42-18407415To my knowledge Chris Rock’s movie, Good Hair, doesn’t have a fitness element to it, no. Although I did catch a clip of Raven-Symone (I think?) saying that our hair prevents us from “doing certain things,” I’m not sure if the topic will be in there. I’ve asked a couple of people who have seen private screenings thus far, and no one has unequivocally told me “Yes.”

To me, that’s… funny.

For a number of reasons.

Make no mistake about it, I’ve said on here that I wear relaxed tresses. My own hair is a third of the way down my back, extremely thick, and I usually toss it up in a ponytail. I used to wear sew-ins, because they allowed me to do some insane things to my hair, still look good, and not manage to burn all of my hair off. For me, as well as a number of women, relaxing our hair is a manageability issue.

And, really.. I’ve got to admit: it’s absolutely a manageability issue for me because although I relax regularly, I still have the luxury of being able to rock my ‘fro. Quite frankly, I’m not interested in flat ironing my hair every day. Not in the least.

However, the conversation that this movie is forcing us to have involves the Black standard of female beauty. IS there a premium placed on women with straight hair? Is this a healthy concept for us? By healthy, I don’t mean health-wise, but more so in terms of what it says to us about ourselves? Don’t worry, this isn’t about to turn into a rant of natural vs relaxed.

I can’t help but wonder, though. What is out there that is so powerful, it can convince our girlfriends to spend a whole DAY in the salon to get their hair styled, but it’s too rough to spend a half hour a day walking? Where is the message that tells us we must spend THOUSANDS of dollars each year caring for our hair, sacrificing entire days in beauty salons, and why isn’t the message of being more physically fit getting through? Can someone measure the strength of THAT message for me?

What is it? I mean, if I look at the TV, the same images of women with straight, shiny, silky hair also contain images of women with stick thin figures and single-digit dress sizes. If I look at a magazine ad of a woman with gorgeous straight hair with long curls, she’s more often than not going to be rail thin. I’m not saying that “rail thin” is the way to be by ANY means, but I’m hoping to illustrate a point here. If the small figures are found in the same places we find the images of women with straight hair… why isn’t the message convincing Black women to put forth a gang of effort into losing weight getting through?

Now, I can’t identify or verify these numbers, but check this out:

Unfortunately, 46% of African American men and 57% of African American women are sedentary, with no time scheduled for exercise. – Lottie’s Health N Wellness

No time scheduled for exercise, but all the time in the world for the almighty touch-up?

Listen, I’m not railing against women who DO hit the salon at 6AM waiting to make sure they’re out by 2PM. I’m railing against women who can get up at 6AM for a hair appointment, while loudly complaining about having no time for the gym. A half hour a day walking helped me lose 18lbs in one month. Maybe we overestimate what it takes to actually invest in our personal health. Maybe because we get so few tidbits of advice on how to care for our physical selves, we’ve let commercials and infomercials and trainers with something to sell educate us improperly. Maybe we’ve been led to believe that it requires more than we can afford in time as well as money. Maybe, baby.

I think it’s funny that the movie could very well NOT address fitness in the slightest. Is it because the topic is wholly uncomfortable for at least 79% of us to talk about? Is it too much to think about why we find such comfort in seeing heavier set women in our community? Before someone tries to take offense, don’t take my words as saying there is something offensive to society’s sensibilities by having overweight women around. I’m saying that there’s something that makes it acceptable for us to live an unhealthy lifestyle, but would make us sacrifice a whole day (in some cases, a whole weekend) for different hair.

What is it going to take for us to re-educate and enlighten ourselves? Will it take our men to start openly and loudly shunning overweight women, as opposed to still giving us attention? Is that what it will boil down to, to get us to focus equal-if-not-more attention on our physical health? What are your thoughts?