View Full Version : "It's an honor to wear this woman's hair"

chen bao jun
August 2nd, 2013, 07:17 AM
Sorry, had a link to an article I deleted.

August 2nd, 2013, 07:21 AM
That's neat.

chen bao jun
August 2nd, 2013, 07:23 AM
It was an article in Der Spiegel tracing extensions from an Indian woman to a German woman, but the last page did describe hair thieves so I deleted it because that's against forum rules. If someone would like to read it, they can search google for the title and add 'Der Spiegel'. I didn't think it was scary, but I do want to follow the rules.

Princess Woolyb
August 2nd, 2013, 07:25 AM
wow! what an awesome article. amazing how some things that we just take for granted are so sacred elsewhere

August 2nd, 2013, 11:15 AM
Oh my, I knew that making hair extensions properly would be difficult, but I had no idea the hairs would actually be sorted one strand by one. Reading the article made me appreciate my own hair much more. I know I'm not special for being able to grow my hair, but the fact that I've spent time taking care of it and had patience not to cut it makes it so much more special than if I had hair that someone else grew and I would have bought. I also appreciate the people selling their hair as for them it is a way to get money to live and often the people do not come from wealthy areas. It's sad there is hair stealing going on, but in this world I would be surprised if there was not as there is crime in pretty much all kinds of industries there can be.

August 2nd, 2013, 12:28 PM
Good article, thanks for sharing it. I hope the hair of the lady in India grows back very fast. And I hope her husband's new-found sobriety is ongoing, and that he never beats her again.

August 2nd, 2013, 01:14 PM
I come from culture where babies' hair is donated to temples. Even mine was cut at 6 as ritual sacrifice, somewhat unusual in my family's culture where it is done before age of 2 or 3. Adult married women are not allowed in mine but it is a practice amongst those who are considered 'lower castes' and my fear is that these women dont know where their hair goes and whether they would still be willing to sacrfice knowing their hair is sold for enormous amount of money. While it is not direct exploitation or robbery, this industry would prefer those women continue to donate and thus keep them in "their place" without education and means of upward mobility. Most of the people who do come from this culture of donation would do it differently I am sure if they are educated (I had friends who donated small parts of their hair when I was in college and they would certainly not participate in commercialization). In my culture widows head was kept shaven but due to education and progress, this practice is unknown now--a relic of the past. I hope this too ends some day and those companies get hair from informed donors (poor or not).

August 3rd, 2013, 04:14 PM
This was really disturbing to read. A multi million dollar global industry which is growing exponentially, where the profiteers - who seem to be predominantly men- are becoming obscenely rich, clients are spending huge amounts of money and the product, female human hair, is practically worth its weight in gold.

And the true owners of this precious resource, the people who primarily are in greatest need, are they benefitting properly from their donation?
They are persuaded to give their hair for free, while the temples, middle men, importers, handlers and retailers profit.

It's like the antithesis of fair trade practice, encouraged under the banner of religion, when the donated hair trade is truly a huge consumer industry.

It makes me want to go back to India to set up fair trade co-operatives where the woman themselves get their own reward.

August 3rd, 2013, 04:51 PM
If she is uninformed about what happens to her hair, and doesn't know that it's valuable, then it's exploitation. If she freely and voluntarily gives it up, knowing that others will make money off it and still doesn't care, then that's her free choice. From what it says, there may be some indirect benefit to her because of how the temples are required to spend the revenue, but that's assuming there's no corruption in managing the temple funds, and it still means she doesn't get direct control over the money made from her hair.

August 3rd, 2013, 04:53 PM
I wish you didn't delete the article :(

chen bao jun
August 4th, 2013, 10:27 AM
I'm sorry. I'm a rule following person. You can find it on Der Spiegel Online International and the title is actually Globalization's Personal Link: Hindu Locks Keep Human Hair Trade Humming

If you put that into Google it should come up. the author is Britta Sandberg

chen bao jun
August 4th, 2013, 10:35 AM
@beborani, verylittlecaro and jeanniet
I definitely agree that there are some ethical issues here. It's not like in the 19th century where you read about Jo in Little Woman getting enough money for her hair to help her parents, or in The Gift of the Magi story where the women gets enough money to buy her husband a Christmas present (although I doubt they got the market value of their hair either). Although in Les Miserables, Fanchette is clearly very exploited and having her hair sold is part of it.
It's so complicated when parts of people's bodies (which I'm sorry, your hair is a part of your body in my view) have commercial value. On the one hand, the temple priests are not exactly hair thieves, the hair is willingly given. But on the other hand, there is some dishonesty here in my view (I'm open to discussion for those with other viewpoints).

chen bao jun
August 4th, 2013, 10:50 AM
It was touching to read about the Hindu woman's life and her gratitude that her husband stopped drinking (I also hope this change is permanent). It was also interesting to read about the German woman and how she struggled to save the money and how she feels that she is buying 'attractiveness' which will help her to get ahead. However, I was somewhat depressed to read about about Halle Berry's urgent demand for hair 'by Friday' and Celine Dionne spending $6,000 per MONTH on extensions, as well as the huge list of Hollywood stars wearing someone else's hair.
I've never had extensions and I never would but they've been a big thing in the black community for a long time. I have two concerns about this. One, is that if you can afford expensive weaves, its one thing but there are women spending something like $6,000 a month on them that don't have savings, a home, or other necessities. Two is that while hair weaves can be used as protective style while someone grows their own hair, over a period of 20 years what I have mostly seen, including with close family members is that they destroy their own hair, wearing weaves. I know people bald halfway up the crown of their heads, permanently bald, because of wearing weaves or extensions. I know a lot of people with bald edges, including young women from traction alopecia. So I'm not sure who this trend is benefitting, not the women who sell the hair and a lot of the time, not the women who buy it, either.
I grew my hair from earlength to slightly below shoulder in one year with LHC methods (this is from armpit to bra strap stretched, with my 3c curls), I think it will take 3 years to have hair that is bra strap in appearance (but will be about waist length stretched). sometimes the process is a pain in the neck and I get tired of the constant updoes and I know I obsess a LOT. And my hair certainly doesn't look 'glamorous' a la Celine Dionne in my crownbraids or buns. But I'd rather do it this way and I do feel privileged to be able to grow hair (good health and all that) and I think the texture of hair that God gave me looks best with my facial features and general appearance.

August 4th, 2013, 11:30 AM
Any temple which encourages an impoverished person to give up potentially the most valuable thing they own, under the guise of an offering to God, in the full knowledge that it will sell that offering into part of a giant commercial industry, making rich people richer, has no Divinity that I can recognise. Religions evolve too, temples can say no thanks to hair sacrifices in the way they no longer encourage widows to climb on a funeral pyre, in the name of free choice.
People have believed many things over the centuries and made many unnecessary sacrifices, but progress and laws evolve to protect the vulnerable.
I read a quick reference to an Indian woman who sacrificed her hair as a plea to stop her home being repossesed. The irony being, that had the temple turned away her sacrifice and helped her sell her hair instead, she may have been able to avert the repossession.
I wouldn't buy coffee which wasn't fair trade, where I knew the growers and pickers weren't properly compensated. It is grim that rich people are making money from exploiting the poor this way.

August 4th, 2013, 04:07 PM
I saw a tv programme where they tracked the origin of hair extensions of varying qualities, temple hair is very commin and most expensive I think, often the money made (apparently) went back into the community to provide food etc.
They still go around poorer European areas and offer to pay for ponytails.
The lower quality cheap extensions are from hair found in hairbrushes left in bins (yes really I saw them doing it).

August 4th, 2013, 04:08 PM
(woops posted twice)

August 5th, 2013, 11:36 AM
I used to wear clip-in extensions.. Everyone in my culture seems to have them and no-one even thinks about where the hair comes from. Now I hate them, hate the industry they stand for and think a lot of the time they look ridiculous. People here think they can damage their own hair because they can just clip/glue someone else's in. I am proud to have been extension free for two years and my hair has never looked better.

chen bao jun
August 5th, 2013, 12:13 PM
Kudos to you, GoldenLady. Maybe your beautiful hair will encourage others to grow their own.

August 5th, 2013, 02:41 PM
I saw a tv programme where they tracked the origin of hair extensions of varying qualities, temple hair is very commin and most expensive I think, often the money made (apparently) went back into the community to provide food etc.
They still go around poorer European areas and offer to pay for ponytails.
The lower quality cheap extensions are from hair found in hairbrushes left in bins (yes really I saw them doing it).

If someone could tell me where I could send my sheds for some money, I'd be all over that. ;)

August 5th, 2013, 03:04 PM
Kudos to you, GoldenLady. Maybe your beautiful hair will encourage others to grow their own.

Thank you. People on here have made me realise that the length's I've dreamed of are possible with patience and TLC :)

chen bao jun
August 5th, 2013, 08:09 PM
I saw a tv programme where they tracked the origin of hair extensions of varying qualities, temple hair is very commin and most expensive I think, often the money made (apparently) went back into the community to provide food etc.
They still go around poorer European areas and offer to pay for ponytails.
(yes really I saw them doing it).
I heard that if you buy extensions from China, they mix in animal hair with human. I don't know if that's true though.
I know its true about buying hair in places like Ukraine cheap in poorer villages. I also think they get hair in other ways though. We have a lot of Ukrainian orphans adopted by people in our church. One girl told me how when she went to the orphanage, the orphanage director cut her tailbone length ponytail off without her permission, just saying, your hair is too long, long hair isn't good. I'm sure the woman sold it for $50 or whatever the going rate. That was a couple of years ago and now my little friend has waist length hair again and is on her way to tailbone (though she did get some layers recently). She has gorgeous light brown hair that grows very fast--but all the Ukrainians seem to grow very long hair very easily. Not that that's a good reason for someone else to decide to sell it for them.
One girl had natural pale blond hair that was classic length and thick to the ends, but the other girls her age (young teenagers) bothered her about hair that long being out of style until she cut it up to her ears. It's grown back to mid-back now though. I'm sincerely shocked at how fast these girls grow hair. Trying to figure out if its genetics, something they eat (kasha? borscht?) or what. Used to think that maybe it was burdock root oil, but they seem to grow it just as well here in the states with sulfate shampoo as they do back in the Ukraine.

August 5th, 2013, 10:10 PM
I'm 1/8 Ukranian Ashkenazi (Jewish), and that branch of my family tend to have wicked-fast hair growth, and pretty extreme thickness. Even with my hair greasy as can be or sopping wet, you can't see my scalp anywhere but my part. It annoys a lot of people, heh.

I've actually thought that at some point, I might do a big chop and sell my hair. If I can get a good amount of money for a cut I'll almost certainly be wanting anyhow, why not, you know? I'm one of those people who tends to chop their hair short, let it grow long, and then chop it short again (and be happy with it short or grown long). I guess I just like the change.

August 6th, 2013, 05:59 AM
That's creepy and disgusting, to me. I don't even buy coffee unless I know where it came from, and that the workers got a fair deal (as mentioned above). It's almost like the world has regressed, and the rich are wearing the hair that they can't be bothered to grow, fresh of the heads of the poor.
Romans (allegedly) used to weave in blonde hair taken from German prisoners, and similar practices have occurred all the world over. To me it smacks of greed and enslavement.
I won't lie- I once owned clip in hair extensions. I ditched them when I joined LHC and finally realised that it was Someone Else's Hair (ack). I now grow my own :D