Hair Snobbery: It’s just hair…..

Posted on December 31, 2010. Filed under: Beauty | Tags: , , |

                                                           

There are a number of hair blogs online as well as hundreds of products on the market for black hair. These products promise to make hair more manageable, less frizzy, and the hair blogs all teach those especially with natural hair, to love your hair, own it, and be proud of it. I will focus more on natural hair, since well, I’m a natural girl myself and natural hair blogs and hair companies just seem to be popping up out of nowhere. Let me just say that although my company does sell some haircare products, that is not the focus of our company. So for those who are looking for a complete haircare line and do’s and don’ts, this ain’t the place…. Now that’s settled so there are a number of natural hair blogs that teach people how to better manage their natural curls and locs and offer product reviews and their own recipes for success. They showcase some beautiful ladies with some rockin’ tresses. It’s quite a break from all the weaved styles that you would normally see in the mainstream even in publications like Essence, and Sophisticates Black Hair Magazine. Which brings me to say this..

It’s just hair.

When I was in school, I used to get teased for my hair all the time. I wore it relaxed, but I am one of those unfortunate ones with very little hair on one of my sides.  So kids would call it a temple taper I got from the barber shop. I would wear my hair down in a pony tail at all times just to cover it up. When I was about 11, I got a bob cut with long layers in the front. At 12, I cut it shorter with just a regular bob cutting off at the ears. Sometimes I would part my hair in the middle and have a style that grungy white boys would have then. When I turned 13, I cut it even shorter to the style that the singer Monica had. I would gel it back during the summer and part it on the side on bad hair days. Then I read one of my mom’s books, “Good Hair, For Colored Girls when the Rainbow Got Rough” or something like that. It made me rethink about my own texture and how I wanted my long, healthy, nappy hair again. I missed my afro and that’s when the transition began. By 14, I was rocking the wet set, but the teasing ramped up to folks asking if I wore a wig. Yeah, it hurt and I wanted to cry almost everyday, but still, I wanted my fro dammit!!!. It got no better in high school until I finally said screw it and got a relaxer. I’ve had my hair fried, dyed and laid to the side then until I made the first big chop before going into the army. I kept a short afro throughout most of my military training before I got to my first duty assignment in Hawaii. I let it grow out and kept it braided up throughout the entire time I was there and wore wigs and braid extensions when I went out. So from then on, I haven’t had a relaxer in my hair for 10 years. Moral of this story, take care of your care and dare to be different…

But it’s just hair..   

I am all for taking care of your hair. I am all for keeping it done and not looking a mess. But when we treat our hair as if we’re taking a pilgrimage to Mecca and act as if those who choose to add chemicals and weaves to their hair are slaves to the ‘creamy crack’, that’s when my bullshit meter goes off. Why is it that we have to make shit bigger than what it should be? Why can’t we as black women celebrate beauty in all forms? Talking about my hair journey alone, I know that if some other sistas went thru the same shit I went thru, they’d need therapy sessions to address why they don’t love themselves or their hair much. I do feel that in some of these blogs, there’s an unspoken snobbery that exists that can be a bit tribalistic at times. I know that it’s human nature to feel like you belong to something. I know that as black women, one of the things that we bond over is hair. I was reading an article in curly nikki where a woman who happens to wear her hair texturized or ‘texlaxed’ brought up the fact that the tone especially in articles and comments can leave her feeling left out and alienated because she and others like her choose to wear their hair chemically altered. Let me just say that by reading the comments, they’ve pretty much proved her point. There was lots of, ‘why would you come to complain on a natural hair blog??” and even,’she must be jealous because she wishes that she had natural hair”.

It’s just fucking hair!!!!!

I bring this issue up because hair snobbery is definitely real and it’s out there. I think that it’s worth it to explore the issue without bashing each other or one side trying to one up the other. I feel that all women can be beautiful with their own style, be it braids, afros, or relaxers. However, I’ve had the pleasure to see and meet sistas who had some jacked up as weaves, braids were pulled too tight to the point that they had a receding hairline, and their naturals were just dry and nappy. But these sistas thought they was doing it! And men don’t care as long as it’s styled. If a man doesn’t want to date you because you’re wearing a natural, maybe he prefers sistas in weaves. Maybe the braids are a little frizzy and might be a turnoff. Or maybe, jus maybe, he’s just not into you. Regardless of how you wear your hair.

I’ll probably get flamed for this real bad. Especially since I’m still a rookie in the blogging world. But that had to come out since exploring other blogs and I love being honest and open with people and even divulging some personal stories about me. This is not to bash natural blogs, I don’t have an inferiority complex, and I am certainly not a hater. I love going to natural blogs like afrobella and others to check out what’s new and view others opinions. At the end of the day, it’s just hair.

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2 Responses to “Hair Snobbery: It’s just hair…..”

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Lord, I feel you big time, the ‘politics of black hair’ is what I call it.(Some)Black women in America feel they need to make a political statement with their hair, such as, ‘I am a liberated black woman, free from “slave mentality” and in touch with my roots…bla bla bla’ Someone with this type of mindset will not see hair as ‘just hair’ for her, hair holds a particular symbolism and she will view another black woman with chemically altered hair, as having an ‘inferior’ outlook on life, hence the ‘hair snobbery’, or superiority complex if you like. I have noticed that it is usually women with looser curl patterns, that might be easier to maintain that have this attitude(this is just a personal observation, it is by no means universal). I was reading a blog post about the effects of a henna treatment on our hair, some women posted that they loved it because it elongated their curl pattern and thus made their hair more manageable. Can you imagine that they got bashed for not embracing their God given hair, someone even suggested that they might as well go back to their relaxers and texturizers, on another blog, someone posted that since henna might loosen curl pattern, it is as good as having your hair chemically treated, so a henna-headed person should not be considered natural. Isn’t it Incredible the kind of things we bother our pretty heads about? There bigger issues in life than the state of another person’s hair, don’t even get me started. Seriously though, I think this issue is a bigger one than most natural heads would care to admit, for some people,there is always that subtle unspoken ‘thing’ when referring to someone who is not natural, that is not cool. Moral of my boring post: Live and let live, what might work for you might not work for others, to each her own, anyone can decide what to do with their hair, it is none of your damned(sorry) business. From a psychological standpoint it can be argued that people who practice hair snobbery are only trying to feel good with themselves by projecting their own insecure baggage on to others. There is nothing wrong with educating people about the dangers of harsh chemicals such as relaxers and such, but to actively discriminate against people with chemically treated hair is outright ‘hair racism’. There I said it. Stay beautiful people, peace and love.

Thank you for this post. For the most part, you have to do what works for you and not give in to other’s opinion of what will work on you. There are plenty of sistas who take care of their hair wearing relaxers, weaves, and braids and with that GOD also gave us the freedom of choice. Thanks for your response.


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