Some may call it a phenomenon,others a fad… It’s natural hair. And within the last few years, there has been an increase in African-American women going back to their roots – literally.
But what is the attraction to becoming natural really?
I believe that it actually comes down to a female becoming more comfortable in their own skin. No matter the age, race or creed, it is a powerful statement to show the world that you love you for what you were born with. Being able to accept, embrace and enjoy the beauty of you. Lets face it, many women today of different ethnicities wear their hair “naturally” on a daily basis, but nothing is mentioned and it’s never a big deal. But when a lady of african decent does the same, it can perhaps make her the center of attention, start a conversation, or become a fiery debate.
Why is it that when african-american women decide not to use chemicals on their hair, it becomes such a big deal? While other races have lived centuries without it ever becoming an issue?
Black hair is so unique and different, that it has no choice but to be noticed. People who have those tight, thick coils and tons of volume tend to stand out in a crowd. But more importantly when it comes to western culture, there is a sense of having to deal with the accepted idea of what beautiful hair is. In speaking to many different people, I usually hear that the idea of “good” hair is of a straighter grade or texture, something easier to comb, flowing and long in length, which you will usually see on a european.
And because of that, within the last 20 years or so we have seen an influx of hair supply stores, that sell weaves on end, relaxers and the like – all products that help people of color get this particular view of beauty that society has told us is the acceptable one.
As for a reason to why women are embracing this “new” look, for some women there comes a time when they decide that they just really don’t care what others think of them anymore. Perhaps they want to live a healthier lifestyle. Maybe the strain of applying chemicals on their scalp has taken a toll on their locks. Or, maybe they just want a change. Whatever the reason, it is usually a personal one when you ask someone why they have decided to go au naturale.
Since returning as a natural myself, I have heard many stereotypes that follow along with it. Becoming natural doesn’t mean you are lazy with your hair. In fact, I have found out that it takes about the same, if not more work than when I kept my hair straightened. Not all black men like the look of natural hair, but then there many of them also are in love with it.. So don’t say you can’t find or be accepted by any man without straight hair. Your hair won’t hold you back from getting your respect, your career, or keep you from being taken seriously – unless of course you let it. People have even compared me to my ancestors (for example, saying I look like a “runaway slave”) for changing my look. But I don’t see my history as anything to be ashamed of… we have come a very long way. Needless to say I would rather be a runaway then stay locked in bondage mentally or physically (lol). The point is, you must have a lot of confidence to rock the natural look. There are people who judge others by how they appear and who they are, and you will be basically showing the world exactly what your made of… so if you can’t be proud of it, learn to love it, or don’t think you can handle it, you will definitely struggle with having success with it.
Just a few questions to ask yourself: How do you see your hair? As just a fashion statement, or a reflection of you as a person? How important is it to stay within the standards of a certain idea of beauty? Are you a natural? Why or why not??
Regardless of your choice of hairstyles, lets define ourselves and not let our hair do it for us! We are all beautiful in our own very unique ways. Pretty hair does not make a pretty person inside and out. But, how you carry yourself does. Good luck if you are on your own natural hair journeys and let me know what you think of this piece by commenting below