This is a response to all the annoying comments that I have seen online when ladies decide to wear their hair straight. All the women that automatically assume that if you decide to keep your hair straight, then you still are following the old standard of beauty that straight is the right way. To all the women that think you have a self-esteem issues if you wear your hair straight. If you have done this to wag your finger at women with straight hair, this simple message is for you.
Ah! No…just stop it.
Because really you are making the movement of going natural look really REALLY bad.
I don’t think I can roll my eyes enough when I see it happening every time I see a “holier than thou” natural bashing other women for wearing their hair straight. It is like a weird form of hair shaming I’ve seen quite often coming from naturals. I know that natural women still are battling people criticizing us for wearing our curls, coils, and kinks, but we shouldn’t be dishing it out to others to stick our nose up at women who prefer to wear their hair relaxed or flat ironed.
You may think in your mind that you’re helping them. That you’re trying to awaken them to see how they can be beautiful with just their own natural texture. But that is not the way to do it. I get your “good intentions”, but how you present this message can be all wrong.
Reminds me of one of my favorite demonstrations in the Cosby Show when Cliff tells Vanessa that when she surprised her family bringing her fiance Dabnis, she presented him like great meal on a trash can lid. He may have been a wonderful delicious steak and potatoes fresh of steamy goodness, but her presentation was horrible as if he was on a trash can lid to where her family wasn’t even initially open to what should be happy news. (See the video below)
YES, ladies. That’s EXACTLY what you’re doing.
When you speak to other ladies that wear their hair straight whether it’s relaxed or flat ironed, you are are presenting what should be an encouraging positive message, on a stinky nasty trash can lid that is your attitude of how something must be wrong with her for not wearing her hair in its natural state.
First, you don’t know anything about her hair to begin with. That weave she’s wearing, she might have longer natural hair than you up under it and she’s just wearing a weave as a protective style. That straight hair that flows in the wind, she may have recently decided to take a break from twist outs to have her hair flat ironed. But even if that relaxed hair that she is wearing is one that she has no intentions of cutting or transitioning, it is not your place to make assumptions and judgements about her just because she prefers her hair to be styled that way.
Hair is a preference. You are allowed to wear it in whatever style that you should choose. Because it’s YOUR hair coming out of YOUR scalp. And until someone says that they will do it for you every day for free (and actually know how to do hair), you are the only person that will have to deal with the work it takes for it to be in the style that you choose. Therefore people shouldn’t be fussing at you about how you wear your hair because all that should matter is if you like your hair. This goes for people that try to discourage others from being natural as well (but that’s for another post).
Bottom line is STOP trying to shame women into being natural. You talking down to women about how they are bound by societal standards and don’t love themselves isn’t going to convince them to be natural.
Instead what you should do is just share with someone your natural hair journey, the highs and the lows. Don’t glamorize it. Just be real and transparent. Then ask if they have ever thought about going natural. If they say yes, tell them to try it out some time and that you’re always here if they need you for advice. If they say no and they’re not interested, just say that if they ever decide to then you’re there if they need advice. I always tell people if you’re iffy, do a protective style (just be careful that it’s not too tight) while you research natural hair and of a good regimen that you can use for yourself. Then when you feel prepared and ready, try it out with your best effort. If you don’t care for it, then go back to whatever style you had before. No harm, no foul.
I just cringe when I hear people say natural hair isn’t for everybody. But realistically it’s not for everyone IF that person doesn’t want to change their hair care routine. If you don’t have the patience or the time to work with your natural hair as you will have to change your hair routine to some extent then it may not be for you. That is the only way it’s not for everyone. AND THAT’S OKAY.
So let’s all be a little more supportive of each other. Stop making it about self-esteem and more about preference. While there may be a few that may have it linked to self-esteem, that doesn’t mean it does for EVERYBODY, and it is definitely offensive when you assume it is with every woman you meet.
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