be removed was no accident. There's masses of cultural significance for this.
In todays western society, how a woman looks signifies her identity. We make instant assumption about a woman based on those first impressions of her appearance and hair is a focal point of this. Knowing her hair looks good provides confidence and self esteem because culture and society demands it to be thus.
That's why there have been some good exceptions to the 'miracle cure' rule. Stuff about self confidence and self belief.
Stuff like this.
Problem is, this is going to get conventional real quick (it was getting stale for ghd alone), and even this, although better, is only scratching the surface. There's a lot more going on here.
I didn't expect to write this much, but there you go. Needs another post. This will do for now.