There’s that looming debate over why women of color are so adamant about having straight hair. Some assumption that it is so thoroughly related to societal definitions of beauty, European standards of attractiveness, and has nothing to do with who we were born to be. Yeah, well makeup, spanx, and high heels have nothing to do with who we were born to be, either… and we ALL partake in one or the other of those. So… I’m not interested in discussing why women choose to chemically straighten their hair.
What I AM interested in is what the deciding factor is in the decision between choosing perfect hair and working toward a perfect body. Seriously. I asked my male friends about this, and each one said to me something to the effect of, “I’d rather my girl have a great body and a jacked up head, than beautifully straight hair and a jacked up body.” Besides, there’s some kind of debate about the type of men that a natural-haired sista will attract, anyhow.
Make no mistake about it – I’m NOT natural. In fact, I’ve done my own relaxers since I was a sophomore in high school, and keep my hair healthy all by my lonesome. It is thick, 2-3 inches away from my bra strap, and well… let’s just say that to the average person, I STILL look like I’m natural. However… because I know what my head would look like otherwise, I’m grateful for the relaxer. I go from looking like a lion to a lamb – still a little wooly but much better than the alternative – and that has nothing to do with any external factors. It’s just not what I prefer to sleep on, comb through, or see in a mirror.
Having admitted my own plight with my hair, I will tell you.. I’m not willing to let something as meaningless as hair get in the way of my goals for my personal health. I won’t act like it’s easy for every woman to make that kind of statement. I can’t imagine what women in more corporate settings go through, especially since once upon a time.. it was considered acceptable to call “afrocentric” hair a “corporate don’t.” I work for myself, so I set my own rules. Being beholden to the beauty standards of someone that might not understand the “limitations” of your culture is stressful to say the least. However, it simply cannot serve as an excuse for not taking care of ourselves. Maybe, in the future, I can find links for attractive hairstyles that are manageable and conducive to a good workout regimen.
I won’t lie.. I need ’em too. I wear my hair in either two pixie braids or a giant afro puff all day. LOL.
All of that typing was a pre-cursor to this video, about women of color and how we allow our hair to get in the way of our health and well-being. The newscaster, Robin Robinson of Fox Chicago, made a pretty daring move in going against what her viewers are used to and wearing a style that they may not be accustomed to seeing. I think that’s pretty bold, and although I kind of snickered at her “benefits of wearing ethnic hairstyles – thank goodness there is one” line (because even though I know it’s received poorly, I felt her pain), I hope she chooses to stick with it.
What are your thoughts? Do tell!