With all of this debate about natural vs relaxed hair, I’m sure all the ladies who’ve been tuning in have developed opinions regarding the matter. I know I have. I want so bad to just BE ME, and just stop with the weaves and relaxers, but it’s not so simple. I wish it was as easy as cutting the relaxed ends off and co-washing daily to maintain a cute and polished look. But similar to everything else in my life, its much more complex than that.

You see, according to Andre’s hair typing chart, I have 4C hair, the kinkiest, coiliest, wolliest, hair you’ve ever witnessed and no this is not by any means a gift. It is also very weak, dry, and unmanageable which hence makes it prone to unavoidable breakage. I’m not sure I will ever grow to fully accept my hair because I’m well aware that it’s not as beautiful as the longer silkier strands other women were blessed with. And even if I find it to be beautiful some days, I know society won’t agree, and as a social being, this affects me. I often look at myself and wonder ‘why was I cursed with this hair’? And I say to myself, “wow, if I had so-and-so’s hair, I would be poppin, can’t tell me nothing!!” But I don’t…. so does that make me less beautiful? To be honest, yes.

Especially when there are articles written to express very common yet hidden sentiments like those of Japanese writer, Satoshi   Kanazawa, who wrote an article explaining why black women were the least attractive race, and thus least desirable. It has since been retracted, but he can rest assured that the damage has already been done. He basically solidified what us black women have secretly pondered each time we saw a fine black man with a woman of another race, or even a light skinned version of herself. Why didn’t he choose me? Is it my nose, my hair, my skintone, my shape? We pick at ourselves asking, What could it be?

For me, its my hair. I’ve never developed the self-esteem to proudly rock my natural textured hair as a big F-you to society’s standard of beauty. I hardly even rock my relaxed hair. Weaves have been my crutch for so long, I think I’m addicted- But it’s not “me”. I’ve never grown to just accept what the good Lord has given me and make it work like nobody’s business. I’ve never looked in the mirror au naturale and said back to my reflection how beautiful it is. But I want to.

I’m not that bad looking, I’m an average black woman, average height, slender build, average looks. It’s just hard to see the natural beauty within when the external forces which are so much stronger are telling you otherwise.

But how can we quantify beauty when it’s uncontrollable? What even gives any of us the right to do so? Aren’t we all considered beautiful since we are made in God’s image and likeness? We are all reflections of God love and life. Yet, we don’t see it within ourselves or each other. I just hope one day all the children of the African diaspora will gather for unity’s sake and come to accept ourselves as is.


About theforeseer

Young, Black, Fabulous These Are The Musings of a Foreseer

Posted on June 9, 2011, in Beauty, Hair and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. just want to let you know that i appreciate your candor and expression of raw emotions. it’s something that we all fight with from time to time. it’s important to remember what you wrote: that we are all beautiful because we were created in the image of God. of course this was not about a physical image, but the point is we are the creation of our Creator, and “God don’t make no junk,” as they used to say.

    that said, understand that as women (in general), we will always struggle with the temptation to live up to society’s standards of beauty, because, well, we live in our society, and unless we’re under a rock, we hear the messages that are expressed by the mainstream regarding what constitutes beauty (and what doesn’t). and society’s message is not that beauty is defined by whose image we are made in; rather that we need to be a certain height, weight, shade, have a certain hair grade (and length) and probably possess whatever particular product they’re selling. this is true of white women, us, and all shades/races/elasticities in between.

    as BLACK women, we of course have been subject to not only those messages, but others that have told us that our physique is inferior to that of white women since our arrival in the new world (and this is not unique to the US…just do a search of “pelo malo” (bad hair), “mejorar la raza” (improve the race) and like concepts in latin america). for us, that means that the internal struggle that we have as women is a bit more uphill than what other women may have to face. not fair, but that’s just how it is.

    it does hurt that a social scientist would publish something as biased and unscientific as he did. it hurts that it reflects the sentiments of some people in our society, but it is NOT based on facts or the truth. it’s based on his opinion, and the influence of a history of debasing, dehumanizing and marginalizing a particular group of people. this same influence is also the root of any sentiments of undesirability that we as black women have for our natural hair, nose, skin and other physical features.

    so stay encouraged. whenever you are faced with these sentiments, understand the root of them, shake them off and just keep going forward. don’t get too caught up in the debate over relaxed vs. natural. people will also have their opinions about what you/we do. at the end of the day though, you have to feel comfortable in your own skin (no pun intended). i told myself for about three years that i would go natural before i actually did, but when i did i was ready, and i’m so glad i did. keep doing research, looking up hair care regimens and styles, and when you’re ready, try it. you can always go back to perms if you decide to, and then try again if you want (or not). ultimately, remember that we are beautiful because of our conforming to the unchanging image of who God is, no matter what our shade or texture, chemicals or not.

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