Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Should we have an ‘Afro pride’ day?


..to help us celebrate the 'afro'/'nappy' hair type, make people get over the notion that it is an aberration of nature, to challenge the fear and non-acceptance of the hair type as valid and beautiful.

Would a ‘afro hair day’ (or week), give each of us bw the necessary support and encouragement to embrace our unique hair type, in the knowledge that as we walk around there will be sisters ‘freeing the fro’ all around us! This might break down the shame and the fear of being the lone sister with the afro and all the snide remarks and singling out which is enough to put most bw off.

Maybe a day or week like this would force upon the conscience of society that black hair must be accepted as it comes, in afro variety and it is neither shameful nor abnormal, because right now and as has been for generations there seems to be a concerted effort to shame the hair type into hiding!

That’s the part that we didn’t address with the Don Imus incident.

Apparently the natural hair on black head is the most offensive attribute of blackness. Whether you call it afro or nappy it is maligned the world over, to be tucked away and kept out of sight. A mark of some sort of ‘unevolved’ state.

These days black skin is normalising, black noses are in vogue but the appearance of the real black hair brings shock, with people (black and white) crossing to the other side of the road to flee such an abomination and avoid being associated with it by the question, “Is that how your hair grows as well”.

Three women were chosen to help design the recent Tony and Guy shampoo collection; Erin O’Conner, Helena Christensen and the shampoo for black hair is fronted by the singer Jamelia. It seemed like such a coup that a bw would front a mainstream campaign and black hair was being 'included' into mainstream as well. But in the ads, Jamelia has wavy hair down to her back; clearly a weave!



This made me very uncomfortable because we are talking shampoo here, and I was expecting an acknowledgement of the black hair type unless we are talking about shampooing a weave!

Indeed I went ahead to review a widely distributed CD on incorporating the shampoo into styling. The black woman they choose to go through the process had bone straight hair as any Caucasian (She was clearly mixed race)! I mean I am ok if they had to straighten the hair but the fact that they were so uncomfortable to start with the afro texture, threw me for six! Is the hair type that abhorrent to mainstream eyes!

Why is there this discomfort about acknowledging that our hair grows nappy? Has the wider society picked up on our anxiety that they would rather go along with the notion that straight hair sprouts from black scalp.

I forced myself to watch the white hairstylist (apparently well known), work on the Caucasian models just so I could compare notes and indeed, never once did she use the world unmanageable, nor frizzy and never once did I see her do the uncomfortable face twitching and the sucking in air thing she kept doing, as she referred to various aspects of the black hair type and the immense effort that would be needed with ‘it'. The Caucasian models hairs were approached with so much enthusiasm like she was so happy to get stuck in.

I totally get why bw feel a need to hide their hair type, there is no denying that we face rejection (particularly from BM), criticism, face being mocked for showing what God created us with. Bw already have it hard and it can become harder from the dating scene to the workplace if they go natural, so no one can convince me to blame sisters one bit for trying to get by. Indeed those who talk about pride in blackness and all that, make me want 'to tear my hair out in frustration' because they never want to grapple with fact that bw will face a tough journey for this choice. They dont want to talk about how we all can asist this process, they instead expect and want each bw to brave it alone and without any upholding, beings made of steel that we are. They get 'incredulous' that many bw might just not want to deal with all that. I guess bw dont deserve to safeguard their feelings and sanity, I mean how dare they think of personal safety and comfort!

I think the situation feeds off itself because white and black folks don’t learn to become comfortable with nappy hair, when we ‘hide’ it and this non-acceptance further causes us to continue to keep up the impression we are born ‘straight’.

So would a ‘Afro/Black/Nappy/Natural’ day help begin changing the climate, begin offering the support and safety in 'general outing' that would begin to encourage sisters to embrace their authentic self?

Any thoughts?

The E-Book is now available, get a copy for yourself or someone you know who needs a mindset change!

115 comments:

Taylor-Sara said...

halima
this topic really touches my heart,as I am a bw with hair problems. Although I am dark, I have alot of mixed blood in me-white and indian as a result,my hair is soft, too soft to straighten, yet perms break it off. because I am black it is also nappy (soft/nappy) so I NEVER know what to do with it. I get so frustrated, I just put weave braids in it and go. It is considered long in the BC (shoulder lenghth) yet I can never do anything with it. I know all about bad hair days believe me. I am not ashamed of it just don't know what to do with it. So I understand completely the issues dealing with black hair.

PS thought your donation box was very, very classy and will be making a donation soon-thank you for all your support of my new blog.-sara

http://sarasbloginterraciallove.blogspot.com/

Zabeth said...

I guess what's strange to me is why "nappy" has to be a bad word? Why does "nappy" or "natural" have to automatically connotate something negative. Yeah, my hair grows this way naturally- why do I have to be ashamed of that? That's just something I can't seem to wrap my head around.

pinkydj said...

Whew, this is a good subject. I was “going it alone” naturally in a very small town about ten years ago before being natural was more accepted. Now mind you, some of the harshest comments came from my own family. Anyhoo….I went natural because of a perm gone horribly wrong..lol—not because of an enlightened choice. I only found enlightenment after the disaster.

While my hair was “recovering” .lol, I got the most HATEFUL looks from both bw and bm when I dared to sport my short fro out in public. One would think I was a mass murderer or something. *smh* By the grace of God, I survived the ordeal LOVING my natural hair. Ten years and many natural styles later, I have shoulder-length locked hair. During the five years of locking..oy….again, the family weighed in with opinions ranging from shock to “please remove those pick-a-ninny’s from your head”. Ofcourse, NOW that my hair is long, I get tons of stares of amazement from those same family members..gasping “who would have ever thought YOU would be the one with long hair”…lol. Whatever.

I will say though, absolutely nothing, lol, will make you more INVISIBLE to *some* bm than natural hair; and if you're into IR relationships that's fine..lol. I do think it’s critical for bw to support other bw who choose to “find” their natural hair…because heaven knows there will be a lot of detractors out there…even in 2007…who will try to make us feel “un-pretty” for the choice.

pinky

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Ah, black women and our hair! It always comes to it.

I've worn my hair naturally for about 15 years now, and I have not looked back. My hair is thick with a tight curl. Washing it softens it so that I can comb it well. I plait it to prevent it from becoming knotted. Plaiting it also gives the hair a nice wave to it, once I comb it out.

About once per month, I have it pressed for the sake of doing something different.

I used to go to black barbers, who didn't know how to style it. I finally found a black stylist who does a great job.

Now this is interesting--the black stylist works out of a white salon, and one day recently, she was unavailable, so a white stylist subbed for her.

This is a white woman who learned at a school in one of the local communities in the "pioneer valley" that is more integrated, compared to the community where I'm living, and where the salon is.

She did a great job, not as fast as the black stylist, and one of the trainees helped her when needed.

This white salon, definitely an upscale place, has a pragmatic approach to cultivating a clientele. Most of their clients are white, Hispanic, Asian, but they know there are black women around, and they see the value in hiring stylists who have had exposure to doing black women's hair, or who are interested in learning, like the young assistant.

So will that mean less black female stylists will get hired? It is not impossible, that once they learn how to do our hair, there will be less of a reason to hire black women altogether.

On the other hand, there aren't that many black women stylists I know of in this area, and one black female stylist was incredibly unprofessional the one time I had an appointment with her: she stood me up! That is how I wound up at the white salon.

But fortunately, I didn't experience the trepidation I experienced in calling white salons to ask whether they do "ethnic" hair. A neighbor works at the white salon I go to. A Hispanic woman, she recommended the black stylist.

Miriam said...

unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to participate in the Afro pride day as I am always with a head-covering.

(not to mention that after my last preg. I soo didn't take care of my hair that by the time I delivered and was 'back to normal' all I could do for my knotted hair was to cut it and lay it to rest)

Would braided hair count? that's natural.

Evia said...

I guess what's strange to me is why "nappy" has to be a bad word? Why does "nappy" or "natural" have to automatically connotate something negative. Yeah, my hair grows this way naturally- why do I have to be ashamed of that? That's just something I can't seem to wrap my head around.

I don't think "nappy" hair is bad at all. It's hair with a tight curl. That's all so-called "nappy" hair is. My hair is nappy and I don't ever think my hair is bad in any way. I wear it in natural twists that are medium length--at the back touching my shoulders.

I might feel good about my hair because since I've been grown, I've mostly socialized with Africans, whites, and other none-AAs, and none of these other people have EVER said anything negative about my hair. When they have commented anything about my hair, it's ALWAYS been something positive. The only time my hair has been looked at as less-than has been from AAs.

I've noticed too that Africans put very little emphasis on hair compared to AAs.

The white men, African men, Arab men, and other men I've dated have been nothing but complimentary about my hair, my skin, nose, lips, eyes, figure, and my other attributes.

It's hard for me to think of myself in a negative way. Yet, I've noticed that some people get upset with a bw if she doesn't come off as feeling less-than. I'm sorry, I can't pretend to feel less-than because I don't.

Anonymous said...

BW and their hair! This will be a topic that will never stop being discussed. The damage that we incur very early in our childhood to practically "hate" our own naturally curly hair is just wrong! And our own loved ones are aiding and abetting these acts of terror! (Okay, I know I'm getting dramatic! LOL)

That curly hair that white people try and get at the beauty salon.

We got it for free!

This "ideal" beauty that is said to be held in high esteem.

We have our own beauty!

Bone straight hair that needs chemicals just to curl it...What? When all you have to do is part your hair with a little oil/moisturizer and do a quick twirl with your finger. Boom! I got a Shirley Temple, just like that. And it will last me all week long. Pull the curls apart and I got another hairstyle! Who can do that? Tell me a white woman or Asian woman that can do that....without using chemicals or heat!?

I remember a few years ago when I decided to go natural. I adored it, although I had no idea how to take care of it or what to do, but I loved the way it felt.

My ex, who was black, was the first to put it down. He really upset me by showing his dislike for something that was "naturally" my own. My black co-workers always made comments on me needing to "get a perm".

Thankfully I'm used to the negative, but I shouldn't have had to hear it, especially not from people who claimed to care about me!

I recently grew my natural back out two years ago after relaxing it and momentarily dealing with "flowing long hair" (which lasted all of a minute before it fell out!) I learned more about how to take care of it this go around and enjoy the different hairstyles from Afro puffs to twists. So I celebrate my Afro EVERYDAY!!!

Dee

D said...

I'd like to thrown another dimension onto the problem, if I could...

I'm a caucasian male, with medium brown hair... I was married and had two children with an irish italian girl with dark auburn hair... so my daughter has medium brown hair, that's a little wavy, but pretty straight.

For whatever reason, if my daughter was left to her own devices, she would feel compelled to dye her hair blond, and straighten it... not that it's very curly to begin with...

And her classmates and mother reinforce this. Her grandmother on her mom's side is blondish (now with the help of peroxide), and so my ex tells my daughter "you're blond, like your grandma". First of all, no she's not, her hair is very clearly medium brown. And second of all, it makes my daughter want to dye her hair blond, as if that's better.

So this prejudice against curl and darker color is not just limited to nappy hair... even the white girls are buying it, and spending ridiculous amounts of time, money, and self-esteem to fit in with straight blond hair.

I've told my daughter a few hundred times her hair is beautiful the color she was born with... and so far, it's working pretty well... she's just got highlights, and has slowed down on the straightening thing now that she has figured out it gives her split ends.

This has been a pet peeve of mine for quite a while, so I notice how pervasive this bias from others and desire to fit in with lighter and straighter is... for example, if I notice a girl went heavy enough with the highlights to effectively change her hair color lighter, and I say "I see you did some highlights..." (I didn't say I liked it, just that I noticed)... the woman will consistenltly say something like "Yeah! I've gotten a lot of compliments from people, they really like it, they say it brings out my eyes... I might keep it this way for good..." But if a woman goes darker, she catches all kinds of grief for it. A woman I dated last year whose natural hair color is light brown with a little touch of of blond and red, dyes her hair blond... In discussion my "natural is beautiful, and don't let the world bully you into thinking differently" opinion came out. When it was time for her next blond touch-up, she went halfway back to natural instead, toward brown with a little bit of red... and her friends and family jumped all over her, and told her it looked awful... she was back to blond within a week.

But they were wrong... she was beautiful either way... so why not be natural and proud of it?

I could think of twenty other examples, but I'll stop there...

Grrrrrrr... this makes me mad...

Natural is beautiful. And those that don't agree can do whatever they want to their own head... but don't put those burdens on anyone else! : )

D said...

Oh, I forgot to comment on afro-pride day... I'd say the issue is broader than that... since it's not limited to black women, I'd say it should even be a natural pride day. Invite the white girls into your party... they need to hear the same message.

(natural being defined as real hair with no chemicals to straighten or lighten)

grant said...

Halima:

Who's the babe in the photo?

I have generally tried to stay away from discussions about "the hair", but I guess it's about time I stuck my neck out-LOL. Go easy on me gang!

When I saw the photo on today's topic, my FIRST reaction was, "Wow, I would really like to run my fingers through it!" I think hair is very sensual and I love the texture and feel of it in my fingers. Now I realize that it is a very sensitive subject for you ladies, but as a wm, the manner in which you wear your hair is not a deal breaker, if you're happy with it, I'm happy with it, and I rather suspect that most guys feel-IR minded guys that is-feel the same as me.

Since I'm not big on makeup anyway, I lean more toward the natural look, and if you have ever had someone massage your scalp-whooee-now that is the second best feeling thing in the world. My best friend has warned me (she has been my mentor in this area) "ya don't mess with a sistas hair-ever!", but I have to say that touching a woman's hair is much the same as touching her skin for me, i.e. an expression of affection.

Well, I suppose you are lining up trying to decide who gets to jump on me first, so I'll stand over here and take my lumps-LOL.

Creolenola said...

I have moved often across the southeast and have had the task of finding new stylist in each city I move to. I know I would not be comfortable with a white women doing my hair hispanic maybe but that would be my limit. I had to adjust to getting my facials done by a white women I was not comfortable with her touching me and giving me advice but lucky I have worked it out and now come to enjoy my facials with her.
I am so envious of the women where I work most of the african-american women have braids, twists, or just short lovely naturals and they look so good. I want to do it but have summoned up the whatever needed to go natural. I want braids soooooo bad. lol.

Anonymous said...

Hello Halima, I've been reading your blogs with great interest. I happy to report that I had my own 'natural day' as I was in between braiding sessions. I washed and conditioned my hair and wore a 'fro with my African inspired outfit and cowry shell jewelry. I wish I could post a pic:)
The last time I had a 'fro was in the late 70's when I was a young woman. I enjoyed the soft, free feeling of my hair and I received many admiring looks.Even my boyfriend( who is white) couldn't take his eyes off of me. Thanks for your encouragement,I will have more Free The Fro days.

Taylor-Sara said...

I was not implying my hair was bad because it's nappy (if that is the impression i was giving) I was saying that I have hair problems due to the fact that i do not know what to do with it. When I take it out people usually ooh and ah because it's shiny, thick and almost long -about an inch past my shoulder- but like I said it's too soft to do anything with won't hold a curl a straightning, or even a perm (for more than a few weeks) Most people in my fam have long, thick, 'mixed' hair so mine is always looked at in amazement.

sprite said...

At taylor-sara..
__________________________
I understand where you are coming from beleive me! I have thick tightly coiled natural hair - natural for 3 years now since a perm went disastrously wrong but I have worn weaves or braids since as there was so little information or support on caring for our hair. All the black stylists here that I have visited were clueless or assumed I was mad..well they ought to be properly ashamed - call yourself a black hair stylist yet you cannot style all varieties of hair!
Anyway my point is - the internet saved my life - starting with afrobella's site, by way of naturally curly dot com, nappturality and others I have been able to pick up great tips from many natural sister's and test some of the amazing, wholesome products out there designed for nappy/curly/coily hair. There is something for everyone so why not check out those sites?
________________________________
@ Halima - short answer - YES for celebrating the afro.
I do not think nappy is a bad word. I could be in the minority here though...

Miriam said...

speaking of hair, here's a doozy for IR relationships.

We have twin girls. One has my type of hair the other has my husband.

I now i've got to do my darnest to make sure they both love themselves and each other.

Sometimes I think of societal pressures I have to counter and start sweatin'! lol

Aimee said...

D said...

this prejudice against curl and darker color is not just limited to nappy hair... even the white girls are buying it, and spending ridiculous amounts of time, money, and self-esteem to fit in with straight blond hair.

You better believe it. Just ask any pretty, curly-haired white brunette what it feels like to walk down the street with a less attractive blonde friend--and be absolutely invisible to men.

Just ask yourself exactly WHO is buying all those flat irons, 5-hour, $1000 Japanese hair straightening processes, and salon "highlighting" (or the latest--Brazilian formaldehyde straightening--which is EXACTLY what it sounds like--paying someone in a GAS MASK to pour a toxin on your head for the goal of straight hair).

BW really beat themselves up over their hair and the lengths we go to alter it, but I will say that I have found more BW who are at least conscious that there might be something a little rotten in Denmark--that a system of beauty that requires that you go to such extreme measures to alter yourself should at least perhaps be questioned, if not challenged.

Most women just bow to it, and many end up being destroyed by it, literally--and if you think about women like Karen Carpenter, and the unexplored toxicity of so many of these bleaching, straightening, implanting, tanning procedures, you can see I am not being dramatic.

As sisters we could sure use an Afro pride day. But I think women in general really need to start thinking more critically about the things we unthinkingly inflict on ourselves in our obedience to a Nordic ideal of beauty that has nothing to do with who 95% of us are. It's scary.

Selena said...

sprite said...
At taylor-sara..
__________________________
I understand where you are coming from beleive me! I have thick tightly coiled natural hair - natural for 3 years now since a perm went disastrously wrong but I have worn weaves or braids since as there was so little information or support on caring for our hair. All the black stylists here that I have visited were clueless or assumed I was mad..well they ought to be properly ashamed - call yourself a black hair stylist yet you cannot style all varieties of hair!
Anyway my point is - the internet saved my life - starting with afrobella's site, by way of naturally curly dot com, nappturality and others I have been able to pick up great tips from many natural sister's and test some of the amazing, wholesome products out there designed for nappy/curly/coily hair. There is something for everyone so why not check out those sites?

ITA^^^ Twist Outs and two strand twists are my friends! I totally destroyed my hair with that creamy crack. Halima's description of her hair is a lot like mine. With the right hair products (Cantu Shea Butter condish and many other), its been so easy taking care of my hair. I can't even tell you the last time I used a hair dryer on my hair! I just wash, condish, moisterize, curl define and twist.

Zabeth said...

FYI:

There’s a good site for BW who wear their hair naturally http://www.motowngirl.com/content/.

She has a monthly newsletter and offers tips on how to style and maintain natural black hair.

roslynholcomb said...

Every day is Afro pride day for me as I haven't had any chemicals or straightening on my hair since 1998. I also haven't been in a so-called beauty salon in that length of time. (Except to color my gray, which I mainly do at home as well.) I just got tired of the whole ritual. Hours waiting for so-called beauticians who treat you like crap and have no concept of customer service.

Our hair doesn't need fixing. It's not a goddamned birth defect. Nor do we need hair stylist. Your best styling tools are at ends of your arms. I put nothing on my hair except a weekly shampoo (cheap Suave) and it grows like a weed and is incredibly healthy. We black women in America spend billions of dollars a year on our hair. It's like some type of addiction we desperately need to get over. Clearly it's a symptom of our greater issues, but I won't be convinced that we're in recovery until I begin to see most of us wearing our hair nappy.

Anonymous said...

i love my nappy hair!

sprite said...

ITA^^^ Twist Outs and two strand twists are my friends! I totally destroyed my hair with that creamy crack. Halima's description of her hair is a lot like mine. With the right hair products (Cantu Shea Butter condish and many other), its been so easy taking care of my hair. I can't even tell you the last time I used a hair dryer on my hair! I just wash, condish, moisterize, curl define and twist.

____________________________

LOL @ "creamy crack"! So apt. Yeah, the array of products for nappy hair nowadays reads like a candy store list - burnt sugar pomade, curling custard, whipped pudding, juice and berries...I'm having so much fun testing all this stuff I can tell you. Still a wash n go girl but will be attempting a twistout soon - probably using cantu butter.

Halima said...

thnaks for all your comments and the sharing of personal stories. Without doubt i have my own hair issues.

like some noted, my hair is also supersoft and perms particularly the 'no-lye' types result in severe shedding! i had to grow my hair from scratch twice in the last five years!

Halima said...

Roslyn
We black women in America spend billions of dollars a year on our hair. It's like some type of addiction we desperately need to get over.


Roslyn just for clarity, are you saying that you dont understand why bw would want to hide their natural hair and our actions in this regard are irrational and inexplicable!

You appear to be berating bw without recognising or acknowledging the context within which they make these hair choices!

Robin said...

http://www.nappturality.com/forum/

Ms CPA said...

I agree with Roslyn. Every day is Afro Pride day for me too. I've been wearing a short natural for ages. I don't think it's berating bw to say that the ability to cut short or effectively deal with rude questions or comments about our hair begins with us getting comfortable with and being confident about our nappy hair (nappy is not a bad word to me!). We set boundaries with people in other areas of our lives, why can't we do it with our hair?

La ~ msviswan said...

I think Afro pride should be an everyday awareness. The more people (everyone) see it, the more it becomes openly embraced and therefore proudly ideal for more black women.

Personally, I don't embrace "nappy". However, I don't really get offended when I hear other black people use it to describe their own hair. I simply prefer natural tress or natural curls etc. I think some black people don't realize that "nappy" actually appeared from the same derogatory construct as the n-word. The two were also created by the same people for the same purpose. So, Nappy is obviously interpreted differently by many black people and I think that should be respected either way. How I look at it, just like some black people try to apply reverse psychology in hopes of converting the n-word into something positive, some seem to be doing the same for "nappy".

Evia,
as for white people "complementing" natural black hair, I won't doubt it. It might be genuine or it could also be a rhetorical ice breaker depending on the setting, especially if it's cozy casual. However, would these same white people hire a "nappy" headed afro black woman for their elite business? For white and corporate America, it still seems a black woman's natural state of hair (afro) is considered "unprofessional", but a white woman's usual natural state of hair (straight) is considered ideal. I'm just saying. As for Africans, it depends on the area of Africa they live or the area they may come from. I've seen so many African women into every piece of weave or trend imaginable. Even so, someone could also say many black Africans (men and women) seem to bleach their skin excessively compared to African Americans. In order to compare, I'm just considering the source here.

Roslyn said "We black women in America spend billions of dollars a year on our hair. It's like some type of addiction we desperately need to get over. "

I agree for most part, but it won't be so bad if we black people/black women had the business control over "our" hair industry to begin with. Even so, we spend billions of dollars on other things that may not benefit "us" either way. I also have a friend with natural hair that makes that same money comment. Yet, I always remember this is the same black woman that refuses to spend less than 100 bucks on her many pairs of shoes and simple sandals. Just saying...

Daphne said...

Well, I will weigh in on this discussion as a woman with relaxed hair, as we tend to be pretty silent on this issue on the blogs/message boards I frequent. Some of our silence may be attributed to the fact that many black women do hate their hair in a naturally curly (or nappy, whatever you prefer) state, and don't want to own up to it. Some of it may be that there is a perception of shame, at least in the blogoshpere, for those who admit to relaxing their hair. I'm fortunate enough to know how to maintain my own relaxed hair, although I have had negative salon experiences.

I'll just be honest - I have certainly pondered wearing my hair naturally. But I don't have the patience to wait however long for it to grow to a length in which I'm comfortable. The transition phase, while I realize it can be done, seems rather precarious. Doing the big chop is the easiest, but I'll just say it: not every woman can rock a TWA, in my opinion. Thus, you can call me lazy, you can call me a self-hater, you can call me whatever - if I could convert my relaxed hair to its natural state without having to transition or wear it short for a significant period of time, I'd do it. However, right now, I'm not feeling it. Of course, I could change my mind in the near (or not so near) future. Kudos to those who have done it, or are currently doing it. I know many women who relax their hair not only hate their own hair, but anyone else's hair in its natural state. I'm not one of those women. I also know women who were natural, and decided to relax.

All that said, I have no problem with an Afro pride day.

And if I haven't shot my credibility to hell on the subject already, lol, I'd just like to add that I agree with Aimee. It ain't just the sistas with self-image issues.

Let Love Rule said...

Celebrating one's natural hair.

Yes!!!!!!!!!!

But we need an entire week at least, not just a day.

Let Love Rule said...

Aimee said...
...a system of beauty that requires that you go to such extreme measures to alter yourself should at least perhaps be questioned, if not challenged.
___________________________________

And roslynholcomb said...
Our hair doesn't need fixing. It's not a goddamned birth defect.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For some reason that statement made me think of Chinese women and foot binding.

Really the tortures and shame some women endure because we can't make peace with our natural selves. Not to speak of the environmental and physical harms that so many of the chemicals used to change our hair causes.

Is it really worth it? Perhaps in a century the women will look back at our obsession with our hair, the same way most people view foot binding today. Ridiculous!

Halima said...

some folks seem to be avoiding the issue me thinks!

Are we saying that bw should be willing to endure not going to the prom, being invisible to men (particularly bm who are still the closest males around), endure being the butt of jokes, hateful stares maybe career repression and call all this, no big deal?

Hmmmm

and i dont recall chinese women binding their own feet or maybe i got the wrong picture!

Ana said...

Oh goodness. I love your blog and I'm adding it to my google. Are you Episcopalian?

Halima said...

ana do you mean do i attend the church? If so no, i guess i claim to be pentecostal!

Welcome BTW.

Creolenola said...

I have chemcially straightened and colored hair that I have had since the red sea was parted. I love the fact that unlike white women or asian women black women can have so much choice and diversity in our hair. I could chose to go natural I could choose to go fine and striaght. I could texturize it I could frizz it up super curly. I love having those options. I think rather than trying to convince black women the relaxer is evil or a tool of the white society we need to look at it as a choice that sistah has made and tommorrow she could make another. We don't have this same debate over makeup and many women who will get on sistahs who relax their hair will paint their faces like a rembrant. I think if we learn to respect peoples differences even within our own group we will have afro day, curly weave day, ponytail day...etc.

Let Love Rule said...

Halima said...
Are we saying that bw should be willing to endure not going to the prom, being invisible to men (particularly bm who are still the closest males around), endure being the butt of jokes, hateful stares maybe career repression and call all this, no big deal?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lest we forget, only a generation ago NATURAL HAIR WAS IN VOGUE, as in the prominent style. Believe me the ladies of that era went to the prom with dates and those who processed their hair were the ones likely to be stigmatized.

And many, many prominent successful women of today wear their hair naturally. Whoopi Goldberg's natural hair has not impeded her success, nor did it stop her from being married THRICE.

Those who would stigmatize natural hair will likely stigmitize you on other physical features as well.
And if you are being discriminated against for this or that feature, depending on the circumstance, it is ILLEGAL and you should go to court.

This question isn't really about societal stigma, it's about SHAME, and feeling ashamed about one's natural self.

I have no problem with a woman freely CHOOSING to do this or that with her hair, as long as she understands that her natural hair is just as beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen close ups of the hair. But, in case anyone was wondering- There are bw with waistlength and beyond (relaxed or pressed hair) which is often very thick. It has the appearance of a weave because these women have become educated or family members have just happened on the proper hair routine by tradition.
The consequence of knowing what to do and what not to do and being consistent is hair that people will tug on and pull at..SO let's be careful about the "weave" label.

LHCF.COM
CATHY HOWSE
NAPPTURALITY ETC.

(THE BASICS)
MOISTURE (necessary, DAILY)
STRETCHING RELAXERS
TEMPLES AND NAPE RELAXED LAST
PROTIEN TREATMENTS
END PROTECTION
MINIMAL HEAT
NO HEAT (MOST SUCCESSFUL)

Halima said...

Let love rule
Your comments are a little to ‘neat’, too rosy with optimism that I don’t know whether you are being serious and really keying into the gravity of what bw face on this front.

you think that there is absolutely no reason why bw carry around this shame of their natural selves, its basically self inflicted i suppose!

Are you really and actually giving this discussion the level of analysis it requires?

Evia said...

How I look at it, just like some black people try to apply reverse psychology in hopes of converting the n-word into something positive, some seem to be doing the same for "nappy".

Or there could be many other reasons for why some black people do this or that. Remember, there's lots of diversity of opinions AND behaviors among black people. We don't ALL do things for the same reasons.

For ex. I use the words "nappy" or "natural" or "kinky" interchangeably because to me those are just not bad words. Maybe it's because I haven't had countless bad experiences of job rejection and such due to my nappy hair. My nappy hair has never been a frequent source of ridicule or pain for me like it is for some black females. As a child, I had other things going for me, so if and when someone got negative re my hair, my own inner self-concept re all of my positives would kick in and I could easily counter that.

As an adult, I have very deliberately avoided associating with ignorant (of the stupid, brainwashed or racist kind) people. Black women could do themeselves a BIG favor by not associating with ignorant black folks, whether it's at church, family, or anywhere else ESPECIALLY if you haven't developed an immunity to their poison. The opinions of stupid, brainwashed and racist people are worthless to me. Their opinions, while annoying, don't ever pierce my inner self. These days, many bw can ALSO position themselves to avoid or counter many racist white people, that is if bw were taught properly and had the right mindset about this--just like bw could position themselves to avoid DBRbm. We will always have enemies and adversaries. We can learn the mental weaponry to counter them.

On the romantic front, I would not want ANY man who considered my nappy-natural-kinky hair to be less-than, so if a bm rejected me due to my hair (and I'm sure many have), I wouldn't consider that a lost opportunity. As I've often said, bw need to be trying hard to PUSH ALL those damaged men towards non-bw anyway.

So, I would only avoid using the terms nappy-natural-kinky if I felt they offended the person I was talking with. The n-word is TOTALLY in another universe compared to the word "nappy" IMO.

Evia, would these same white people hire a "nappy" headed afro black woman for their elite business? For white and corporate America, it still seems a black woman's natural state of hair (afro) is considered "unprofessional", but a white woman's usual natural state of hair (straight) is considered ideal.

La, I totally agree with this sentiment, but you're making the "that's not fair" argument here. This is one of my HOT buttons--LOL! so what I'm about to say is not directed at you. As adults, black people should definitely KNOW by now that 'life is NOT fair'. DUH! LOL! Yet, most black folks I've ever encountered are not prepared to DO anything much to MAKE life fair. So that's a "DUH" argument and needs to be buried.

The reason why whites have the upper hand and can wear their hair the way they want is because at some point in time, a portion of them--enough of them-- were/are willing to DO certain things--VERY ugly, vile, nasty, unspeakably evil things and die in massive numbers, if necessary, to get and keep that upper hand for the benefit of themselves, their progeny, and the ones who they consider to be in their group. Some black folks (for ex. Idi Amin) do and have done those same type vile things to ONLY get for "self" or for themselves and a small number of others in their in-group and have crapped on the rest of their "own." The irony of this is that whites are considered by lots of blacks to be "individualistic" and so many blacks consider "black culture" to be communalistic. LOL!

So La, I've read the books and heard all of the black nationalists arguments and could argue and have argued their side of this issue and did a spectacular job of it, but that's a TIRED and useless argument.

TODAY, bw need to be focused on what we are going to DO to "MAKE" life fairer for ourselves. We can see that we've largely been abandoned by "our men." (trolls, and bm apologists, go to hell!)

A lot of higher quality other men in the world of all nationalities DON'T CARE whether an attractive, well-groomed, fit, intelligent bw who behaves with decorum has NAPPY or KINKY or NATURAL or DYED, or BRAIDED or WEAVED or PERMED hair!! For the greater portion of most higher quality men, it's not about what's on an attractive and FIT woman's head, it's about what's IN her head. Does she have finesse? Good values? Pleasant personality? How does she carry herself? How does she make him "feel?" This last question is critical because it's often overlooked in the mating game.

As for Africans, it depends on the area of Africa they live or the area they may come from. I've seen so many African women into every piece of weave or trend imaginable. Even so, someone could also say many black Africans (men and women) seem to bleach their skin excessively compared to African Americans. In order to compare, I'm just considering the source here.

La, as with anything, it has to do with the PROPORTION of them who do this or that. I know Africans right now who bleach their skin and wear weaves, but the greater portion of the African men and women I know and encounter and have ever encounterd DON'T and WOULDN'T consider doing it. They don't see anything wrong or bad about having dark skin and kinky hair. Also, SOME of them bleach and straighten in the West, U.S. and UK, to fit in or to appeal to brainwashed other blacks and racist whites or to avoid excessive hostility, and a lot of that hositility comes at them from AAs. I've witnessed this many times. To me, there's a BIG difference between getting a weave to get and/or keep a job and getting it because you think your nappy hair is shameful and ugly. After all the bills must be paid.

EVERYBODY engages in trade-offs sometimes--including most whites.

And if black folks want to MAKE life fair, then they have to put their money where their mouths are. For ex. there were a couple of sistas on here a few weeks ago talking about making movies that would feature black women positively. I didn't read one comment where anyone asked those sistas where to send the money to help to support that effort or ask for their business plan. LOL! Talk is SO CHEAP.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of pressure on women in general with regard to hair. Even white women do much more with their hair than white men. The average white male probably gets a haircut and uses grease and a comb. The pressure seems greatest for black women.

One even sees signs of this with black men. In the 80s, black men commonly sported Gerry Curls and relaxers. Look at performers like Prince, Michael Jackson, Morris Day, Larry Blackman (from Cameo), Little Richard, James Brown, and on and on. The trend was to straighten the hair. Even today, being that relaxers in the hair is not today's style for black males, what you see is the very common act of cutting their hair completely off or very close to it. Rarely do you see young black males with medium length hair. They cut the "naps" out (a luxury black females really don't have).

The pressure on women to have long hair is the main key and with long hair comes more responsibility. The Afro was a perfect style for black women, but it went out of style after a decade and for most black women, long hair without relaxers and perms equals Afros.

Also, one thing that must be considered is that with black hair, there is the difficulty of running a comb through it. Black hair tends to tangle quite easily and this adds to the pressure to cut it off or chemically straighten it.

Taylor-Sara said...

I have a question,
what are the best shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer for Black hair,and is it ok to leave braids in for long periods of time. (I take it out and wash it weekly) but is it ok to keep wearing braids long term?

PS. everyone please stop over and take the bastard test.
http://sarasbloginterraciallove.com/

GoldenAh said...

>>I have a question,
what are the best shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer for Black hair,and is it ok to leave braids in for long periods of time. (I take it out and wash it weekly) but is it ok to keep wearing braids long term?

1) I don't know if it will work for your hair: I use Cream of Nature or Suave Conditioner. I rarely shampoo my hair, unless I want to remove product build-up.

2) Grow Afro Hair Long Very informative site on dealing with braids for long periods of time.

3) I wear my hair natural, in 2 strand twists, and wash it every 1-2-3 weeks. I put in plenty of aloe vera or curl activator. I oil the ends and scalp sometimes.

4) With conditioner in hair, it's way easier to comb. I comb it in the shower....

Hope this helps.

GoldenAh said...

To answer your question, Halima: certainly! It would be nice to see a world wide celebration of black beauty.

D said...

Halima said...

Let love rule
Your comments are a little to ‘neat’, too rosy with optimism that I don’t know whether you are being serious and really keying into the gravity of what bw face on this front.

you think that there is absolutely no reason why bw carry around this shame of their natural selves, its basically self inflicted i suppose!

------------------------

Halima... I usually agree with a lot of what you say, and I bought your e-book, and it was a good book... but I tend to agree more with llr here.

I personally think natural beauty is the most beautiful. I'm not a fan of coloring or straightening hair, fake nails, heavy makeup (especially foundation... ick!)

And so there are people out there who not only find natural beauty equal to, but BETTER than artificial beauty. And if more women could CONFIDENTLY carry their natural beauty, the appreciation of natural beauty would go up even more.

And a significant part of the problem is the pressure women put on EACH OTHER... insinuating and downright nasty comments that would throw a wrench in just about anybody's self-esteem if repeated over and over. Could you all please stop doing this to each other? (Not you, specifically, but a lot of women in general.)

And something you'd learn in any Psychology 101 class is that "rosy optimism" is healthy, to some degree, and that people who tilt a little toward "unjustified" optimism are happier and more successful than their more "realistic" counterparts (white people, black people, purple people, whatever...) and to the degree that is true, SOME of the pain and suffering IS self-inflicted.

I have a black female friend who wears her hair natural, and she is always 'switching it up', i.e. from a short fro, to twists, to braids, to a long fro, and a few other styles I don't even know how to explain... and she makes it all look good. She's got a good sense of style, but still... she just does it... no fuss, no posturing... she just shows her natural beauty. She has flat out said that interracial is not her thing, and that's fine with me, and we're just friends... but that doesn't mean I can't notice her beauty, and give her a compliment on her new 'do.

I guess what I'm saying is that if my friend can resist the pressures to straighten or color, and it's just not an issue to her... she's not tortured about it... then it's clearly possible to go natural and deal with the world's reaction. Some people might give you a negative vibe, but f*** them! Others will be giving you a positive vibe, THOSE are the people to pay attention to.

In my opinion, trying to address this issue by focusing on the negative (what some people think, and how some people discriminate) only increases the strength of that energy-sucking whirlpool.

Focus on the positive. Just be confident, hold your head high, and ignore the haters. Find beauty within yourself, and radiate it out.

And the more comfortable a woman (this applies to men, too) gets with it, the better it works.

A little Pollyanna?... maybe. But it works.

D

Anonymous said...

Co-signing Roslyn...every day is Afro Pride day for me. Been natural coming up on 12 years and for the record, 9 of those 12 years were spent in corporate America and NOBODY OF IMPORTANCE (meaning, nobody in control of my paycheck or promotion) had a problem with my hair or its styles. In those 9 years I had one black boss and he didn't have a problem with it. So I wish people would stop perpetuating this notion that you have to have straight or less-nappy hair to make it in corporate America. You have to have intelligence and skills first and foremost and although not all natural hairstyles are appropriate for all environments, there isn't a single environment in which a natural hairstyle of some kind won't work.

One refreshing thing about being in academia is that most of the black female graduate students and professors have natural hair. In fact today was the first day I heard a sister defend her choice to use a relaxer...sadly she had to add a comment about dreads that I personally thought a little disparaging. If you're conditioned, as many of us were, to think of nappy hair as a birth defect, it's hard not to consider going natural without feeling some kind of fear. It's that fear that needs to be addressed and dealt with because I don't care how you wear you hair...if you can't experience your natural hair without fear then that's a problem, sorry.

Please note I'm not saying you have to STAY natural...I'm all for hairstyling choice...but you shouldn't be afraid to BE natural.

Sandra said...

I have to admit that I'm lazy with regard to my hair. I've tried wearing it natural and semi-natural, but it's a lot of work for me to keep it looking healthy and neat that way. I have a relaxer on my hair because it is the easiest and laziest way for me to wear my hair - I go to the hairstylist every 2 months to get a touch-up relaxer and color to cover my "silver" (they're NOT grey!) hairs and to get a trim or cut as needed. In between I wash and condition my hair at home every other week (I did say I was lazy about my hair) and at night I just pin it under with 2 large pins, put a satin bonnet on, and in the mornings I run my fingers through it, shake it out, and GO - that takes me between 20 and 30 seconds.

I love all different black hair textures, and I love braids (again, not too much care needed), and I love varying my hair styles for special occasions. People are always asking if I had my hair cut (when all I did was let it go really curly), or I let it go straight and people think I'm wearing a weave. I love having black hair and the variety of it. The only thing I don't like about it is that with a relaxer I can't color it as adventurously as I would like because my hair breaks easily if I have to lighten it before adding color.

Anyway, here's to black hair!

La ~ msviswan said...

"To me, there's a BIG difference between getting a weave to get and/or keep a job and getting it because you think your nappy hair is shameful and ugly."

I agree, but I'm honestly thinking many black women who wear certain weaves or chemical relaxers are also doing so for the sake of style or ease and not necessarily becuse of self hate, shame or even job issue. I don't wear weaves, but I am very comfortable with my relaxed hair - wrap at night, comb down under the red light and go. I also get curious how my hair would look if it was natural. I am also longing and tempted to try it out in the near future. (I'm fully aware of how "brainwashed" that entire statment may sound).

Oh yeah, and I don't think Africans usually give that much of a doo-daa on what African Americans or any other black people think about them... at least not to the point where they bleach their skin. Some-thing else is "pressuring" them. Also to me, bleaching skin for what ever reason (more than just lightly toning) is far more deliberate and directly hateful in comparison to putting chemicals on natural hair.

I see the issue of natural vs chemical in so many ways. I don't know...

Miriam said...

Taylor-Sara

i'd recommend the book Andre Talks Hair. Its pretty informative.

Anyway from according to the book, kinky, natural hair is best with a protein based shampoo.

(this, not to take away from what Goldenah said)

Also, one thing I realized is that my hair grows the longest and best when its covered (either with a scarf or braided) and I am not combing it constantly.

Selena said...

La ~ msviswan said...

Evia,
as for white people "complementing" natural black hair, I won't doubt it. It might be genuine or it could also be a rhetorical ice breaker depending on the setting, especially if it's cozy casual. However, would these same white people hire a "nappy" headed afro black woman for their elite business? For white and corporate America, it still seems a black woman's natural state of hair (afro) is considered "unprofessional", but a white woman's usual natural state of hair (straight) is considered ideal. I'm just saying. As for Africans, it depends on the area of Africa they live or the area they may come from. I've seen so many African women into every piece of weave or trend imaginable. Even so, someone could also say many black Africans (men and women) seem to bleach their skin excessively compared to African Americans. In order to compare, I'm just considering the source here.


I said:

That’s why we have to be vocal, and have to be heard. In order to do so, we must first believe what we say is true- that "Black IS Beautiful" and as bw we are perfect the way God made us. The only way ignorance is stopped is to confront it and to honestly deal with it. Although many probably don’t see it, the hair incident that occurred at a staff meeting at Cosmo was actually a positive thing. It’s a new beginning for an old issue:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10082007/gossip/pagesix/editor_has_a_rare_blow_up.htm

http://askthisblackwoman.com/2007/09/07/glamour-apologizes.aspx

roslynholcomb said...

"Roslyn just for clarity, are you saying that you dont understand why bw would want to hide their natural hair and our actions in this regard are irrational and inexplicable!

You appear to be berating bw without recognising or acknowledging the context within which they make these hair choices!"

Me, avoid an issue? Surely you jest?

I understand perfectly well why black women do this, but I also understand that most of it is pointless. Just ask yourself a simple question––is it working for us? Has all this pursuit of straightness (and blondeness) elevated anyone's perception of black female beauty? Hmmmmm, not so much.

We're the ones who tell black men that straight hair is better. Otherwise why would we spend billions of dollars and endless hours of our time, endure chemical burns and alopecia? So, from a logical viewpoint, if straight hair is better, why go with the woman with imitation straight hair when he can go directly to the source and get the real thing. Personally I've never seen relaxed hair that looked as good as a woman with naturally straight hair. Nor have I seen a woman with a perm whose hair looked as good as naturally nappy hair.

I'm pragmatic to the core and I believe that if something's not working for you, it's in your best interest to change it. How can we expect anyone to accept black feminine beauty when we're the first to denounce it. And make no mistake, everytime you risk your hair (and health) to put Drano on your head you're doing just that.

We need soft fluffy hair to counteract our stronger features. When we put on long stringy hair it makes our features too prominent and gives them a masculine cast. Witness Serena Williams and even Tyra Banks. Both of them look like drag queens with all that fake horse hair on their heads. Beyonce looked much better (IMO) with that silly Goldmember wig than she ever does with a head full of some dead Indian's hair.

It's not working for us, ladies. Plain and simple. No one else is going to accept black female beauty until we do.

Daphne said...

I guess what I'm saying is that if my friend can resist the pressures to straighten or color, and it's just not an issue to her... she's not tortured about it... then it's clearly possible to go natural and deal with the world's reaction.

One of the interesting things about the relaxed/natural hair debate is the automatic assumption that those who relax their hair have shame or self-hate issues, while those with natural hair are completely self-assured, proud and comfortable with who they are, their heritage, etc. I'd like to think it is possible for a woman with relaxed hair to have a healthy view of herself and no shame regarding heritage. I'm also sure it's possible that a woman with non-processed hair can still have deep-seated identity issues.

And what constitutes natural beauty? If I have relaxed hair, yet wear no weaves, makeup, fake nails, etc - am I still not considered a natural beauty? If I wear my hair without a relaxer, yet I color my hair, wear makeup, fake nails, etc - does the sole factor of not relaxing my hair make me a natural beauty? Just curious about this, as there seems to be a line of demarcation drawn with regard to what's considered natural beauty.

Halima said...

Roslyn
We're the ones who tell black men that straight hair is better. Otherwise why would we spend billions of dollars and endless hours of our time, endure chemical burns and alopecia? So, from a logical viewpoint, if straight hair is better, why go with the woman with imitation straight hair when he can go directly to the source and get the real thing.


Ah! the old chesnut; blame BW for running off BM, it never fails to bring bw to heel and to penitence and to do what they are told to!

I mean it's impossible that it could have actually worked the other way round and that it was bm being vocal in their disgust of nappy hair that added some incentive for hair straightening. such could never have been the sequence i suppose.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for talking about the things no one ever wants to talk about!

It's so true!

roslynholcomb said...

Please halima, get real. Whether it's a chicken or an egg, bottom line is creating imitation white hair isn't working for us, so why bother with it? Isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Why are we flattering white women?

D said...

Daphne, you read something into my post that simply is not there. I didn't assume any self-hate issues. Hate is a very strong and specific word, and I did not mean or imply anything like that.

I saw several (direct and tangental) statements through the thread as if there is a penalty to pay for going natural. I wanted to state my opinion that with a decent amount of confidence, a woman can not only survive, but thrive by going natural.

My personal preference is natural, obviously. I'm biased... but I've seen both celebrities and ordinary people with dark kinky hair live extraordinary lives and never give the issue even the time of day. They live their lives without worrying what "they" think. (everybody has days when the "look" just isn't working, though)

Some women like tall guys, some like muscular guys, some like white guys, some like black guys, some like guys with European accents... I like natural.

If you are a little higher maintenance in this department... that's great... you're not really my type, but there are LOTS of guys who are attracted to those things. There's somebody for everybody.

Shirl said...

Oprah's been very vocal about her hair trauma (using relaxers that made her hair fall out.) She wore it in its natural state for a long time while being a newsanchor. Oprah now straightens her hair, wears pieces, wears braids sometimes, etc. Even though I sometimes don't agree with her on some issues, I think she's awesome and I don't judge her harshly for wearing her hair in different ways.

I like the way my hair looks curly and straight. I get compliments for both. Why can't black women have the same range of hair variety as white women? Are white women ever accused of self-loathing if they get a curly perm, go to a tanning salon, or dye their hair blonde? And when my hair goes gray, will I be accused of self-hatred because I want to color it?

Tickledpink said...

Ive been natural for pretty much all of my life and my views have come full circle in the past year.

Whilst there is the diehard relaxer/weave enthusiast with the Michael Jackson "I hate my n***er hair" mentality, theres also a significant minority who either relax because they find it easier to manage or they may alternate between straight and curly styles.


Even though I have resited relaxing most of my life, my hair has always been short. Now its growing longer for the first time its more time consuming and annoying, although I'll never have fully relaxed hair again I understand why some do.

Its just like Black people to operationalise things again and now catergorizing proud Black women as those with Afro hair. Why do we always have to prove our Blackness 24/7.

Those who cant be seen in public without make up, fake tan, "chicken fillets", long fake hair are all in the same boat.

Its kinda silly for Nappy heads to be so regimented in their nappyness when African young women in the most part are very experimental with hair. Weave one day, braids the next, afro the next.

I do understand though, that some people view Black hair as a curse but just wanted to point out that seperating natural as enlightened and relxaxer heads as the shamed is not always accurate.

Halima said...

TP where you been woman? I have been searching high and low for you?

How u doing?

Tickledpink said...

I been about but not checking the blogs. It seemed like it was a bit crazy up in here a lil while back with all the trolls lol!

Looks like its safe to come out now :)

Luv Sam xx

P.S: I saw your cute picture, its nice to see ya :p

Selena said...

roslynholcomb said...
Please halima, get real. Whether it's a chicken or an egg, bottom line is creating imitation white hair isn't working for us, so why bother with it? Isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Why are we flattering white women?

I said:

I guess the same reason white women are flattering black women: "boob jobs", "ass jobs", are hair-yes we can’t forget about Bo Derek (don't let me talk about the many straight haired folks getting locks), and the endless hours of sun tanning and the likes.

Society as a whole is to blame and we in the bc continue to perpetrate it. There was a time, when natural was "in" within the bc. However the more we try to "fit-in", the less we forget about our roots and where we came from. You see these changes among cultures also.

Selena said...

D said...


My personal preference is natural, obviously. I'm biased... but I've seen both celebrities and ordinary people with dark kinky hair live extraordinary lives and never give the issue even the time of day. They live their lives without worrying what "they" think. (everybody has days when the "look" just isn't working, though)

I said:

One celebrity that comes to mind for me is Tempestt Bledsoe. She has said many of times that her hair has been an issue in Hollywood.

D said...

I should backtrack a little bit... "soften" my position.

I think tickledpink, shirl, roslyn, daphne, and several others made good points... straightening and/or coloring one's hair is a valid fashion choice in 2007 (and soon to be 2008).

And as for the 'why'... some do it for manageability, some because it's what lots of others are doing, some because they aesthetically like it, some because that's what their boyfriend or husband likes, some for other reasons... and some have bigger issues. I have no idea how the percentages break down, but there are lots of overlapping reasons why these choices are made.

High school is probably when I started having a preference... and it was probably due to noticing things like how long it took a girl to get ready to go, and how she couldn't really do some things with long nails, and how it's not as fun (for me) to kiss a cheek that has foundation on it. And for the record, obviously there are guys with the exact opposite preference as I have.

But since I've noticed these things for so many years, I've seen lots of instances where girls and women have made these choices for the wrong reasons.

But bigger than my personal opinion, there's a definite difference between straightening or coloring your hair as an aesthetic or artistic statement, and doing so because you don't think your natural self is good enough. If you talk to someone long enough, you can usually tell -- and I've seen enough of the second reason to be annoyed that "the system" (men, other women, advertising, parents, fashion magazines, movies, etc. etc. etc.) puts so much pressure on women to be something else besides what they really are. Men don't get that same pressure even close to the same degree. And I wish the "system" offered women the same freedom it does men.

But, with all that said, straightening, coloring, doing the nails... those are valid choices in themselves. None of those things by themselves will stop me from flirting with a female that I think is cute and smart (when I'm single, of course)... but since my preference is natural, obviously I'm not going to be very interested if a woman has had everything "done". There are other guys who buy into all that, so it's all good, in the micro. In the macro, I wish men and women were more equal in this regard.

Daphne said...

d, I wasn't knocking you for your preference. I think you and I have different perceptions on the view of natural hair in this discussion, as it seems many women embrace their natural hair. And rightfully so. So, I'm not getting the same vibe that you are about the penalty for going natural. Well, there is the Corporate America issue, but I think it depends on where a woman works.

I still have questions about what's considered natural beauty, and I will continue to ask questions about that. It's not about knocking you, or anyone, for their preference. Granted, your post is reminiscent of other comments I've read or heard about natural beauty, and thus prompted my questions about what falls under that realm.

Finally, I wasn't looking for validation from you. You clearly stated your preference, and you are truly entitled to it. While I completely agree that there is someone for everyone, your last paragraph comes off a tad condescending with the "higher maintenance" comment. Especially since, beyond me relaxing my hair, you don't know what other beauty regimens I may or may not use.

Shocol said...

I am in the process of transistioning to natural hair. I'm curious to see what my natural hair is like and I'm also trying to go chemical free. So yes, I wouldn't mind an "Afro" hair day.

With that being said, you'll never catch me judging a BW because she wears her hair chemical-free or natural.

Let Love Rule said...

Shirl said...
I like the way my hair looks curly and straight. I get compliments for both. Why can't black women have the same range of hair variety as white women?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is apart of my point. If you choose to do this or that with your hair, I'm with you. You have every right to do what you want with your hair.

Butin my view, for many black women it's almost as if it isn't a choice because they view their natural hair as defective. THEY WOULD NEVER CONSIDER WEARING THEIR HAIR NATURAL. And these same women are the ones who are most prejudice against bw who choose to go natural because THEY are uncomfortable.

And this goes for other issues that many women have as well.
It's like we always have to have something wrong with ourselves, instead just feeling secure with our bodies, whether it's weight, hair, boobs, whatever. All I'm saying is that it's time that woman make peace with their bodies.

Anonymous said...

"We need soft fluffy hair to counteract our stronger features. When we put on long stringy hair it makes our features too prominent and gives them a masculine cast. Witness Serena Williams and even Tyra Banks. Both of them look like drag queens with all that fake horse hair on their heads. Beyonce looked much better (IMO) with that silly Goldmember wig than she ever does with a head full of some dead Indian's hair."

This is an interesting theory, Roslyn, but I went natural for a short period with 7 inches of hair and one of the reasons that I went back to straightening was because I looked like a boy with breasts (IMO) due to shrinkage... for women with extra curly 4a/4b hair, natural non-locked hair = short-appearing hair, pretty much forever, and I'd say that every woman's features aren't quite suited for that, either.

phx said...

Don't believe all the hype. Some men, myself included, just LIKE your hair, however you do it or however it does itself.

Halima said...

The reason why i put up this entry was to ask sisters, "what can we do to sort out this issue collectively?" (Yes i am convinced that progress can be made if we approach this issue as a group not just singly). It was to say, "we are all in this together so how may we all be of service to each other in our efforts to reclaim our authentic self."

Rightly or wrongly I feel that bw hair anxieties are such that it is necessary for sisters to join hands and support each other before this one can be conquered.

however it appears that many folks prefer to berate fellow bw for their weakness and folly over hair issues, and possibly indirectly trumpet their own 'higher state' vis a vis other bw.

i guess its preferable to see this as an individual battle for each bw to win, rather than let us come together to help each other and strenghten each others hand on this issue. I also find very worrying how dismissive some bw can be of the real fears and insecurities of their fellow bw, ones they know only too well.

I must say, this post presents a curious excursion into the lack of cohesion among black women and a tendency to refuse to identify with each others struggle. The sense of 'othering' of fellow bw because of their hair anxieities is also quite clear here.

Added to this is the strong resistance to 'bearing each others burden'.

foreverloyal said...

I see Roslyn's "It's not working so we need to get over it" view on hair as identical to Halima's "It's not working so we need to get over it" view on the "Nothing but a bm" mentality.

roslynholcomb said...

"This is an interesting theory, Roslyn, but I went natural for a short period with 7 inches of hair and one of the reasons that I went back to straightening was because I looked like a boy with breasts (IMO) due to shrinkage... for women with extra curly 4a/4b hair, natural non-locked hair = short-appearing hair, pretty much forever, and I'd say that every woman's features aren't quite suited for that, either."

Interesting. From what I've seen, shorter hair actually plays up a black woman's best features. Typically we have fuller lips and almond shaped eyes. Many of us have extraordinary cheekbones. Whereas long straight hair a la Tyra Banks tends to make these features look dominant and masculine, softer, fluffier hair tends to softer them and play them up. That's simply been my observation. I rarely see a woman with relaxed hair that looks as good as a woman with chemically straightened hair, even if the woman is wearing a twa she tends to look striking. In a world full of women with straight hair, natural hair tends to stand out and make us look unique.

One day a friend and I were looking at fashion magazine covers in a rack. Suddenly it struck us, all the women looked the same, even the black ones. Hair straightened to the back teeth, most of them blonde or some variation thereof. Nobody stood out because they all looked alike.

Halima, interesting that cohesiveness seems to be your goal on this issue, yet you have no problem bashing black women over the head who have the 'black men only' mentality. Personally I have no problem with bonding with black women and assisting them in getting over this issue. There are plenty of websites and books loaded with information and positive affirmations to assist in that endeavor. nappturality.com is my personal fave, but there are others.

What it comes down to is this, artificially straightened hair merely supports the notion that there's something wrong or defective with our own hair. Certainly that's not beneficial to us, and isn't helping us worth a damn. We can choose to change it, or we can continue down the same line. Since 75% of black women in this country (And similar numbers in the UK) choose the chemicals even though it's not benefitting them, I have to assume that it's part of the same delusional package that 'black men only' falls under.

Halima said...

foreverloyal said...
I see Roslyn's "It's not working so we need to get over it" view on hair as identical to Halima's "It's not working so we need to get over it" view on the "Nothing but a bm" mentality.


How do we guage that bw straightening their hair is not working and in what sense?

Are we saying that weaves/hair straightening has not allowed some bw to be 'noticed' by men, to blend in and get ahead at work, to land mainstream roles in hollywood etc etc. what exactly do we mean by its not working?

i am sure you know it could be argued that on the contrary and in some sense it has 'worked' for many bw!

Daphne said...

My only concern about the natural/relaxed hair debate, specifically as it relates to the blogoshpere, is that women could be replacing one notion of beauty for another. So while it's inherently wrong for women to have such hatred of their own natural hair and others' natural hair, while it is vitally important for women to know that there is nothing wrong with hair in its unprocessed state - it's also counterproductive to swing to the other side of the pendulum and reject anyone without unprocessed hair as not beautiful. Again, I'm not talking about individual preferences - more of an aggregate mindset. Replacing one type of faulty thinking with another can't be a good thing. That hasn't happened in this discussion, but based on what I've read in other places, it's certainly a possibility. It bothers me in that I thought the whole point of embracing natural hair was to reject the perception of a limited range of beauty, not reject those who don't fall within a new, specific paradigm.

PBG said...

Hey there Halima:

I think an Afro pride day is a great idea!! I am all for it.

It will be nice to promote a sense of pride about our natural 'nappy' hair.
_____________

I agree with Daphne's views too. BW should enjoy a broad range of choices and choose whatever works for them and their hair.

Have a great day everyone!

Evia said...

How do we guage that bw straightening their hair is not working and in what sense?

I guess it does depend on what's meant by "working" or "not working" because I've noticed that despite the fact that bw have never been more "beautiful," we bw in the west doubt our beauty so much!! And many so-called beautiful bw--like Tyra Banks-- do not consider themselves beautiful. In general--no matter how beautiful we're considered--lots of very attractive bw seem to feel very "UNbeautiful."

Someone mentioned to me that Beyonce had recently wished out loud that she was a Latina. Apparently this story was in the news. So if Beyonce is comparing herself to a Latina and is publicly stating that she wishes she beautiful like them, then there's no hope for so many other bw to feel confident re their beauty. LOL!
The question is "WHO is a beautiful black woman?" What does it take to be considered beautiful?" Who are the judges?

Anonymous said...

Halima said:
How do we guage that bw straightening their hair is not working and in what sense?

Are we saying that weaves/hair straightening has not allowed some bw to be 'noticed' by men, to blend in and get ahead at work, to land mainstream roles in hollywood etc etc. what exactly do we mean by its not working?

i am sure you know it could be argued that on the contrary and in some sense it has 'worked' for many bw!


Dear Halima,

I'm a first-time poster, but a longtime reader. I love your blog and think it's very empowering to BW. I have been dating IR for a longtime and didn't need "convincing," but I will say that your blog, Evia's and others opened my eyes to a lot of other things I'd never considered, like the fact that more BW (myself included) need to pursue marriage and not resign ourselves to the 70% singleness rate... and that our communities/churches are ultimately failing BW and resigning us to this permanent state of singlehood when we don't want to be...

So thank you for that.

That being said, I agree with Roz on this hair topic. My life has only IMPROVED since I went natural, and in ALL of the ways that have been mentioned.

I attract MORE men being natural, and more non-black men. Most of the non-black men who approach ALWAYS comment on how beautiful my hair is... in fact, being natural has weeded out to DBR BM and invited more of the good BM in, while attracting more non-BM who can see my true beauty now that it's not hidden by fake imitations.

Also, I am a part-time actress who has gotten MORE work since being natural... mostly from white directors... they tell me not to straighten my hair. There is a dark-skinned natural sista in the States who appears in many commercials each year and makes over $250,000... she said that she started getting MORE jobs once she went natural because it set her apart from the other black women in Hollywood. So she makes a comfortable living in Hollywood doing commercials... and she's married (to a BM)... sounds like she's done just fine.

I think the bigger point is that yes, BW should be allowed to wear their hair however they want, but that this idea that BW HAVE to straighten or wear wigs/weaves to be noticed is DROP-DEAD FALSE! We believe it because we're programmed to believe that we won't get a job, a man, etc., if we are natural, but those of us who have gone natural have found that the opposite has been true.

So... maybe we need to let go of our fears... THAT'S what's hold many BW back, not our hair!

Keep the blog going... you're doing a great job! And BW... fight those who tell you that you should just accept being single the rest of your life! NO YOU DON'T!

Ms CPA said...

I'm not sure what 4a/4b hair is but I can definitely relate to shrinkage issues. I had no success wearing a big Afro back in the 70s because my hair was too tight and would shrink at the slightest hint of humidity. I've worn my hair ultra-short since 1988 and haven't looked back. I don't think there's anything wrong with bw relaxing their hair if that's their choice but I also think that our nappy (or curly for those who don't like nappy) hair sets us apart in a good way from women of other races. Who else has our texture of hair? There's more to natural hair than Afros, teeny weeny or Jackson 5, these days. If bm refuse to get on board with our natural beauty, they deserve to be left behind.

Anonymous said...

I should start by asserting that I totally agree that BFs should be allowed by society and the workplace to wear their hair in its natural form. That being said, men's response to it generally runs on the cold to lukewarm side. On natural sites, women say that they've "exchanged quantity for quality" as far as men are concerned, and they often talk about their significant others -- if they had them prior to sporting natural hair -- begrudgingly "getting used to it", as opposed to welcoming natural hair with open arms -- although that probably has a lot to do with the shorter "early stages" of natural hair (TWAs, baby locs). It's pretty silly to act as if beauty standards just spring out of the ground and spread because women love torturing themselves. From corsetry in Europe to foot binding in China, women engage in these acts because they believe that it gives them an advantage in the dating/mating game, or at least keeps them in the running. Why do they believe this? Because they see women who engage in these often expensive, time-consuming and painful rituals (or who possess the attributes that the rituals achieve naturally) getting positive appraisals from men. It's a self-perpetuating cycle that never stops, it just changes or moves on to something else.

Anonymous said...

Daphne said...
I thought the whole point of embracing natural hair was to reject the perception of a limited range of beauty, not reject those who don't fall within a new, specific paradigm.


Good point, Daphne. : )

D

roslynholcomb said...

Along this same line I think we've all seen Tyra and her obsession with weave. I've actually heard her say that she's afraid, her word AFRAID to be seen in public with her own hair. Let me say that again, this beautiful accomplished woman is AFRAID to be seen with her own hair.

Janet Jackson talked about something similar on Tyra's show. Whereas she had an episode where she spent 12+ hours getting a weave put in, then the hairdresser cut it too short, so the next day she went through all that again because she didn't want to be seen 'like that.' Note, this woman has no problem being seen horribly overweight, but the notion of being seen with her own hair is untenable to her.

I don't have to go on about Oprah and her hair issues. Let's just say she's another beautiful accomplished black woman who also goes into a self-loathing routine every time the hair issue comes up. I'll never forget her support of a black woman on her show who got her hair done every week. This woman had run her family into something like $100 k in debt and the financial planner not unreasonably suggested that she cut back on trips to the salon. Oprah said and I paraphrase, "Oh no, black folks have got to get their hair fixed." What kind of fucknuttery is that?

So if we've got incredibly beautiful and talented black women who feel this way about their hair, can you imagine what the ordinary black woman feels every day when she looks at her hair texture? If being lauded as a supermodel isn't enough to make a black woman feel beautiful, what the hell is?

As for the gauge to whether or not straightening our hair is working, look around you. I have never seen such an epidemic of poor self-esteem and self-loathing in my life. I spent years working with foster girls who would work like dogs all week only to spend almost all their money in the wig shop buying some crappy Barbie hair. Kola Boof is batshit crazy, but she said one thing I agree with, 'Black women with blonde weaves look like a white woman took a crap on their heads.' This stuff rarely looks decent even when you spend a fortune and the average black woman it looks absurd. Yet they're so afraid of their own hair they delude themselves that it makes them look better.

Even worse it's not helping us in our efforts to live in a society that appreciates black beauty. Instead it's making us objects of ridicule and scorn.

Is it helping us health wise? There's an absolute epidemic of alopecia amongst black women. I know very few black women over the age of 40 that don't have bald spots and horrific damage from relaxers. Not to mention burned off and broken off hair.

So, if you know of any way chemical burns and dead Indian hair is helping black women please let me know.

Anonymous said...

To Taylor-Sara and ANYONE else who wants to know,

"Although I am dark, I have alot of
mixed blood in me-white and indian
as a result,my hair is soft, too soft to straighten, yet perms break it off. because I am black it is also nappy (soft/nappy) so I NEVER know what to do with it."

Race or admixture does not determine hair health or length. (I'm not saying you believe this, I'm just starting here for clarification). Below, I've added a video that can dispute that with visuals of African women that have the tightest hair imaginable, and it's still long and strong. The problem is that we have been using tools and methods that are different from what we'd used in our hair prior to colonialism. Hopefully, the explanation below can help. Save it and send it to a friend.

People will charge you twenty dollars for a book and give you only 1/4th of what I am going to share with you, and then tag on some mis-information on top of that. the end of the book will tell you about a list of products that you "need." (you don't need anything but good info).

The bottom line is that, natural or relaxed, you can still have hair that is as strong and long as what is in that picture. Just get used to people feeling on your scalp for tracks, and doing other ridiculous things. A lot like going natural for the first time, taking an interest in the health of your hair can make you a target for criticism esp. in the BC.

"is it ok to leave braids in for long periods of time. (I take it out and wash it weekly) but is it ok to keep wearing braids long term?"

THE BASICS
Yes and No. This depends on HOW you do the braids. Like someone else suggested growafrohairlong.com is the source that will show you a reasonable way to do this.

What can go wrong? Naturally, our hair has a tight coil pattern,which means that the oil that travels from the root to the tip in all human beings is distributed less on tightly coiled hair. More surface area means less moisture.

So, when we press we are taking moisture. When we strengthen the hair after every treatment that can potentially dry it out (each press or relaxer), we are repairing the hair. Strengthening comes through oils, moisturizers, or protein treatments. Moisture (water based, usually water and oil) is always necessary. Water, more specifically, is always necessary. Oils help keep water in the hair, they trap it. This comes into play when you are styling your natural coils or have just applied heat to your hair and don't plan to wet it for awhile.

Protein treatments are for repairing hair that is relaxed(this should be done regularly and followed with moisture to soften the hair, and ensure it is not brittle). Conditioners are one form of protein treatment that is more gentle, more like a moisturizer, because they mainly contain oils and water. But, you need the real thing after relaxers, not just a conditioner. A typical protein treatment is applied for a much longer time than a conditioner, and it is applied under a heat cap/ dryer because the follicle is actually being opened with the steam so that the bond can be repaired.

Protein treatments are also for repairing hair that is continually pressed.

"Trims"
are the number 2 factor in making bw think that their hair cannot grow very long. On average, each human generates 6 inches per year of new hair length. If I go to a hairdresser who takes off a half inche every 2 weeks, you do the math.

Breakage
(dryness meets relaxers/ presses/ aggressive combing or brushing) is the number one factor for reducing length. Protective styles are styles that keep your hair in a form that does not require straightening (i.e. you can reduce or eliminate repairing treatments).

(I used the above information to go from arm pit length to past midback length while pressing.)

BRAIDS
Braids can be a protective style when they are loose enough and thick enough that your real hair can absorb moisture and oil.
growafrohairlong.com suggests a routine for moisturizing braids. Weaves would not accomplish this to the same degree. It doesn't make sense for something that tight to allow moisture in, right?

Natural hair itself is a protective style. NO HEAT, is optimal while natural. Although, the tips above can tell you how to still see healthy hair and healthy progress. Also, if your goal is to maintain or increase length you should be careful about the trimming advice given for "natural hair" because most times they are trying to keep up a look, a cut, not create a long head of natural hair. They are not the gospel, choose what works for you.

IT IS H-A-R-D TO FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL TELL YOU THIS..
If you are a natural and you press, your curl pattern is being changed with each press- no matter what treatments you do. You have to decide whether that is okay with you.

Also, you can even run into a press that will permanently straighten your hair. This happened to me, and I had to start over. I have been napptural (no pressing) since mid '05 and love it. My bottom half has reached midback again when stretched. And, I'm holding on for a few more years to see what my coiled naps will look like at mid back without stretching the natural hair (pulling the hair downward to view its true length)

MORE info, STYLISTS
*for every relaxed woman who thinks their hair isn't growing..

..there is new growth which has to
be relaxed again. Her hair is growing. The length is compromised by what is happening in the middle and at the ends: BREAKAGE.

Breakage happens because of 1) lack of moisture and 2) not repairing the damage that straightening does to the bonds in our hair.

*many AA hairdressers are not using the products you think they are. Number 1 problem is neutralizer. Make absolutely sure that she/ he/ you are using it properly. If not, the reaction that breaks down the bonds in your hair does not stop! Your hair is continually deteriorating.

*A big problem with relaxers: overlapping.

This is why many AA women refuse to deal with stylists nowadays. It is difficult to find someone who will not put relaxer on parts of your hair that have already been relaxed. When overlapping occurs, breakage is imminent. Only a matter of time.

*Stretching relaxers:

From what many women say on the hairboards this is the goldmine. When you extend relaxers for 4/6/ more months, you are condensing your growth and reducing manipulation. Gently de-tangle the roots with moisture, then lay them down with a scarf around the front back and sides as you sleep, and during the day).

If you stretch relaxers, then with just one relaxer you have a good three or more inches of length on your head. Big warning: Most stylists will cut it as soon as they see it.

Some say it's jealousy, some say it's smart business sense, but the fact is when you reduce your visits to a stylist and they can see noticeable improvement in your hair, they try to make you dependent on their services once again. If your straightened hair does not give you the results your new growth indicated -well, you know who the culprit was.

Your protection is to INSIST that she/he turn you so that you so are facing the mirror while she trims... OR do not let them trim at all and still insist they turn you toward the mirror because many will act like they didn't hear
you and cut it anyway..OR relax yourself. Self relaxing tips are found on sites like longhaircareforum.com

*applying a color treatment to relaxed hair is very very damaging. Some people get around this with natural coloring treatments (henna etc)

*the nape and temples

are where many stylists will apply your relaxer first. Don't let that happen. These should be last. Because they are most sensitive, the reaction which breaks the outer bonds will have happened long before any neutralizer has been applied. Now, your hairdresser is just breaking down what is left of
the hair, and the root, and then the actual skin and so on.


NATURAL HAIR
*Many of the facts that have come out about relaxers (health risks) have convinced women to go natural. I like the appearance of long "napptural" hair, that's why I do it.

If, like me, you are interested in
attaining long nappy hair..do not
be so easily convinced that the only way to avoid tangles and knots at the ends is to trim trim trim.

That does not work for me, because it is not compatible with my goal. What does work is making thin individual twists- braiding my hair at the root and twisting the rest down (once per week).

Daily, when I shower, I wet the entire length of my hair and massage the roots. While the ends are still dripping with water I gently run the tips of my fingers through the coils in front of the mirror. Guess what? No Knots for me.

Once the week is over, I clean
my hair with a natural cleanser. After rinsing, I use my fingers to unravel each wet twist (2 seconds) and then I un-braid the root.

Then I use a fine toothed comb to gently, from bottom to top) de-tangle the length of the skinny piece of wet hair. (Never use small toothed combs on big clumps of dry hair)

Once it is completely de-tangled, I re-braid the root, re-twist the body, and move on to another. I spend no money on my hair, and the time spent in this process is between one and two hours-per week, that's all.

There are plenty of ways to style natural twists. I usually leave the bottom half of my hair falling on my back, and take the twists that are up top into two halves. I wrap each half around itself sort of like curling it inward, then I take these two and make a knot. Next, I continue wrapping the two elongated pieces over and around the pieces that are laying against my head. Tuck and turn, tuck and turn, and so on.

This is a polished style. People think it's complicated, and ask questions. The same can be done without leaving the bottom half down, just separate into handfuls of parts..then wrap and twist and
wrap and twist and tuck when you
are ready to tuck.

You can make this look different every time depending on the number of handfuls of hair you decide to grab (two sides, three sides, etc), where they are positioned, and how many times you wrap the pieces over one another. Because the individual twists are wrapped into external twists- this is what makes the final product look intricate. In reality, it's so simple that you won't need any bobby pins.

*tip for naturals.
whatEVER your hair type (how kinky it is, how loosely curled it is), the important thing to understand is that when it grows longer it weighs down on itself. With each few inches it becomes more vertical. Braids and twists are a quick do it yourself way to show much of your true length. But, don't be fooled into thinking your afro will not one day sit on your
shoulders and beyond without being braided down.

*Black threading is an African style(also, a protective style)that "growsafrohairlong." I have no direct experience with it, other than seeing great results and admiring how beautiful the actual style is.


*Mid back length nappy hair,waist length long nappy hair, even buzz cuts- this is all part of our pre- American history.
Pay attention to the pictures and dialogue in the movie below.

Go to Youtube videos and search
"hairstory the videography"

I hope this has made you more empowered. If, not you, maybe a friend could use it.

-sol

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic but I've been reading Anti-Black Women Voices..or Black Voices and the thing that saddens me is the total lack of support famous black women get. Women like Oprah, Halle and Beyonce who are at the top of the game black of white are continuously bashed, berated and pimp-slapped with the race-card day in and out. Yet whenever a black man does something foolish gets in trouble with the law the BC rallies behind them. What about our daughters, why don't we rally around our daughters? I'm saddened or maybe I should stay off Anti-Black women Voices but you see so much trash that you feel the need to stick up for successful black women.

Halima said...

Anonymous said...
I should start by asserting that I totally agree that BFs should be allowed by society and the workplace to wear their hair in its natural form. That being said, men's response to it generally runs on the cold to lukewarm side. On natural sites, women say that they've "exchanged quantity for quality" as far as men are concerned, and they often talk about their significant others -- if they had them prior to sporting natural hair -- begrudgingly "getting used to it", as opposed to welcoming natural hair with open arms -- although that probably has a lot to do with the shorter "early stages" of natural hair (TWAs, baby locs). It's pretty silly to act as if beauty standards just spring out of the ground and spread because women love torturing themselves. From corsetry in Europe to foot binding in China, women engage in these acts because they believe that it gives them an advantage in the dating/mating game, or at least keeps them in the running. Why do they believe this? Because they see women who engage in these often expensive, time-consuming and painful rituals (or who possess the attributes that the rituals achieve naturally) getting positive appraisals from men. It's a self-perpetuating cycle that never stops, it just changes or moves on to something else.


Anon i enjoyed this post because it is drilling down into the causes of bw hair anxieties. Some folks want us to belive that bw's fears are just in their heads, yet these same folks have heard and can testify to hearing or experincing the ridicule targetted at bw for their real hair textures!

if there is just one thing i learned in biology class, its that human beings are responsive to their environment so if bw have hair anxieties, its because they are experincing real difficulties about their hair!

a Calm and measured analysis of the situation is necessary, not hysteria and insisting that bw be willing to throw themselves to the wolves with no backup!

Anonymous said...

Anon, 2:31.
I am in total agreement. Black women can only rectify this situation when they promote themselves, be good to each other, defend girl children, defend raped women,and share ideas on ways to pool our resources in some creative way to bring positive images of black women to our own purchasing power.

We do not need corporations. Black women are the major consumers for "beauty" products that do us more harm than good (There are cancer links and fibroid links associated with MOST "black hair care" products, including ones marketed to children and, this is well known by the industry that distributes it to us.)

We do not need to flood korean beauty supplies that have practice blackout strategies. There is a bw right now selling an e-book that details recipes for natural hair products that are easier to make, cheaper in the long run, and healthier for our bodies than what we buy. She actually will refer you to site where you can get the information for free after muddling through all the posts. She is telling you how to do better, but where is her voice? Did you know about her before now? She can help your wallet and potentially save your life, and she is no where to be found (Part of her profits are going toward a black cause, can't say the same for the koreans.)

We can become our own contributers, our own healers (why complain about health care when we've listened to the BW naturopaths/ BW herbalists and now know how to deal wth our health through prevention and building up our immune systems?). We can do this and be entrepreneurs at the same time...Develop plans after getting the knowledge from our lawyers, our most political savy members, our herbalists and natural health junkies (natural health means free health, ladies. In my opinion, it means less corrupt and more successful health as well)- We can join our information together and do something. I think this can be started through free internet media which promotes bw creators and academics and activists..

Basically, a general way for us to go about entertaining ourselves and contributing our talents to our own causes at the same time. We need to keep communication more than open, and exchange and depend on one another. This will condense our power and generate new ideas for progress.

Free cable choice is a start (Enough is Enough campaign. Free media in general like what is being discussed on WAOD in regards to keke palmer is a real necessity.) Our greatest asset is something we have not utilized- pooling together our minds, expertise, and work on the behalf of BLACK WOMEN.

All we really need in the here and now is 1) YouTube to release information in an exciting format and 2) a meeting place where we can all go to become notified of the latest, can all go to automatically sign petitions that will be sent to state representatives, can all go to be notified of which methods we will use to save ourselves. This is why the internet can be our saving grace.

-sol

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add something I think should have been included in my earlier post.

Nappturality.com, lhcf.com, fromnaturewithlove, and "aubreyorganics." These all will provide information on how to rid yourself of dependence on disease associated products.

Without having bought that ladies book, yet, I can tell that her work is more deep and all encompassing than going to sites, doing searches, and pulling strings together. In her position, I would tell people what they can grow in their own kitchen window and use for keeping their hair and teeth more cared for than anything on the market. I think she is more from that vibe, free health and hygiene for everyone, instead of just giving a product list. But, despite the fact that I can't offer the best stuff right now, I don't think it's right to dangle the cancer/fibroid information out there without offering some info. I cannot find her info right now, but those sites can help.


-sol

Halima said...

What is the key sentiment behind bw’s hair anxieties? Let’s move away from this knee jerk ‘self hate’ label that we readily trot out, and see if we can tease out what bw are feeling about their follicles. I am aware that two or three reasons might combine for bw but take a look at the following:

1) I want long (feminine) hair and afro isn’t ideal to wear long because it’s grows upwards and becomes huge
2) I dread all the meanings attached to an afro on a bw including it is a style for an older woman, she is unenlightened/unpolished, has an insular/rigid mentality, lacks finances, militant etc etc
3) I have love for my hair but I still feel it isn’t quite as presentable other hair types
4) Afro/nappy hair isn’t easy to manage and I don’t have time for 8 hours of braiding
5) Braiding breaks my hair/leaves patches
6) Gravity defying afro singles one out, you have to be in a pretty confident place socially to expose yourself in that way
7) I cant or don’t want to deal with the shunning, the embarrassed looks and snide remarks
8) I don’t want to jeopardize the slight chance we bw have of getting a bm and despite what bm protest, they go for longer, straighter hair on women
9) Everyone around me is permed so there is no support
10) There is a certain look that fits in with my/our social circle and afro isn’t it
11) I have worn my hair permed for as long as and just feel anxious about doing anything else
12) I admit to myself that Afros are the most demeaned hair and while I have love for my own natural hair, I cant let myself be disadvantaged, we already deal with a lot
13) The transition state is too long, hard to manage or requires sacrificing already grown hair
14) I would be happy to change if it wasn’t ‘either’ ‘or’ with black hair
15) I find afros harder to manage in terms of shrinking, oiling, frizz and becalming, all that ‘hassle’ in the morning is easily managed as perms which I can pull back if I am running late (pull back is only possible with afros grown over considerable time)
16) I can never seem to grow my hair to the ‘bun’ stage and afro hair that cant be ‘bunned’ is better managed in straight form
17) Afro confers only one or two style options as opposed to straighter hair
18) My features don’t go with afro
19) I don’t want to be a ‘political statement’
20) The shrinking with afro just puts me off


Also can I point out that locs, twists and braid might appear to be in the ‘natural band’, but they are still hair styles that are used to manage the natural state of black hair making nappy hair more ‘closer to the scalp’ and adding the ‘gravity drop’ that doesn’t occur naturally. Have folks considered this?

Indeed afro variety comes in a range and some sisters who find their afros easy to wear (and are impatient with other bw) have a natural drop and or looser curls to their hair. In this case they are not really ‘walking in the shoes’ of the bw they are impatient with! So maybe the following sentiments apply to them

1) I wear my hair natural. It is a 3a (mixed race type) afro
2) I join in to urge bw to go natural but the truth is my hair drops under gravity which means I can wash and wear it easily enough

Any other additions to these

pinkydj said...

Halima said:

"Also can I point out that locs, twists and braid might appear to be in the ‘natural band’, but they are still hair styles that are used to manage the natural state of black hair making nappy hair more ‘closer to the scalp’ and adding the ‘gravity drop’ that doesn’t occur naturally. Have folks considered this?"
___________________________________

You know what, you're right about this statement. I currently have locks after several years of trying to work with non-locked natural hair. Let's just be honest here; NATURAL hair ISN'T easy if you have the tighest of the tightest curl patterns or "nappyness" if you like.

I remember when I first started on my natural journey how excited I was. I purchased the book "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Chemicals Became Too Much" by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner and followed everything she said to a "T." The pictures of her natural hair were beautiful and long. I thought that I too could have the same look naturally. I was BITTERLY disappointed when my results did not match hers. Apparently, Lonnice "texturized" her hair to achieve her results and that defeated my entire purpose.

I eventually turned to locks because I wanted natural hair and locks seemed like a logical choice for my hair texture.

Why didn't I just go with a short, natural fro ?--because I wanted longer hair. That's the honest truth. I like to wear my hair up. Does that make me a "self-hater" ? or "imitator" of ww ? OR do I just feel the pressure to "stand-out" and look "exotic" because I know I need *something* different about me so that I don't just disappear altogether in a world that doesn't *see* me anyway.

pinky

roslynholcomb said...

I don't know, I have the tightest curl pattern imaginable. I found wearing my hair nappy immensely easier than wearing a relaxer and certainly cheaper.

With my natural hair, I washed once a week, then twisted it up. After a few weeks of twists, I took it down and wore a twist-out (no afro here, I don't know where folks get the idea that a 'fro is the only natural style available). After a week with the twist-out, I'd wear an updo, then start all over again. So basically I only had to 'do' my hair once a month at the most. Immeasurably better than when I relaxed it.

"Also can I point out that locs, twists and braid might appear to be in the ‘natural band’, but they are still hair styles that are used to manage the natural state of black hair making nappy hair more ‘closer to the scalp’ and adding the ‘gravity drop’ that doesn’t occur naturally. Have folks considered this?"

I'm not sure what your point is. They are grooming methods that don't require the use of chemicals or heat. All hair, even chemically relaxed hair must be groomed in some fashion. Otherwise everybody's hair would be a matted mess. Certainly these methods aren't comparable to putting Drano on your head every few weeks.

foreverloyal said...

I'm saying that many black women walking around feeling that they MUST relax their hair (or else it looks ugly) is not working., just as many black women walking around feeling that MUST have a black man (because no one else could ever love them) is not working.

Relaxing your hair because you darn well feel like it or restricting your pool to black men because that is the only type of man YOU want is an entirely different matter.

Anonymous said...

I'm saying that many black women walking around feeling that they MUST relax their hair (or else it looks ugly) is not working., just as many black women walking around feeling that MUST have a black man (because no one else could ever love them) is not working.

EXACTLY the point. I find it interesting that when it comes to the idea of BW saying they "only want a BM," we are quick to tell them to break out of their mental box and start expanding their options.

But when BW are encouraged to break out of the mental box of thinking that their natural hair is ugly, suddenly, it becomes a big deal and BW have the "right" to be anxious.

Yet, this whole blog is about urging BW to get rid of their anxieties when it comes to dating WM (which I wholeheartedly support).

So why don't the same ideals apply to embracing one's own hair?

As folks have said, running from our natural hair is NOT working for us. Not in terms of our health, our self-esteem, our ability to get men (if 75% of BW relax and 70% of BW are single, then obviously that relaxed hair isn't resulting in getting BM to marry us...)

So why not take the same approach to loving and embracing our hair on this blog as we are to the idea of considering WM as partners?

Miriam said...

2) a meeting place where we can all go to become notified of the latest,

how about the information center blog that was created (on the sidebar).

Thanks so much, Sol, for this information.

Halima, I appreciate your calmness in this discussion. I only wish I had what to offer..

Anonymous said...

It has been noted that women dress and groom moreso to impress themselves and other women than to impress men. It's more like an intragender competition thing.

For instance, as much as women deplore "bad hair days", men rarely notice when women have them. Women are also quicker to notice when other women wear wigs or weaves than men are.

Regarding the hair of black women, think about this. If a black woman who perms her hair gets into a good relationship with a man and that man expresses either no preference for permed hair or a preference for natural hair, what are the chances of that woman going natural? I would say that the chances are quite slim. The satisfaction with getting her hair permed is deep rooted (no pun intended) and has less to do with how men respond than one might think. It's almost like women who suffer from anorexia. It's about how they look to themselves as opposed to how they look to men.

Most black men are not going to be turned off by a well kept natural hair style. If a woman has a nice figure, a pretty face, and a good attitude, her hair style will be close to meaningless to most men.

Halima said...

Anon
EXACTLY the point. I find it interesting that when it comes to the idea of BW saying they "only want a BM," we are quick to tell them to break out of their mental box and start expanding their options.


Maybe you are quick to tell bw to date other men, as for me I researched my subject for years before I finally came to the view I did, and then wrote a book about it. And this is because for me, it is important to be detailed and to understand the phenomenon we are dealing with before offering a solution or using judgemental labels.

Indeed it should go without saying that a full and critical analysis of the situation and the sentiments involved is necessary for bw to overcome whatever hair anxieties they have, instead of the knee jerk recriminations and throwing around 'self hate', ugly etc words that folks love to trot out at the drop of a hat!

But when BW are encouraged to break out of the mental box of thinking that their natural hair is ugly, suddenly, it becomes a big deal and BW have the "right" to be anxious.

Yet, this whole blog is about urging BW to get rid of their anxieties when it comes to dating WM (which I wholeheartedly support).

So why don't the same ideals apply to embracing one's own hair?

As folks have said, running from our natural hair is NOT working for us. Not in terms of our health, our self-esteem, our ability to get men (if 75% of BW relax and 70% of BW are single, then obviously that relaxed hair isn't resulting in getting BM to marry us...)

So why not take the same approach to loving and embracing our hair on this blog as we are to the idea of considering WM as partners?


My approach is very simple, it is painstaking, sensitive and anti-judgemental/anti-bashing towards bw and the issues that concern them. but if you find this rather uncomfortable, i am sure you wont need to look too far to find folks who are only too happy to give you and all bw a good dose of disregard, blame and verbal trashing.

Anonymous said...

(if 75% of BW relax and 70% of BW are single, then obviously that relaxed hair isn't resulting in getting BM to marry us...)

Maybe it is doing the opposite. I would be curous as to the percentage of natural women who are married compared to the percentage of permed women who are married. I suspect that women who go natural are less likely to be approached by men who are shallow and less shallow men are more likely to be in committed relationships.

Daphne said...

So why not take the same approach to loving and embracing our hair on this blog as we are to the idea of considering WM as partners?

Perhaps my perception is off about this, but the comparison of the "nothing but a bm" mentality to the natural/processed hair debate seems incongruous. For one thing, I thought the point of these types of blogs was to encourage women to move away from dating black men solely out of a sense of loyalty or responsibility to the black community if their primary experience was being treated less than what she deserves. So it wasn't about bashing women who prefer to date bm exclusively, but trying to change the mindset of those who enter into AND maintain destructive relationships with bm to the detriment of their emotional, psychological, and physical well-being - all for the sake of "keeping it real." I've yet to read anyone tear down a woman in a relationship with a bm in which she is being treated respectfully and lovingly.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

As folks have said, running from our natural hair is NOT working for us. Not in terms of our health, our self-esteem, our ability to get men (if 75% of BW relax and 70% of BW are single, then obviously that relaxed hair isn't resulting in getting BM to marry us...)
___________________________________

This is a very good point. I often hear BW talk about how BM ignore them when they wear their hair natural, and yet it doesn't appear they're getting much serious attention from BM out of all the straightening and weaving either.

Most BM do prefer straight hair, but now they can freely pursue women who have it naturally. They don't have to settle for women struggling to achieve a poor substitute for straightness through relaxers or yaki #2. So why are BW still doing this to themselves? The "BM and corporate America" excuse is wearing a little thin.

Siditty said...

I embrace my nappy hair all the dang time. Personally I am happy to be relaxer free. I think that as time goes on, more and more women are accepting their natural hair. The saddest and most difficult thing to overcome about hair, is the fact that we as black women have never really been taught how to care for our natural hair. We only know how to care for it altered. Thankfully, there are tons of websites, where I can get ideas, learn about different hair types, products, and methods of caring for my hair.

Maybe if we had a national day or week of showing afro pride, we might be able to open the discussion up beyond "When are you going to the beauty shop to get your hair done" "Are you militant?" questions.

Anonymous said...

"Most black men are not going to be turned off by a well kept natural hair style. If a woman has a nice figure, a pretty face, and a good attitude, her hair style will be close to meaningless to most men."

Ah, suure... like I told my mother the day after I exchanged my twists for "Pocahontas-esque" extensions... a BF getting long, straight hair is the equivalent of a white brunette becoming a blonde. Random BMs were coming out of the woodwork... hair matters to men of all races when assessing female attractiveness, women know that, so they spend their time and money accordingly. Guys talk a good talk, but they aren't fooling anyone, not the marketing exec in the high-rise, and not the girl next door... if men were drooling over and raving about "organic" hippie chicks instead of plucked, polished, bleached and spackled women in magazines, on the street, and on TV, we'd notice.

Siditty said...

"SO let's be careful about the "weave" label."

Oh my goodness, I do not know how many track checks I get when I press my hair because it is longer. People feeling in my head without permission looking hard for those tracks. Gggggggrrrrrrr

Anonymous said...

"I don't know where folks get the idea that a 'fro is the only natural style available"

It's because blacks are used to seeing their straightened hair -- as well as the straight hair of other groups -- just worn down and left, pretty much "alone" (aside from brushing or combing) or pulled back, as far as an everyday style is concerned... if very kinky hair were kept in the same manner, unlocked, it would be an afro or an afro puff. So, for lazy people like myself who don't feel like styling on a regular basis, an afro would be pretty much it. It doesn't help that there are very few salons accustomed to styling natural hair. In addition to that, to appreciate natural hair, you pretty much have to put everything you've ever been culturally taught about hair in the garbage -- how hair is "supposed" to look, feel, act, grow, how to groom it, how people respond to it (even when healthy, well-styled, and "long"), hair as a symbol of beauty, femininity, and professionalism -- it all has to be rethought and born anew, in the midst of a larger culture (as well as a black subculture) that's for the most part, diametrically opposed to it. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it just is what it is, and every kinky-haired BF isn't ready for that, or going to be interested in dealing with it -- not that that's what you were saying.

Anonymous said...

"they are still hair styles that are used to manage the natural state of black hair making nappy hair more ‘closer to the scalp’ and adding the ‘gravity drop’ that doesn’t occur naturally"

This is true...nowadays, many natural women wearing their hair "free" are getting questions from mainstream blacks like "So... when are you going to loc that?" Locks have somehow gone from "unclean voodoo hair" to the most acceptable natural alternative in the eyes of the black community -- why? Because they're slightly more akin to straight hair -- and not that different from braids -- "behaviorwise."

La ~ msviswan said...

Halima said: "Also can I point out that locs, twists and braid might appear to be in the ‘natural band’, but they are still hair styles that are used to manage the natural state of black hair making nappy hair more ‘closer to the scalp’ and adding the ‘gravity drop’ that doesn’t occur naturally. Have folks considered this?"

Thank you for saying that, I was thinking the same thing. Thank you also for putting that list together. It help puts things into perspective. I identify with just about all of them! I also wish I could wear my hair "natural" or in locks, but I am afraid of being labeled. Yes, I am afraid of ignorant people stereotyping or calling me a "ganja smokin rasta woman" or "dat cheap ass dry head gyul". It does not matter what papers you carry or what suit you wear, and I live in a black region, imagine that. I can't bring much solutions to the table at this time, but just my fears and honesty, unfotunatly.

Roslyn, you mentioned you keep your hair in twist for weeks then wear it in a twist out. In all fairness, doesn't that technique usually give real tight hair that look and feel of most black biracial hair textures? It’s still borders ones personal “non-authentic” appearance/texture and it’s somewhat hypocritical, no offense.

Before I read what you wrote I was going to mention something similar to what Halima said, and I was going to comment on some of those wavy type hair texturizers some black women use while claiming to be natural. I don't know, there seems to be thin lines here between "natural", style, manageability, and shame.

Selena said...

As folks have said, running from our natural hair is NOT working for us. Not in terms of our health, our self-esteem, our ability to get men (if 75% of BW relax and 70% of BW are single, then obviously that relaxed hair isn't resulting in getting BM to marry us...)

So why not take the same approach to loving and embracing our hair on this blog as we are to the idea of considering WM as partners?

3:00 PM


Especially since the wm that I've come across simply adores bw's hair in its natural state.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps my perception is off about this, but the comparison of the "nothing but a bm" mentality to the natural/processed hair debate seems incongruous. For one thing, I thought the point of these types of blogs was to encourage women to move away from dating black men solely out of a sense of loyalty or responsibility to the black community if their primary experience was being treated less than what she deserves. So it wasn't about bashing women who prefer to date bm exclusively, but trying to change the mindset of those who enter into AND maintain destructive relationships with bm to the detriment of their emotional, psychological, and physical well-being - all for the sake of "keeping it real." I've yet to read anyone tear down a woman in a relationship with a bm in which she is being treated respectfully and lovingly.

I'll try to explain my point more. I don't agree with bashing and I don't think that anything in my earlier posts were bashing of BW.

Also, I never attempted to tear down any BW/BM relationships, nor say that BW who choose to relax hate themselves, etc. I don't think anyone on here has said that (if they did, I missed it.)

My point was that the whole point of encouraging BW to potentially consider dating out of their race to find a good partner is about thinking outside accepted "norms." So is the encouragement of BW to accept themselves just as they are, dark skin, natural hair, everything.

The sad thing is, a lot of BW that I know who have gone natural have gotten a lot of criticism from other BLACK WOMEN! They'll be minding their own business, and other BW will call them out about their choice to go natural, call them ugly, call their hair ugly, tell them they'll never get a man, etc.

So if anything, I see more BW tearing down other BW for choosing to be natural, NOT the other way around.

The re-education of BW involves so many different factors, and a HUGE one is getting us to accept that our hair is beautiful as is, and can be worn successfully without harm to one's professional life or ability to find a good man, regardless of color.

Anonymous said...

Miriam said
"Thanks so much"

Sure:))))))))))))

"how about the information center blog that was created (on the sidebar)"

Evia's site right? I should start sending her things.

I'm sure you'll do fine with the twin girls. If I were one of them I'd feel pretty special to have a sibling who is the mirror image in terms of hair. It's almost like they were created as twins to be a reflection of the unity their parents share. They can both be honored and proud in that sense.

-sol

Miriam said...

sol -re: kids feeling honored. i'm working on it!

Sidditty -you gave me an idea. How about on Afro day, information on how to care for natural hair gets blogged about or talked about or something.

Siditty said...

Miriam,

I am a confirmed product junkie, and I blog here about my hair and my products I use :):

http://afroncurls.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Rosyln said: "Is it helping us health wise? There's an absolute epidemic of alopecia amongst black women. I know very few black women over the age of 40 that don't have bald spots and horrific damage from relaxers. Not to mention burned off and broken off hair."

I must agree with this. In my humble opinion, it seems to me that with all the technical advances in black hair care over the last 50-75 years, black hair to me, seems less healthy then I have seen in a while. I am a child of the late 80's, early 90's, and I remember most of the black girls (pre-teen) on my black having thick afro puffs. Our mothers may have straigtened our hair every week or other week, but for the most part, our hair looked healthy and full. Back in the day, in my area at least, we couldn't get our hair relaxed until we were at least in high school.

Contrast that to today. I was at a recent b-day party for my cousin who just turned 10. Looking around that day, I couldn't help but notice how jacked up most of the little girls hair was. These girls ranged from 8-10, but most seem to have their hair chemically relaxed and for the most part, the hair look fried and damaged, a few had false hair pieces and the rest had braids, a significant portion of which seemed to be breaking off their hair edges. What a flippin' mess?

I do agree to some extent with Halima, that we shouldn't place all the blame on bw, but at the same time, I can't help but think something is terribly, terribly wrong here. Because you know that it is the mother's of these children that are jackin' up their hair and passes on their hair issues. That experience just made me incredibly sad and pessimistic about the future mental health and self-esteem of black young girls.

We can't blame bw 100% for this problem (and it is a problem), but only bw can combat it. We can't wait around for validation from bm, hell even bw, white people, asian people, etc., to tell us that our hair is beautiful because painful as this may sound - IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.

Black women and hair issues I have always thought was as bigger if not bigger then the whole light/dark thing. The reason why it probably doesn't seem to get as discussed is because we have found a way to combat "nappy" hair what with relaxers and hot combs. Our hair issues negatively impacts our everyday lives because there are bw out their who won't work out, go swimming, deathly afraid of rain, etc., because it would "kink up" their hair and it would take too much time to fix it.

roslynholcomb said...

" I can't bring much solutions to the table at this time, but just my fears and honesty, unfotunatly."

See, here's the thing. People have been trying to put me in a box all my life. If I had let them I would never have left the small town I was raised in. Certainly grad school and advanced degrees were far beyond the reach of a girl raised on a dirt farm without indoor plumbing. Date and marry IR? Are you kidding me? No never. From third grade until I graduated high school rarely a week went by that I didn't get jumped by somebody. Why? Because I spoke proper English and had long hair. I fought then and I will fight to the death now before I'll let other people define me and tell me what my parameters are. Even as a child I recognized that these people were full of isht and I'm even more disgusted now. I am what I am. If I want to shave my head and paint myself blue that's my business. And I'll be goddamned to hell and back before I'll let anyone tell me otherwise. It's my hair, it belongs to me and no one else. We live in a totally effed up culture with no moral or logical compass whatsoever. Why would I let people who live in this society tell me what and who I am? I don't think so.

"Roslyn, you mentioned you keep your hair in twist for weeks then wear it in a twist out. In all fairness, doesn't that technique usually give real tight hair that look and feel of most black biracial hair textures? It’s still borders ones personal “non-authentic” appearance/texture and it’s somewhat hypocritical, no offense."

No offense taken, though I must admit I had to laugh out loud. Nothing short of chemicals could give my hair a 'biracial hair texture.' -lol- Actually, even with a relaxer my hair never attained 'biracial texture.' -lol- My hair is supernappy with 80% or better shrinkage. Why did I wear it in twists before I locked. Because I live in the Deep South with southern humidity. My hair raises like popcorn.

Look at my picture on my website roslynhardyholcomb.com. I've been accused of many things, but nobody could ever say my hair looked 'biracial.' My hair is 100% from the Motherland nappy and I love it that way.

"I don't know, there seems to be thin lines here between "natural", style, manageability, and shame."

Actually, I don't think it's confusing at all. If you don't use chemicals to change your hair's texture, you're natural. If you do, you're not. No ambiguity for me.

Anonymous said...

I think that what happens is when something is done so routinely, it becomes the norm and anything else become odd. In the West, black women so routinely perm their hair that this is what is expected. It is just like the other numerous ways in which humans alter their natural states.

In America and other places, women commonly shave their arm pits and when a woman fails to do this, she is viewed as untidy whereas in many European countries, a woman having hair under her arms is not given any thought.

Another example is male circumcision. In America, most males are circumcised and most American women view a man's natural/un-mutilated state as something to deplore whereas in Europe, a man’s natural state is viewed as quite the norm.

So I see permed hair in a similar fashion. It is viewed as the norm and it would take people being raised viewing most black women in the natural state for it to become more accepted.

Anonymous said...

This is off topic but related to blog's theme. This is the latest news on reality show star and bounty hunter Duane Dog Chapman.

http://www.tmz.com/2007/10/31/dog-chapmans-hate-filled-tirade/

The National Enquirer has obtained an explosive and shocking racist rant spewed by Duane Dog Chapman.

The Enquirer says they have two tapes of the Dog hurling insults at his son, Tucker, during an undated telephone conversation. It appears as if the Dog is concerned that Tucker's girlfriend, Monique Shinnery, who is black, will set him up because of the language the Dog uses.

In the nearly eight minute long tape posted on the Enquirer's website, Dog says the N word numerous times and demands that Tucker break up with Monique or he'll be fired from the family bail bond business.

Anonymous said...

I'm a white man who is attracted to black women, and I definitely prefer natural hair. The lady pictured in this article is gorgeous and her hair is inviting to touch. Straight hair is boring and flat, but an afro has substance and texture. I honestly would prefer that black women didn't straighten their hair. It's not that it doesn't look good, it just bothers me that they feel pressured to conform to white standards of beauty. Black *is* beautiful!

Anonymous said...

This is a very important issue. I think the reason it is not discussed is because so many black women are convinced of the inferiority of their hair and are scared to exhibit their natural hair.

I stopped relaxing my hair about 15 months ago and I just cut off the last of the straight ends last week. I am so glad I decided to go natural, but in some ways I feel like I am still fighting my natural texture. I wonder if people find me less attractive now. I feel like I I have make my hair look as curly as possible; I don't feel comfortable wearing it in afro. So even though my hair is now natural, my mentality still isn't.

Luckily, it seems like wearing natural hair is becoming more popular. Hopefully with more and more women going natural, the perception of black hair will be more positive in the future.

Miriam said...

*off topic question* I have been taking tentative steps at "being an activist" for BW. One thing I'm met with constantly is the same argument:

BF call each other the N word, so its no big deal.

Any thoughts on that?

sorry. Thanks.

arthur said...

..BF call each other the N word, so its no big deal...

Miriam, FWIW, if it were me, I'd say, "It's a bad word and no one should say it". Maybe you'd word it differently, but I'm figuring that's what you believe, so just say it, without apology.

Whatever else they say, whatever argument they dredge up, just look them in the eye and repeat, "It's a bad word and no one should say it".

Also FWIW. it's what I believe. I don't think it's harmless even when black folk use it to each other.

roslynholcomb said...

None of the black folks I know use the word, and I don't hang out with black folks who use the word. I don't want to hear it, and I find it offensive, NO MATTER WHO SAYS IT.

I'm sure plenty of folks say all manner of crazy isht, does that mean the general population should too?

Anonymous said...

Noone in my family or my black friends use that word. DO NOT believe the hype. People are so anxious to lump black people into one group.

I have a story that relates to words. I was at work and this white co-worker jokes about Halloween costumes. She says that she told her sister to dress up in a white platic trash bag and call it "white trash". Now she can joke about "white trash" but on the other hand if the joke came from me it would be insensitive, especially at work.

I really don't get why people are obsessed with disrespecting people. When I talk to people I call them by their NAME!!! not "white trash" or the N-word.

Shan said...

I would have to say going natural was one of the best things that I have ever done. It actually matured me in a lot of ways because I had to learn to not care about what other people thought and to do what makes me happy even if some of the sideways comments came from "well meaning" family members. I actually gained more respect from the black women in my family because I was able to do something that they didn't and still don't have the confidence to do.

Now one thing natural, especially 4a/b hair does it weed out dbm black men. It is definitely a dbm repeller. Non-black men are a bit more courageous with asking me out which surprised me at first, but I quickly got used to it. LOL

I agree with a poster who said that thick fluffy hair balances out our stronger features. That is so true. I mean we have the smooth, brown skin, the thick sensual lips, the sexy, cat eyes and the cheekbones that could cut through glass. Why do we need long straight hair/weave/wig? We already have everything else including the curvy bodies. I am not bragging on our gender but just trying to make a point and get black women to see the beauty in us that's already there and in my humble opinion,long hair, hides that.