Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts

Degree Name

Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media

First Advisor

Rachel Panton

Second Advisor

Janine Morris


Natural hair, visual rhetoric, social media, Black body politics


Black women’s natural hair has been subject to both praise and scrutiny, though the latter is more common despite the steps taken towards inclusion and diversity. In the age of social media, members of the natural hair community have been able to voice and communicate ideas and issues that are specific to their discourse community. This study explores how the natural hair community uses social media, more specifically Instagram, to discuss the complex issues that surround natural hair including historicization, workplace bias, colorism, and social justice. Additionally, this study argues that natural hair is a form of visual rhetoric as well as a metaphor for rhetorical reappropriation both visually and textually. The concept “good hair” continues to be significant in natural hair discourse as it can be associated with numerous artifacts and ideas of what “good hair” means to Black women with natural hair. A theoretical approach was taken to investigate textual trends in user discourse as well as visual rhetoricy on one Instagram page using André Brock’s Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis (CTDA) as a model.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.