Haha, you see what I did there? Relax. Natural hair. Typically using these terms in the same sentence could start an all out war of words (see: Monday’s post). And it’d fittingly be choreographed to swinging jazz music and complemented by catchy lyrics–“Talkin ’bout good and bad hair, whether you’re dark or your fair, go on and swear, see if I care, good and bad hair!” Sadly, I feel like this may have already happened…
But back to the lecture at hand [#shoutout to Snoop D-o-double-g]… Often in this debate about “good” vs. “bad” hair, women who perm their hair or rock weaves/wigs are criticized and looked down upon because they don’t rock their natural kinks and naps. It’s also assumed that women who “process” their hair in any capacity do so because they want to appease to a Eurocentric view of beauty–the straighter and longer the better. Many people, especially women who quit the creamy crack to free their naps, buy into myths about natural hair being superior to hair that’s not natural. That’s right, myths. Fictitious concepts that have been perpetuated as truths without any proof or basis of reality… about natural hair.
Some myths about natural hair include, but are not limited to, the following:
- People with natural hair are deep and more enlightened than those who change the curl pattern/texture of their hair and are probably group-think-obsessed sheep anyway. No questions asked.
- People with natural hair automatically have higher self-esteem and a greater sense of self-worth than those who aren’t natural.
- People who choose not to rock natural hair, by default, hate themselves, their black roots, and in general have a poor self-image.
- Having natural hair is the only way to appreciate and embrace your African roots.
Now, I know plenty of sistas who are nappy and UNhappy and haven’t the slightest clue to what it means to be content. I’ve seen some of the freshest, flyest natural hairstyles on women who know as much about their African ancestry as I know about Flemish immigration to Ireland. And it seems the more a natural sista swears by Erykah, her donk, and her Window Seat vid, the less she’s able to distinguish her own a$s from a hole in the ground. *shrug* But like anything else, physical traits don’t dictate how one feels about themselves and/or understands the world (and their place in it).
I think it’s safe to say all of these assumptions are nonsense. Trust me, I’m a trained research scientist and I have a 95% confidence interval. To think how one chooses to wear their hair necessarily implies anything about them other than “they like to wear their hair like that” is just idiotic and recklessly presumptuous. I mean, am I the only one who listens and takes heed to India.Arie when she tells us that she is not her hair?! It’s just not that damn serious!!! *smh*
It’s because of people–namely women–perpetuating these myths that cause friction between the natural and not-natural camps and leads me to one conclusion. Now, I’ma go head and say somethin that other light skint (yes, skint) chicks with curly/wavy hair who often straighten it for a silky smooth look are probably too afraid to say aloud for fear of b[l]acklash. And that’s this: many women with natural hair are pretentious and full of sh*t. Yeah, I said it. Read it again if you need to–many women with natural hair are pretentious and full of sh*t. And what?
It’s bad enough women give each other a hard time over the silliest and pettiest drama (mostly over ain’t sh*t men), but to turn on each other over protein growing from the dermis of our scalp?! I have stories for days of how natural sistas have thrown me shade and made ugly remarks when I rocked my hair straight or even rocked it wet and wavy style. I mean, really. Sure, there are women who hate the natural curl and kink of their hair and do their damnedest to eliminate all signs of Ahf-ree-kuh and think their processed hair is better than women with ‘fros and locs. But there’s also plenty of women who love themselves, their roots (the genealogical kind as well as the hair kind lol), and their beauty who choose not to be “natural” simply because that’s their choice. Doesn’t a woman have the right to express herself in any fashion she prefers, even if that means altering her hair to be suitable for her tastes? Truth be told, natural hair can be time consuming and difficult to manage (especially if you’re not used to working with it in its natural state)–it ain’t for everybody! Nonetheless, it is makes absolutely ZERO sense to me for natural-headed women to treat not-natural-headed women the same way they’ve been treated–with hatred and a sense of superiority based on the choices made about their hair. And any woman with a superiority complex based on her hair is an imbecile. Period.
My mother permed my hair a couple times a year growing up because I was tender-headed and wanted NO parts of her combing through it. By college, I stopped the perming. But it wasn’t until recently that I accepted the challenge of learning how to work with my monstrously thick, unruly curls (and its 5 different curl patterns) and putt less heat on my hair to straighten it (which is by far the easiest way to wear/style it). So I’ll always support women who choose to be natural, especially those trying transitioning to being chemical-free. And I stay reppin for mixed chicks™ and other no-fuss natural hair products that help keep Black women’s hair healthy and beautiful. But I’ll be damned if I let my fellow natural sistas think just because their hair is unprocessed that they have a pass to be a$sholes to women who aren’t natural. (-_O) No ma’am(s)!! I shan’t tolerate ANY woman disrespecting or condemning another woman based on what hair fashions she deems acceptable. Yes, the history behind Black hair is painful but let’s put energy into supporting and teaching each other, not judging each other on some BS. The Black-on-Black-women’s-hair hate has got to stop.
So what do you think? Can Black women only be empowered in their beauty by having 100% natural hair? Is being natural overrated? For the sistas with chemically processed hair, do you feel like you’re “selling out’ because of your hair preferences? For the natural sistas, do you assign a woman’s worth based on how she chooses to wear her hair?
Currrrled and never scurrrred,