I was privy to a conversation lately that had a trio of young women debating the value of hair; and more specifically, the supposed unquestioned advantage of women having very very long hair (yes…even if not their own).
See these women, like so many have been conditioned to believe that a woman’s, not even true, but only beauty resides in her hair. This cannot be further from the truth! Contrary to popular opinion, I firmly believe that oftentimes, a woman’s true beauty hides behind her hair! Okay, before some of you (white men) lynch me, let’s address this:
In no way am I saying that all women should shave their heads and all walk around looking like light bulb clones; indeed not. However what I am saying is that teaching our children that their hair is their beauty is doing an unbelievable disservice to them. Not to mention when we add the caveat that that only qualifies for those with the so-called “good hair”. What the fuck is that?!?
As in so many other areas, we need to pay very careful attention to the lessons we are imparting. We need to recognize and accept the potential damage we are doing to our young. When are we going to realize that we ourselves are negating our genealogy when we either explicitly or implicitly transmit that what our children are born with, when measured up against another culture, proves to be lacking – so therefore must be changed? What is the rush to perm/straighten or the necessity to put away the proof of our ancestry and adopt another’s? What messages are we transmitting to not only ourselves, but to those that view us? Can’t it be interpreted that we too are dissatisfied with ourselves?
So I listened to those young (black) ladies discuss their hair rituals – the better brands of hair to purchase to achieve maximum straightness (and the prohibitive, but well worth it costs of same), the subsequent maintenance, the desired length and finally, the impact this new look has on the opposite sex. It was quite entertaining, but sad for me; and guess what yall? I actually kept my mouth shut – till now J
Listen, quite a few of my friends are hairstylists; so, this is absolutely not about the industry. I applaud the talent, time and patience it takes to stand behind a chair all day and put up with the likes of, well, someone like me; much less someone in for a weave overhaul! Additionally, I am definitely not passing judgment on the adults who, for one reason or the other (health or lifestyle) determine that it is necessary to have a hairstyle that makes life more tolerable. What I AM addressing is the mindset that we hand down to our young that infuses into them an insecurity, low self image that leads them to desire an outward appearance that emulates an erroneous likeness of beauty.
We need to be celebrating every fucking kink and nap in our children’s head! We need to, by example, let them know that it is beautiful to have nappy hair, a wide-ass nose and some thick juicy lips! We need to stop fooling ourselves by trying to change ourselves – hoping we can convince others we are not really what we are! My God! I took a look at the three young ladies talking and felt saddened by what I saw – they all looked alike! Each of them with the weaves down to there, morphed into one personality; absolutely devoid of individuality! I mean, the joke’s on us, isn’t it? We scream and shout that #blacklivesmatter, yet some wake up every day denying our heritage, being ashamed of our cultures, so much so that we do our best to emulate the so-called enemy, the white man! Ridiculous! Here’s a tag for you all: #blackpridematters!
Sigh. The length of your hair matters not. The kink in your hair is unbelievably beautiful. True beauty emanates from your eyes; so remove the fake bangs. Confidence curves along your spine; so expose your necks. The fight against slavery and oppression that we’re all mouthing off that means so much to us? Show your ancestral pride – expose the shape of your skull if you dare! Listen, I know that being “natural” is not for everyone; not saying it should be. But setting up a culture that demands that your daughters attempt to hide the truth of their ancestry is damaging. And news flash…just like with that weave, all it takes is a little time and everyone eventually gets down to the root and the truth of the matter!