Masaai men make money braiding women’s hair

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

Tanzania’s Masaai men have been able to bury their macho inhibitions and have found a thriving new livelihood-braiding women’s hair in Dar es Salaam and even beyond the borders of Tanzania.

This article may be used to:

1. Provide an example of a story of gender benders – people who have moved out of what role society expects them to play as women and men.
2. Encourage women and men alike to move out of the boxes that society has placed them in and fully explore their potential.
3. Show how media can play a role in challenging gender stereotypes.

Trainer’s notes
Hair dressing is viewed as a women’s occupation across most societies in the world. This is because people have internalised the roles that society has prescribed for them. This story is an example of men who have challenged this stereotype and ventured into the business of hair dressing. This story is particularly interesting because Masaai people are deeply rooted in their tradition and they have certain ideas about masculinity and femininity. The men admit that this is not something they would have done in the ‘80s because they would have been punished by their elders. This highlights how culture and tradition can hinder people from achieving their dreams. This story is therefore an illustration of how one can fly high if they learn to overcome such inhibitions. This article lets the men speak about their profession and does not seek comment from anyone outside the profession.  The image used shows that although these men are doing women’s hair, they are still Masaai in the way that they are dressed.
Discussion questions
1. List the roles that women and men are commonly portrayed in media. What does this say about gender and economic reporting?
2. Is the sourcing in the story adequate?
3. What do you feel should have been included in the story?
4. Do you think these men can venture into a traditionally female job and stay true to their culture? Does rejecting or changing one aspect of culture mean that one is rejecting their heritage completely? Why or why not? What kind of impact (positive or negative) does this have on culture and tradition as a whole?
Training Exercises
1.   Ask participants to go out to the nearest hair saloon and do a head count of male and female hairdressers. Ask the male hair dressers how they got into the industry. Ask the female hairdressers how they feel about the men in their midst.
2.  Interview men and women on the street about whether they prefer a woman or a man to do their hair. What assumptions do they have about women’s and men’s roles?
Links to other training resources

Download : masai men braiding women hair

Comment on Masaai men make money braiding women’s hair

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *