Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm Self-Hating because of my hair? Say What?!

As I mentioned yesterday and have probably said a time or two before here, I'm considering letting my relaxed hair grow out and wearing my hair natural. The majority of my line sisters are natural, which is what first prompted me to look into it. Now, I meet more and more Black women who are either transitioning or have been natural for a while.

While I have not made a decision about what I want to do just yet, I have been all over the net trying to gather information about transitioning, finding cute natural hairstyles, pros & cons of both relaxed & natural hair, etc. Although I have come across some helpful articles and e-associates that have answered questions, posted pics, and tried to convince me to let go of the creamy crack, I have also come across something else. Something disturbingly common. Something not so friendly from current naturalistas.

Site after site after site, I see black women bashing other black women who use perms. According to them, we can't accept ourselves the way God made us. We are trying to live up to a European standard of beauty. We've been brainwashed by The Man. We hate ourselves. Seriously, I have to hate myself because I don't currently wear my hair natural? Ummm, excuse me, but GTFOOHWTBS.

From what I'm seeing, some of these ladies are reacting to years of taunting--maybe even back to childhood--because they were called nappy-headed, etc. Now, although I'm not a part of the natural movement, I thought that many had come to embrace the term "nappy." "Happy to be nappy," "naptural," Nappy Roots. (Okay, I just threw the last one in there, but where did those guys go?) Although they--those that made the comments I am referring to--are claiming to be proud of who they are and perceive themselves to be blacker and stronger than their relaxed counterparts, they are doing the same thing that they've condemned others for: classifying and debasing others strictly on account of their hair. And considering they claim to love themselves and be confident in who they are, it seems they would let these "insults" roll off of their backs. But alas, we know everybody ain't what they say they are.

My biggest problem with those comments is that they lump all of us non-natural sistahs in a category and make broad assumptions. "They view natural hair as ugly... bad hair." They who? Don't feign to know how I feel just by the way I wear my hair. I have seen plenty of natural styles that made me completely jealous (simply because I know I don't have the patience to get my hair to the point it needs to be for intricate loc designs). And the condescending statements like, "They say they have perms to make their hair more manageable. Shouldn't you know how to manage your natural hair? It's what you were born with after all. Not that wanna-be white stuff." Pump ya breaks!! Most of the black women I know have had perms since they were little. I have had mine since I was about four or five years old. That means that before I was trying to manage anything about my look, my hair was relaxed, so how the hell would I just automatically know how to take care of natural hair? I would have to learn, just like I had to learn how to deal with my hair in its current state. So no, I shouldn't automatically know what to do with it. Thanks.

The final thing that ticks me off about this is the bold, broad, untrue belief that you cannot have healthy relaxed hair. In the words of B. Scott, "Bitch, boo, bye!" As I stated, I've had a perm for 20 years and guess what? My hair is long, strong and healthy! It's not simply having a perm that makes hair unhealthy, it's not knowing how to take care of it and doing any and everything to your hair. (Oddly enough, I really don't know how to take care of my hair for real for real. LOL Fortunately I come from a family of cosmetologist so I can get it taken care of properly and for the low!) The same would be true for those that are natural. Not everyone's hair can withstand the same things; so even natural hair can be damaged, brittle, dry, and yes even unmanageable if not cared for as it should be.

So, before I step off of my soapbox, let me say this. The way I wear my hair, much like the clothes I wear and my makeup if/when I choose to wear it, is a matter of personal choice. That means that for whatever reason, it makes me happy, and that reason could be completely different from what you THINK it is. As India.Arie sang, "I am NOT my hair," and that is true for all, whether natural, permed, bald, whatever! We get enough flack, insults and "curiosity" from others about our uniquely African features. I shouldn't have to deal with it from those who claim to embrace blackness so.

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