Silenced and Out of Place: Feeling Like a Nugatory Self

  • Ava Kanyeredzi


This chapter argues that comments from family and friends about women’s bodies, skin tone, hair/hairstyles, and looks, or feeling a subtle, discomforting awareness of themselves as racially different when in public spaces, are forms of abuse and intrusion. These intersect with past experiences of violence and abuse and can leave women feeling ‘less-than’, nugatory, ‘useless, of no value or importance’ (OED 2010). Interestingly, when women display pleasure in their bodies/hair/hairstyles, or refuse to be silent about violence and abuse, they are accused by family and friends of racial betrayal or of ‘not being Black enough’. Women’s hairstyles and skin tone are bodily locations where power and control are diffused and resisted.


Hair Skin tone Intrusion Nugatory Public spaces 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ava Kanyeredzi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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