Why I Think Natural Hair is Indeed a Political Statement

72 comments
June 5, 2012 ‐ By Charing Ball

If you haven’t seen it yet, which I’m pretty sure you have because it has been featured on every black blog and online publication, The New York Times recently ran an editorial, along with a short video, about the black women who are transitioning to natural beauty.

Zina Saro-Wiwa, a Nigerian, by way of the UK, documentary filmmaker and video artist, began documenting the American black women natural hair movement after her own transition from chemical straightening to a short bush left her both enamored and questioning her own insecurities about how she really felt about her own hair.  In the video, she speaks to a number of black women about their natural hair and inquires about what inspired them to take the journey.

While I loved both the post and the video, (seriously, it is very well done), I kind of raised an eyebrow at the assertion made both in the video and the post that folks shy away from the “black power” reference associated with black hair. Nor do they view their hair as a political statement.  More specifically;

“As Anu Prestonia, the owner of Khamit Kinks, a natural hair salon in Brooklyn, told me, “There’s been an evolutionary process that has turned into a revolution.” It is not an angry movement. Women aren’t saying their motivation is to combat Eurocentric ideals of beauty. Rather, this is a movement characterized by self-discovery and health. “

No doubt that some women do resist the implication that their natural hair has dual meaning. I have heard many times from women with natural hair reject flat out and inclination that they are revolutionary because of their chosen hairstyle. In the past, I might have agreed with them. In the past, I had agreed with them and wrote about the often problematic social undertones that exist with being “natural.” However I have come to learn that even if we do or do not accept our place in the movement, natural hair is indeed political.

How so? Well consider the story of 13-year old Brea Persley of Inglewood California. One day in class, her teacher at the Century Academy for Excellence got so frustrated with her that she allegedly told her to “sit her nappy-headed self down.” This statement may sound funny, and possibly benign to some, however the term “nappy-headed” historically has always had a negative connation used to belittle or disregard a person of African descent. And when those remarks were made in front of the entire class, this little girl felt humiliated. “When the kids started laughing, it brought back the memories of when I was in 4th grade and kids used to laugh at me and tease me,” said Persley said.

As a whole, the black experience in America is politicized, which was recently demonstrated by  researchers from Brown University, who discovered that race, for both black and white voters, has more to do with their shifting support for President Obama than actual policy. Meaning that if President Obama, the first black (or biracial as some insist on calling him) president, supports gay marriage then black folks, who previously might have denounced gay marriage, shift their positions to align with the President while race conscious whites shift their position to be in opposition of the President.  Of course, the suggestion here is that it is not the issue of gay marriage itself, but the issue of being for or against the black president.

When the first generation of African slaves landed in America, the ability to maintain their elaborate and often spiritual hairstyles was robbed from them along with their freedom. Their kinks were deemed unruly and ugly and eventually became a source of shame. Not much has changed since then; as today, the kinks and the 4B types are still considered a less desirable hair texture than bone straight hair. This is confirmed for us daily as we flip through the pages of magazines, both mainstream and black, and see women of African descent with long weaves and silky perms. And it’s there again when we hear stories about black women being barred from planes or employment opportunities because of their natural coils.

As the always poignant comedian Paul Mooney once said, “If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, then they’re not happy.”  The age-old efforts to subjugate us by devaluing our beauty, including our hair, have always been a political tactic to establish more European features, including long silky straight hair, as both mainstream and the status quo. Therefore the more you try to a heed to the mainstream image, the more you align and condone politically and socially the status quo. Each time one of us takes the plunge and cast off the shackles of shame, which suggest that our hair and beauty is inferior, the more we strike a blow to those political forces. And as more and more resist the notion that straight hair is the only type of hair to be considered both beautiful and professional, the more we shift the collective conscious of all folks to make mainstream more reflective and inclusive of you. That’s the essence of any great political movement – whether it is for civil rights or uncivilized hair.

This is not to discount women, who want to straighten their hair or wear weaves. I still hold on to the contention that there is nothing wrong, or less black, with that. But this is largely about the message of those, who don’t, those women who never felt comfortable frying, dying and extending. Those women, who wanted to be free enough to go out into public with some knotty dreads or a teeny weenie afro without being labeled as uncouth, unkempt or some other derogatory term. Those, who were and still are routinely excluded from some certain workplaces and social circles. These folks, who in the past, may not have been able to choose the option of natural styles like Bantu Knots, twists and yes even dreadlocks.

The more that black women embrace the natural hair movement, if only temporary, the more women who felt boxed in to abiding by societal standards just in order to get along, can feel free.  Within this movement, they are free to choose natural and have comfort in knowing that there are legions of others like them.  It’s about the freedom of choice to come out of the proverbial hair closet and say to the world that I am here. I am nappy. Get used to it.

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.

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  • RC

    Fantastic article. I agree with you completely. In a society where black women have been made to feel aesthetically inferior since day one of white colonization, thanks to the enforcing of Eurocentric beauty ideals, it is remarkable for black women to embrace the intrinsic beauty of their black features, independent of any comparison with the deeply entrenched white beauty ideals. It’s similar for other women of color too (I myself am of Indian descent). By the way I am in no way attempting to speak from a black experience (I cannot since I’m not black) so please call me out if I am wrong.

    People of color were historically oppressed in every possible way. When the oppressive group is able to define what is considered beautiful, it is an effective way to keep people subjugated. This is exactly what the white colonizers did – the white beauty ideals were entrenched so deeply that they were, and still are today even though it’s changing, considered the norm and standard to aspire to. Internalized racism and self-loathing causes blacks and other people of color to favor light-skinned, light-eyed members of their own racial group.

    People can tell me until they are blue in the face that it’s just their preference, but that’s B.S. Preference comes from somewhere. It’s conditioned. In this case it’s being influenced to find “whiter” features more attractive. I’ve seen it with Indians so many times; they wear blue or green contacts, and many Indian girls will not leave the house unless their hair is flat-ironed straight – the natural waves are just unacceptable. So, to be able to embrace your own ethnic features, is a HUGE deal. It’s POLITICAL and SOCIAL.

    When a black woman’s hair has been seen as “bad”, “nappy”, or “unprofessional” in American society, when a little black girl is sent home from school because she is wearing her hair in dreadlocks, when a black guy I knew had to shave off his dreadlocks because they wouldn’t fit into his cap at work and his boss threatened to fire him, when black women have to face struggles because people have a problem with the way your hair GROWS OUT OF YOUR HEAD – then YES, wearing your natural is a REVOLUTIONARY act. It’s forcing people (the ones who still have the colonized mindset in which smooth European hair is automatically superior and the most attractive) to deal with you as you are, not who they want you to be. This in turn allows you to be empowered, which further dismantles the societal construct that has kept people of color from expressing themselves authentically.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to write a manifesto. You are amazing; indeed making a statement and helping the revolution! The more that people of color value themselves for who they are, and not some “other” set to the White norm, the more empowered they will be. The racist folks won’t be able to handle it!

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  • bash

    Cut it all off then there will be no question of it being good hair or bad hair or political. Besides, real beautiful women don’t need hair to show their beauty.

  • Magg

    The author is right. Yall may just haven’t realized it, or may not have been putting in a situation that would have made yall realize it.
    I also started to be natural because i wanted my hair to be healthier… It was also when i graduated and i just had my new official job… People started asking me questions like “What did your boss say when he saw you?” , “No way you work in a big company with that kind of hair”…. Im dead serious i heard all of that, and i was actually choked because for me it was just hair and suddenly people were making a big deal about it… The hardest part for me was to find the connection between hair and work (i need a clue, im still trying to figure it out)… And no i don’t work in a big company because im a high school teacher so i also got the following question “Do the kids respect you with your afro?”… First time i heard that i was like (:O) No way im being asked that! Why wouldn’t they?! Why would i be less respected by kids because of my NATURAL hair (that means that’s how my hair grow, that’s how i’ve been created by god almighty -i can’t believe im putting God into this-) ?!?
    I’m also super surprised when young girls at school come to see me and tell me “Yo miss your hair is cool, and it’s cool that you wearing it like that, that means we have the right to do so too”… Seriously that comment coming from teenagers is actually the one that really opened my eyes… It broke my heart, and i was like damn i have a responsibility now… Nappy hair is portrayed as ugly, illegal (lol)… And the list goes on…
    Yeah yeah it is TOTALLY political… My hair being healthy comes second…

  • Anon

    ummm whatever. I’m natural (chemical free), been natural majority of my life. I know the history behind it all and the negative connotations but don’t tell me I’m making a political statement. Wearing my hair flat ironed or in a natural style is nothing more than a style. As soon as people stop trying to tag natural haired women as revolutionary’s, we will finally get back to the real issue which is hair styling. We’ll be able to understand that natural styles, and straight styles are nothing more than styles and none is better than the other. As soon as we normalize it instead of beating people over the head with it, the sooner the whole natural v. relaxed, straight v. curly battle will end and just be considered the norm.

  • BayArea

    yeah the negative comments come from all the unintelligent black girls…..all the positive comments come from everyone that is not black….it so sad but very true…

  • BayArea

    I live in the Bay Area and all the intelligent black girls go natural and you know who comments the most everyone that is not black. The comments are always negative, however I see whites girls and boys growing dreads all the time. It’s crazy how in the rest of the country black girls want to be eurocentric all the time but here in the bay area they white people want to be African not african american; long weaves, fake tits, fake lashes, face full of make-up (especially in the SOUTH)…it is sooooo sad…..the south needs to do better….period

  • moonrose4me

    I’ve been natural for sometime.
    In the beginning its wasn’t a political statement.
    I was just curious to see what my natural texture looked like. However, has time passed by, I saw my hair in a whole new light. I started hearing comments like: Your brave to wear your hair like that? or Are you from Africa? and the infamous I would go natural but my hair is to nappy for that. And after hearing things like that I knew my hair represented something political whether I wanted it to or not.

    So now, I wear my hair not only as a accessory but a statement — Black N Proud

  • empress123

    BRAVO! I do not know why we are afraid to ADMIT that this is more than just a ‘look’ there is more to this movement than just style and fad. I can tell countless stories of women going natural out of defiance of ignorant comments and statements about Black hair as well as stories about doing it for health, lower maintenance and pride. We can discuss this without putting down those who still straighten their hair but please stop apologizing or feeling obligated to make everyone else feel better about your decision and journey. Who vex loss….

    • empress123

      Also, just because you are natural it doesn’t mean you are concerned with Black issues politically or mentally.OK got your point sheesh! Some people ARE, so for those people I applaud you :) Like another poster said: there is nothing wrong with being political if that is where your interest lies. I also don’t mind my hair being a statement.

  • STOP IT

    For heaven’s sake, it’s what black women were born with!!!! I wish some of you would get over this bs seriously. To relax, wear natural, shave, dye, fry or blow dry is a CHOICE. Natural hair is NOT a political statement nor trend. It’s a choice to do wtf you want with your head!!!! This is America right?! SMH!

  • not a fan

    I heard that if u want to kno the state of society, ask the children. with that being said, i would be interested in seeing a poll geared towards high school age and younger black ladies on how they feel about natural and relaxed hair and what it says about the individuals who wear either. I promise those results would be very telling of the politics of hair. It’s different because we’re women and most women can see thru the bullcrap versus younger people who don’t have that much clarity yet.

  • Treacle234

    It’s not a political statement. It’s ridiculous how you guys seem to think a black woman wearing her hair in an unprocessed state means something other than it is. For some women, it’s just easier to wear their hair. For others, it means something. I have been natural since birth and having my hair natural is simply my preference. It’s easier for me to deal with, it’s fuss free. It’s not a political statement.

    • empress123

      NOT FOR YOU it is for ME. I wear it and tell little girls with natural hair how pretty they are because I remember when I was younger and natural how much negative comments I got from other children who were the same color as me. A black teacher told me how beautiful my hair was and I have never forgotten that. Different things affect different people in DIFFERENT ways so just do you and try not to tear down those who this helps by preaching about this sensitive subject being ‘ridiculous’. It isn’t…

      • Treacle234

        I did not grow up in an American society, so to me it is ridiculous. Seeing black women with their natural hair was and is very a common thing where I reside. Honestly, this issue is soo not serious. Different strokes for different folks.
        Listen, I sure if you go to SKorea and a person gives you a huge tin of luncheon meat (SPAM) as a welcome or New Years gift you would look at the gift weird! and may be in amazement and be like “um ok?” It’s like that for me, natural hair is not that serious.

        • msnaimah1985

          Its not erious for you because like you say you did not grow up in America. You don’t come from families of people who have been stringed to a tree by the neck because they are Black/African. No one actually expects you to get it because your mom probably was not spit on by police and pepper sprayed walking down the street in the 1970′s simply because she was African in America and sporting her natural hair. You my friend as you admit has never walked in our shoes so please don’t discredit our struggle.

          • Treacle234

            Okay, when you put it like that. I’m thankful, I didn’t grow up in an American society that has so many underlying race issues. Anyway, I apologise for my comment and thinking it’s not that serious or it is ridiculous. Sorry to all who I offended.

            • msnaimah1985

              Its all good, that’s what we’re here for, to exchange dialogue that will get us all thinking and to open up perspectives of people we may not interact with everyday!

  • Dione Robertson

    Why is natural hair a political statement but not weaves/braids/twists/locks/wigs/relaxed hair?

    Answer? All hair can be a political statement; not based on the view of the owner but by all who see the hair. Traditional Asian beauties have jet black hair. A child on HBO’s “True Blood” thinks her hair is bad (because it’s red) and Sookie (main character) is beautiful because she’s blond.

    Either culture admits this history…….JUST LIKE BLACKS.

  • reneewim

    I may be late in the movement, but I’m 6 months into my transition and I’m already hearing the positive and negative from ppl. The negatives are ALL from relaxed BLACK women. All of them; Even some I called friends at one point. Some of them rocking weaves so often that they don’t even remember what their relaxed hair looks like, let alone their new growth. Some of these women have the most raggedy colored to death relaxed hair I’ve ever seen, but my neat curls and twist outs need to be “permed”. I have heard “girl you are overdue for a perm” and “I can’t walk around looking like that”, but they have a teaspoon full of damaged relaxed hair they are fighting to get into a ponytail. I do believe this is slightly political, but that isn’t everyone’s intention. For whatever reasons a woman decides to return to her hair the way it grows from her head, people need to learn to keep their opinions to themselves and battle their own demons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/llinthecome Labarbara Linthecome

    I’m not trying to be political, revolutionary, or liberated…I’m just being me!!…this is the way I was born, and I see nothing wrong with it…learn to love yourself and the rest will follow

  • jsajea28

    when I went natural 5 mths ago, I guess it was a political statement, because out of the 50 black women that I saw in one day, only one or two had natural hair! It made me feel so disgusted and sad, at the same tim

  • Gimmeabreak78

    I don’t see what is political or revolutionary about wearing one’s hair the way it naturally grows out of one’s scalp. Eurocentricism has made us believe that wearing natural hair is somehow rebellious, when really it’s totally congruent with how God has designed our hair follicles to operate.

    • dimmabl

      When you are in a system that has accepted norms and you decide not to operate within that system’s parameters, whether you are trying to be rebellious or not, your actions can be considered a rebellion. It is uneducated to act as if assimilating and mimicking white Americans has not been a way for black Americans to put themselves in places of real or assumed power. Being accidentally political, or purposefully, has nothing to do with the laws and meaning of anything spiritual. Politics is all about man’s expectations, desires, and methods of control, which very often do not, in anyway, mesh with what can easily be seen as natural and in the proper order of things.

    • mspoppylove

      and there it is!

  • another view

    What about those of us who had to go natural because relaxers messed up our hair? Or us natural girls that flat iron our hair or wear weaves anyway? There’s no specific answer to why Black women go natural. It’s not always about accepting your natural hair, sometimes you’re forced to deal with it whether you want to or not.

  • Smacks_hoes

    A political statement? Really? It’s just hair people!!! It’s completely ridculous how seriously people are taking this “natural hair movement”. If your more comfortable with your hair straight, perm it. If you love you natural curls/Afro, stay natural. Stop making this such a huge deal!! The most beautiful thing about black hair is it’s versatility. Wear your hair how your most comfortable Weather it be extensions, a short fro, or kinky twist. Most importantky rock it with confidence. Your beautiful no matter how your hair looks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zzdaddy0 Stephen Kwasi Sutton

    If the natural hair of black women is a political statement then of course unnatural hair makes a statement as well. The sad part is that we base what we do (political statement or no) based on how other view us. My daughter has gone natural and is not trying to make a statement as she is comfortable in her own skin. I would suggest that you should stop looking to see how others are affected by the decisions you make for yourself and try to love yourself just that much more. There is no “political statement made in loving and being your self.

  • judiko

    It is very complicated. I am totally okay with having my natural hair being a political and social statement. I am identifying with being the “other” and it takes some strength to do that in the face of pressure to conform. That being said, it’s also easier, cheaper and takes less time. I do believe that the more Black women go natural, the easier it will be for others who are considering it. And for those who maintain the straight, I ain’t mad at ya. Your choice…

    • judiko

      a bit more… what’s wrong with being political? I guess since I’m old enough to remember why we had to have a song called, ‘Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud, I embrace the natural texture. It wasn’t just a pop song and the afro wasn’t just a hairstyle. There was a time when any trace of African heritage was to be hidden and erased. The Black Power movement changed that. But now the pendulum has swung back and Black women are going through all kinds of changes trying to deny the truth.
      On the other hand, I do dye my gray hair around my temples, so I guess I’m in denial about getting older. We are complicated beings, aren’t we?

      • empress123

        AMEN best comment in here!

  • Natural&Proud

    Due to my personal experience wearing natural hair, this subject really angers me. I wear my hair natural because my hair can’t handle chemicals. The entire time I have been natural, I have mainly worn my hair in a twist out style and would pin up the back in a bun. My co-workers still took offense to me wearing my hair natural. In fact, I had one coworker tell me that several employees had approached management about the fact that they felt that the way I wore my hair was unprofessional and that management needed to reprimand me about it. I could not believe my black female co-workers would show animosity towards me because of my natural hair especially since I never wore an afro or anything that could be considered unprofessional or militant.

    • judiko

      HATERS!!!! They are totally out of bounds. HR should reprimand them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/APeachJ Ashley Jones

    I’ve been natural for a little over a year, wearing my hair in mostly braids. Recently I decided to wear my hair out and got many compliments, mostly from whites while my fellow AA co-workers, friends, and family tried to convince me to either get it permed or straightened! My decision to go natural wasn’t for political reasons but for personal ones! I am on a journey of self discovery and I’m liking what I find. FYI: I’ve found that is much easier to maintain my hair in it’s natural state than when it was permed. No political under tones involved, just me in a new phase of life!

  • Miss_Shanii_Natural_04

    Very well put….I love my Natural Hair….

  • B

    Going natural is not a political statement but a personal statement. I went natural not because there was something I wanted to prove to the masses but because being a broke college student, I could not afford biweekly trips to the salon to get my hair lyed, dried and layed to the side. However I have grown used to my natural hair texture and regardless of all the straight (naturally or not) haired women in my surroundings, I would never go back.

  • Maggie

    Black women can say all they want that they are not being political by wearing natural hair, but increasing numbers do make a statement whether they feel part of that message of not. Black women wearing natural hair for their own style can live in their own personal world but they must understand that they live in a larger one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristen.shannon.5 Kristen Shannon

    Being a black woman is in and of itself a political statement, whether we acknowledge it or not. However, not all black women go natural for the same reason, I think it is their initial intent that determines the political nature of it. I have been natural for about 1 year now, but I still like to flat iron/straighten my hair from time to time. I chose this lifestyle because I care about my hair being healthy. The irony of this issue is that most of the prejudice towards people of color with natural hair is the fact that the majority of it comes from our OWN.

  • msnaimah1985

    I have begun the natural transition, because after 11 years of perms they have begun to break my hair tremendously. My intent was never to be political or revolutionary but if I can be revolutionary while maintaining healthy hair……count me in! anything geared towards the positive self-estem of Africans/Blacks in America im 100% down with, enough people beat us up on a daily basis, let’s love our selves, hug ourselves and embrace ourselves.

    • Cat

      So true…..ive been natural since 07 n i love it….i love seeing women embracing their own hair n showing it off wit its versitility

      • msnaimah1985

        as I was reading your comment my non-African co-worker came up to me and said “I get so fascinated everyday to come in and see your hair becasue its always different and always creative.” That’s something that cannot be achieved with straight non coarse European hair. Its reasons Euros should love their hair and its reasons Africans should love theirs too!

  • http://twitter.com/NewNaturalSista High GrAdE KarMa

    And also how can we spread the movement to the women who arow inco/ believe it or not but this movement seems to only take the concerns of women who are socially conscious and majority of those dont come from low income??

    • jsajea28

      I was just saying this to my bf the other day, about black women with natural hair, they are a certain wa y. they are usually intelligent and well rounded.

  • http://twitter.com/NewNaturalSista High GrAdE KarMa

    I believe that now black people dont see it as a political movement but I do!. I remember in 2008 is when the natural hair boom started bc during that time a lot of things socially and political was happening in black america. First black president was elected, one of the biggest social media outlets was being so concerned about black americans that they made two specials on us (blacks in america and the debate on why is 70% of black woman are single?) and who cannot forget chris rocks good hair came out that year or the following year?? those were the things that made black women rebel against eurocentric….in my opinion bc thats when i started to see big burst of natural hair women.

  • http://twitter.com/NewNaturalSista High GrAdE KarMa

    Love the way this website push the movement! Imma give this movement a year and it will explode into mainstream. You do not only see black women pushing towards kinks but black men now are starting in large portions to grow their hair into locs! Kudos.

  • Fashion lover

    I wear my hair natural because I like it that way and it grows better, the end

    • Monique

      I wish I could give you a high five right now. I’m currently in a debate with some one about this and I made this same argument. My choosing to go natural was simply because my hair was not healthy and did not grow well when it was relaxed. Nothing more. Nothing less. Stop trying to make my choice to go natural into something that it is not.

      • empress123

        WTH who said it was a political statement for everyone? lol Some of you need to get over yourselves. For me it was a little of everything so agan BRAVO to the author and madamenoire writing for those of use who are natural for more than just style…

    • Mrsadkiah

      Thank you. For some it’s a political statement, for some it’s not. THE END.

  • Trisha_B

    I’m so over this debate lol. I’m a black woman who wears her hair relaxed & when i get lazy/cheap & don’t feel like relaxing it again i wear extension braids. I’m not denying my blackness by making my hair straight. & wearing your natural hair doesn’t mean your more black than I am. I don’t have self-hate issues, i don’t wish to be white, & I’m not scared of what the white public think of my hair. Now, i feel more scared of what the black public thinks about my hair b/c they wanna be the hair police all the time lol. I have no problems wearing my kinky hair, but I prefer my hair relaxed. I’m an individual, & as an individual i have the right to wear my hair how i want it & not by what people feel my hair should be like

    • msnaimah1985

      Hmmm….I don’t think youre being very honest with yourself. Although I am transitining to natural state of hair, because perms have broken myhair like crazy, i must be truhful when I say I am more self concious without my flowing hair dangling in my face. women wear makeup, long hair and earrings to enhance our looks. I in no way think you are less African/Black (because nobody is actually the color black!) or less down for the cause but I do think you are exagerating when you say you feel 100% completely the same rocking short kinky hair as you do 16 inch weave.

      • Trisha_B

        Just b/c your self conscious why do i have to be? O_o Just b/c your not comfortable wearing your natural hair doesn’t mean i will be uncomfortable. I personally like my hair short, in a bob slightly below my ears. So that whole long hair thing doesn’t apply to me lol. & I’ve never rocked a long straight weave. I only wear my hair in the braids during the summer & sometimes winter. Of course after every new hair style, one is going to feel a little self conscious, i did after my 1st hair cut but you grow to love it & feel confident

    • tiredofthebs

      The sentiments of your comment is exactly why our community is in it’s current state. We don’t focus on the facts, but our personal feelings about a particular topic.
      The author did not say that you hate yourself, or are less Black for wearing your hair straight, so I am oblivious as to how you interpreted this as her opinion.
      You stated “I’m not denying my blackness by making my hair straight. & wearing your natural hair doesn’t mean your more black than I am. I don’t have self-hate issues, i don’t wish to be white, & I’m not scared of what the white public think of my hair. Now, i feel more scared of what the black public thinks about my hair b/c they wanna be the hair police all the time lol. u “feel more scared of what the black public thinks about my hair b/c they wanna the hair police all the time lol”
      What’s understood needs no explaining, if you are happy with your choice, why defend it, when no one is attacking it?

      • Trisha_B

        I never said the author brought that up. Those are things i have heard natural hair wears say on various blogs & in person about black people who relax their hair. The same women who rock their natural hair & want to make this movement or make this political statement are the ones who down black women who decide to relax their hair. I wasn’t defending myself. I was just simply saying what I felt in response to many things i’ve heard from natural hair wears whose making a “political statement”

        • Princesssookeh

          then by all means, call THEM out when they say it. Doing it here, where you admit no offense was committed, just adds to the multitude of needlessly negative comments that people who want opinions on the article away from all of that have to wade though.

      • empress123

        EXACTLY what is all the belligerent and negative statements for? Some of these women seem to strive off of unnecesary anger. I read the article a few times and am still trying to find where it is offensive to women who are NOT natural or are just for style/fad…who is downing black women for wearing straight hair. If anything there is a major condescending tone for those who are natural for more than style. It’s getting annoying!

    • Jordyn

      Trisha_B. I agree with u. It’s only a problem if a black women does it. I wear my hair natural because I WANT TO and because I CAN. <<<How about that ^.^

  • Thisis me

    you can have healthy hair whether it’s relaxed or natural if a woman wants it natural then so be it if she wants it relaxed that’s fine too it’s JUST a hairstyle. women of all different races put stuff in their hair to wear it a different way but when a black woman does it she’s trying to fit in and be “european”?? there are so many naturals that need to stop trying to spread that lie because it is not true. ask 2 black women why they get perms or are natural and you will get 2 diff. answers

    • EarthIsASac

      it both ways-it just being a hairstyle but on the other end, being stigmatized for being kinky is still alive and there are permed/weaved women that are afraid or hate their natural hair texture

      • Thisis me

        there are women being stigmatized for their relaxed hair and natural hair it all needs to stop but women who get relaxers shouldn’t be put chalked up to hating themselves or trying to fit in. it’s simply not true.

      • pfeiffer87

        This is so true, I had a girlfriend who went natural, all her sisters and her Mother wear weaves and as soon as she went natural her mother and sisters were embarassed of her and made derogatory comments about her hair and made her feel like less of a woman.

  • lalatarea

    its only a political statement if those individual women make it one. so if a white woman gets a perm to curl her hair does that mean she is denying her “whiteness”? People try to read way too much into nothing.

    • tiredofthebs

      I understand your point, but lets be realistic. If you are Black (in my opinion) it would be impossible for you to not understand that Black women are held to a different standard.
      You already know that a non-Black women can do exactly what a Black women does, and be perceived different. They could dye, cut, perm, relax, and braid their hair, and it would NEVER be the same as a Black women doing it. With all the racism, some ppl forget that most women regardless of race manipulate their hair with products, and tools to achieve a particular style.
      My point is that some of us try to be so politically correct, that we can’t even admit that hair is a major issue in the Black community. Let’s be real.

    • empress123

      Please stop simplifying things like this. I mean really. White women have room to do alot with their hair as do we but trust me you aren’t seeing them walking around with afros, braids, senegalese twits, dreadlocks in the numbers that Black women in America have been straightening their hair. Maybe some of you aren’t reading into these things enough….there is a reason little black girls pick the white dollies over the black ones. WAKE UP. We are getting there but we are not there yet and acting like some of our issues don’t exist is not going to help our next generation better themselves.

      • Ms.Chocolate

        They pick the white doll because they have not been tought better. My 11yr old as a little girl NEVER choose a white doll over a chocolate brown doll.

        • Lisa

          Even though the doll reference is from an old
          experiment, it still happens. Why does a black child have to be taught to appreciate her
          culture? Is it because when children aren’t taught to love themselves they
          will love the “image of beauty” that’s portrayed to them? If
          so, do you think that that image includes a lot of little chocolate girls with
          kinky/curly hair?

    • Royaltee

      I agree!!! Thank you! Black women are not the only women who alter their appearances. White women tan and get perms, are they denying their whiteness? what about the white Jews with curly hair that straighten it with a flat iron are they denying their heritage? please people it’s just hair nothing more nothing less. At the end of the day are you really making a political statement because you don’t straighten your hair??? really this is your idea of a movement? I regard myself as beautiful regardless if my hair is relaxed, weaved, braided, or natural I am beautiful black and intelligent and my hair doesn’t define that but my actions do!

      • http://www.facebook.com/Princess.Chasadie Chasadie Alexis

        White women don’t need to assume their whiteness at all, because it is the norm, the status quo.

        They already see their skin color represented in the ‘most desired’ category. They are the majority, so any alteration to their appearances is seen as fun, cosmetic or temporary. (ex: Colored hair extensions, hair dye, flat ironing.)
        They straighten their hair, and wear weaves, contacts etc. to reach the elusive blonde haired, blue eyed thin ideal, that is out of most of their reach without some sort of aid.

    • Mrsadkiah

      Yes. A lot of you all are so annoying. Don’t tell me “what I haven’t realized yet” or what I’m trying to deny. MY hair isn’t a political statement. Period. I never even knew that it was a big deal until I decided to go natural (BTW b/c I’m a broke college student who was tired of unhealthy hair) and read blogs and watched YT videos to educate myself about my hair. I didn’t even know that it was growing in popularity until I went natural and saw all the “news” and what not about it. If you want to get all “I’m Black and I’m proud” and talk about how the fact that you’re stepping out of the norm alone is a statement then that’s perfectly, 100% fine…FOR YOU. Why do Black people always have to make something more that what it is and claim anyone “simplifying” it is simply in denial? Chill on me (and others like me) and MY hair and MY feelings about it. You and the rest of the people making a political statement with your hair can do what you do without trying to drag the rest of us into “the movement” with you and attempt to force us to believe that “deep down” we’re doing something that we’re not.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Princess.Chasadie Chasadie Alexis

        Not to be rude, but I don’t think you’re understanding the point of the article.

        I think the author gets the fact that an individual’s reason for going natural may or may not be political, but the fact that you ARE natural is a political statement in and of itself, whether you intended it to be so or not because you are defying the ‘standard of beauty’ and not letting it affect/control your being.

        Whether or not you’re ignoring the beauty status quo may or may not be a conscious or political decision to you, but it sends across a message to other people whether you like it or not, which is a statement.

        Hope I explained myself properly… And again, I didn’t mean to nitpick, just wanted to clarify things. :)

        • Mrsadkiah

          Oh I completely got the point of the article, and I don’t agree with her opinion or those who share it. Simply wearing my hair natural isn’t a political statement “in and of it self” and people like to claim. It is one if *I* make it one. Period. Your comment wasn’t rude at all.

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