Is beauty only skin deep, as the old adage proclaims? Here’s a quick peek into the psyche and dignity of female prisoners across America being transformed through beauty while in custody. OK you ask, why is this even important to talk about, much less a blog? My thoughts initially, while searching for relevant blogging info. The results were far deeper and far more relevant than imagined.
Hey, it’s not about the art of beautifying yourself. Nope, nothing to that effect. It’s far more reaching than expected (please watch the entire video below). Sure, it’s about dignity, self-esteem, hope, and the possibility of a career after prison. But there is a far more ominous flip-side to this coin. You might say it’s a superordinate factor that is taking place with cosmetology programs in prisons.
First, let’s explore the ideology of beauty. Beauty is an integral part of who you are as a woman in society – any society. That being said, it’s also used to exploit women; human trafficking , or any part that translates beauty into sex.
Within the prison system, women tend to lose their femininity by wearing jeans and loose t-shirts – all the same for everyone. The need to maintain some sense of individuality occurs, but to the extent it occurs is critical. As one female inmate states in the video, “your needs are used against you” and there is a large exploitation of inmates. By who? You guessed it, the male guards! Sexual bartering for simple items are perpetrated by the guards, who have unrestrained power over these inmates. By implementing these beauty schools, bartering for basic needs in the prison is minimized – hence, the superordinate factor, dignity restored.
Here are some interesting facts about female prisoners: 66% have mental issues, 75% have domestic violence, and 82% sexual abuse. No wonder a little dignity in appearance is important, and as the prisons are finding out. These cosmetology schools within the prisons are having great results – recidivism rates for inmates have dropped significantly! Great news, because women inmates are climbing at a 700% increase.
And here’s an FYI for you, the prison system is $173 billion dollar industry, eclipsing Uber, Netflix and Target. Hats off to Tammy Kennedy, who from scratch, began the cosmetology school in Oregon’s Coffee Creek Correctional Facility!
By Sharla Esparza