THE HAIR CONVERSATION

May 24, 2015





As a black woman in a western society, I've had "the hair conversation" one too many times. "Why is your hair so big?" "Is that your real hair?" "Okay, so I'm gonna slide my fingers down your braid and tell me where your hair stops" "Do black women even grow hair?" "That hair color is not for you/black people." It's extremely disappointing that people I've never met in my life, still touch my hair without asking. And still think it's okay to tell you what to do with your hair or what colour, cut, style your hair should be. However, that's not quite the "hair conversation" I'm talking about. (That's a whole other thought blog.) I'm talking about the hair conversation no one ever wants to have. The one where you realize people treat you better when you have straight hair.

Now, we all know that long, straight, flow-y horse-like hair is greatly appreciated in the Eurocentric world and curly, (No, I'm not talking about loose, iron curls) thick, hair that grows to the sky is considered "nappy." We're not immune to that way of thinking since it's so deep seeded in our brains. The "appreciating natural hair movement" is so recent and we're still not all the way there. Many appreciate long, loose, 3c curls but often lack appreciation for tight, thick, 4c curls. Coming for someone who has had all, [be it in the form of my own hair (4c) or extensions of some sort (weave, braids, etc)] I'd say that I have been treated better when my hair is slick, straight and long. I think I speak for many when I say we've been approached with the, "Why don't you (just) straighten your hair?" (or similar) comment.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind having straight hair (I say as I brush my straight black extensions back) and if you feel more confident with straight hair, rock it. However, I do not believe it is anyone's place to give unsolicited advice on the state of another person's hair. (For those of you who do this, yes, it is considered rude.) Many of you don't mean any harm, however, you are basically telling another person to change something about themselves.

Back on to the topic of treatment, people have told me I look "clean(er)/fresh/more beautiful/youthful/professional" with straight hair. I've been told curly/my natural hair doesn't "suit me." Hell, I have also had someone have the audacity to say "that's better." once seeing me with straight hair. To me, that's so incredibly rude. Why/How is it that my hair that was put on my head, not suit me? Why is the hair put on my head considered "unprofessional?" Why is it that when my hair is straight, I get more compliments/positive attention than when my hair is curly/natural? I think this is a topic to consider. Why is it that society is constantly putting down natural hair, but once that same hair is straightened it's "gorgeous?"

SMH.. All I really have to say is, love the hair you're in, and if ain't your hair, shut the f%!k up.


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