For Black women like me who have a tougher time relaxing our strands compared to our comrades, who are able to wet their edges, gel it down, and air dry to perfection in less than an hour, the stakes are higher when it comes to presenting our finished looks to a gawking and judgmental crowd.
Not fair. A lot of women, actually a lot of white women even, have difficulty forcing their hair to conform to societal norms. And all hair, pretty much wants to do its own thing, which is usually NOT, laying down in some pretty lil styled doo.
For all of my young life, I had a HUGE complex about my hair, which I describe as such: my hair looks like the DNA of Nigeria and Appalachia got into a fight…and they both LOST.
I mean, how do you have hair that is both nappy AND stringy? I don’t know, but I do.
And it never cooperated with any of those damn looks created by hair stylists- all of which require a whole hell of a lot of torture of the hair and product.
I was on the leading edge of the natural hair movement, cutting off all of my hair in 2000, waaaaaaaaaaaay before it was cool or hip to do so.
I did it…not to make any huge political statement or to connect with my nappy roots but simply because I was TIRED of torturing my hair and paying exorbitant prices to do so.
I’m extremely light skinned. I’m what you call a light bright — light and bright and damn near white- but that never stopped the multitudes from criticizing or applauding my decision to first go natural and then to lock.
And do you know what I took from that? We all pay a ridiculous amount of attention to hair.
It’s effing HAIR!
Anyway, I say all of that to say this: do not assume that it’s only dark-skinned women who get attacked, berated, annoyed, irritated and dragged for having nappy hair.
In my youth, I never heard the end of it; and had to entertain such questions as these:
How can you be light-skinned and have such nappy hair????? (Which again was also really stringy too…the worst of all possible worlds). And what kinda question is that anyway? What kinda question is that FOR A CHILD?
I was constantly made to feel like a freak of nature, just because I’m light skinned and my hair is nappy. (And stringy too…which really sucks because it’s weak, it breaks off all the damn time, and can’t be bothered with any of the traditional torture methods: (relaxers, jeering curls, hot combs), lest it all fall out.
No I don’t have good hair, in fact, I have particularly BAD hair that won’t cooperate with any cultural norms. It refuses to Europeanize and straighten out, but it doesn’t kink up all that easily either. And kinks are critical for some styles like locks and cornrows. No matter what the style, my hair is protesting.
We all have hair issues…all the women…that’s a universally females thing, as our hair, just like our bodies, are expected to jump through all sorts of unrealistic hoops and hot combs just so we can be considered “pretty.”
Okay…that’s the end of my rant…I feel some kinda way about the hair thing…I really do.