Just recently, I had a rather interesting conversation with another natural haired woman. And according to her: “If your hair ain’t natural, you’re full of self-hate.” Mind you, this woman was also wearing colored contact lenses and acrylic nails.
I’m a natural haired woman, and I have a problem with her statement- mostly because it’s rather judgmental and a flawed attempt to psychologically breakdown every relaxed haired black woman. For many little black girls, getting our first relaxer is an indoctrination. It’s just like going to church: You may not know why you’re doing it- you just do it because Mommy said so. At least that’s how it was for me. I got my first relaxer in kindergarten. And the whole experience was never really something I thought about until I hit my teenage years. I certainly didn’t hate myself- at least not more than the next insecure teenage girl. But I’ll tell you what I did hate- doing my hair. It was a constant conundrum because I wanted to look good (as most budding young women do) but sweat, water, wind (actually all the elements) were my biggest adversaries. And for someone who loves working out, going to the beach, fishing, and generally anything that involves water and warm weather, relaxed hair started to work my last nerve.
And then of course, there was also the spiritual aspect of going natural. Years ago I was in Jamaica- surrounded by tons of beautiful, brown-skinned, natural haired women. And I literally had an epiphany- kinda like being unplugged from The Matrix. I was in the bathroom, looking at my frizzy, salt-water matted hair in the mirror, and I thought: ‘What the heck am I doing to my hair? Why am I trying so hard to look like this?” It was a profound moment for me, and I made the decision to go natural right then and there.
I love my hair now. And for me, natural hair offers wonderful flexibilities and freedoms that I didn’t have with relaxed hair. Personally, I’m pro natural hair and wouldn’t go back to a perm. But that’s my experience and my choice. Every woman is different.
It bothers me when natural haired women make statements like “if your hair ain’t natural, you’re full of self-hate.” Basically, it’s been my observation that there are two types of natural haired women: the “aggressive, judgmental” type and the “live and let live” type. I admit that my decision to go natural did revolve around a newfound self-acceptance and self-love. But I’m not about to make a blanket psychological analysis of every women that relaxes her hair. I’m my own person- and my experiences and decisions don’t apply to every other black woman.
So if you’re a natural haired woman that takes an aggressive, judgmental stance on natural versus relaxed, I would advise you to chill a bit- especially if you boast about “natural” equating to self-love, but then proceed to wear other kinds of fake out. Every woman has the freedom to express her beauty the way she deems fit- whether it’s natural or enhanced. Ladies, oftentimes it’s hard enough just learning to love ourselves. And we should all encourage each other, regardless of what’s on our heads.
What does natural hair mean to you?
Do you think that women who wear perms have issues with self-hate?
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