Why Going Natural Is A Big Deal

Posted by on May 16, 2012

Just as there are trends in fashion, there are trends in beauty. The shaved head trend had its turn and now it seems that more black women than ever are going natural.

I am one of those women who has finally returned to the days of my crazy curly mane and I must say that it feels fantastic. I decided to embark upon the journey 15 months ago and didn’t want to take the “big chop” so instead I just opted to grow it out the good old-fashioned way and trim as I went along. It wasn’t any easy feat and some days I chose hats and headbands over actually doing my hair.

This weekend, I wore my natural hair out for the first time and was petrified, only being reassured of how great it is when I saw that 90% of the women at the party I attended were also rocking their hair in its natural state. An even bigger fear swept over me going into the office for the first time, but the responses were overwhelmingly positive from, “Nice hair” to “I would pay for a head of hairs like yours”. This all might sound vain, but in a world of straight-haired women, the idea of walking into a room with hair that is literally larger than life can be quite daunting.

The reactions from men are also very interesting and polarized in my experience either being “I love your hair” or “I don’t understand why women would want to wear their hair nappy”. Yes I have heard both. The infamous article written by Satoshi Kanazawa at Psychology Today is only another clear indication of just how much scrutiny and criticism black women’s beauty is under on a constant basis.

Going natural is not just prescribing to a trend, but it really is going against the grain. This is not to say that not having natural hair makes any woman less daring, but in a society that is still hellbent on aligning with the European standards of beauty, embracing your own natural beauty is almost unheard of. I am not afraid to wear football-esque shoulder-padded jackets or purple lipstick, but I was afraid to wear the hair I was born with and I am quite sure that most women who went natural felt the same way. This isn’t a call to arms to stop getting relaxers but more an embrace and acknowledgement of the courage it takes to literally let yourself go free.

What are your thoughts on natural hair? If you have it, did you have any reservations about wearing it out?

-Faith Cummings

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