It’s Just Hair: Battling Societal Expectations of Black Hair

Lately I have been wearing my hair, in what some would call a “short afro”; or at least that’s the way it appears. A part of me doesn’t even what to really address this, but it appears that people are rather uncomfortable by my choice of hairstyle. Either people stare curiously or are bold enough to actually comment on my hair. I’ll get into that a bit later. As any natural, reading this would know, great time and energy is put into caring for my mane. I wash and condition my hair every week, and every week I make a split decision as to whether or not I’ll style my hair this way or that way.

 

Shrinkage!!

Shrinkage!!

 

My hair has a voice and personality of its own. Often times I feel as though, my hair is not really a reflection of me rather it is more of a reflection of itself. I’m sure that came across as a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but hear me out. I am an introvert by nature, I like being by myself, thank God I have friends who force me out of my cocoon, but you get the point. My hair on the other hand is LOUD, it yells, it appears passionate, and could possibly be an active member of the NAACP.

I wonder why so many people are so concerned with my hair choices. I’m comfortable with the hair growing out of my own head. I’m comfortable with the kind of curls that my head yields and I refuse to silence my crown. I’ve come up with a theory that people are partial and biased to “curly girls” with a loose texture/loose curl pattern. This is the very reason why I am against hair typing. While hair typing can be useful in helping with product purchases and overall hair health, it also causes a division many are unable to see with the naked eye. It goes back to Spike Lee’s School Daze, where there was an epic battle between the fair skin girls and the dark skin girls. Many people assume, because I’m natural that I’m pounding the sidewalks with picket signs protesting about civil rights. Let’s be clear, I am in fact very vocal about many things, civil rights included, but I would be vocal with or without a perm!

Not once, not twice, but more times than I could count, someone has either made a joke about me “needing” a perm or made a crass and completely ignorant comment about me “not” brushing my hair. insert side eye Usually, I hit people with something sassy and unexpected to shut them up, but lately I’ve been feeling like I’m being attacked for just being myself. It’s almost as if we have been conditioned to only accept ONE type of curly girl. Ridiculous! The natural hair movement is not specifically for light skin black girls, or brown skin black girls, or type 3 curly girls. In fact it’s for any woman black, white, hispanic, or other, that has chosen to embrace her natural hair texture, whatever that texture may be. I know there’s a huge uproar in the natural community about who we should or should not include. In my opinion, any woman bold enough to face the criticisms that surely come with choosing to simply wear her hair as is, is surely a member.

Attend any natural hair event, and you’ll find yourself being engulfed by a range of hair types and hair styles. I know I’m not alone when I silently flip someone the bird in my mind for being completely ignorant. I just cannot fully understand why people in general have such a problem with hair textures that are more coarse, thicker, and kinkier. It’s a form of self hate; you see a black woman with a wild bush and automatically it doesn’t fit into society’s standards. Well, here’s a NEWS FLASH: The natural movement isn’t a fad, it’s here to stay, and no two heads are the same!

So ladies, tell us…have you ever had to deal with “hair hate” and what did you do? Or say? Weigh in, in the comment section!

 

Till Next Time,

Jamilah

 

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Old Twist Out

Blow Out

Blow Out

 

 

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3 thoughts on “It’s Just Hair: Battling Societal Expectations of Black Hair

  1. First, let me say you and your hair are beautiful!

    Now, I hate that this discussion even has to be had, yet it does. I find it sad that woman that look just look you and I must put others down because of a personal choice to wear their/our natural hair. I agree wholeheartedly with everything that you said.

    I must admit that I have not dealt with this personally. I haven’t had anyone approach me and make rude comments or question wht I’m natural. I don’t even recall getting funny looks. I may have but I don’t pay people enough attention to even notice.

    What I have had happen, which amazes me is that people of other races LOVE my hair. I work at a school where I’m one of two black teachers. I get compliments all the time. But we’re hated on by people of our own race.

    Either way, I refuse to conform to someone else’s idea of beauty or what is acceptable. I love my kinky, coily, sometimes belligerent and wild natural hair.

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