Tired Of Laying Your Edges? You’re Not Alone.

August 15, 2018  |  

Portrait of a Young Woman Brushing Her Hair

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The natural hair movement has worked diligently to shatter the pervasive European standards of beauty that have led to black women literally harming themselves to get straight hair, but it has also set new standards through a lack of representation.

There is a semi-unspoken expectation that women will “lay their edges” flat in an effort to meet the criteria for being considered neat and polished. As a result of this many women are criticized when they opt not to go out of their way to meet the #hairgoals praised on social media that don’t include the kinks that grow out of their scalps.

The assumption that if one’s edges are not slicked down then their hair is not actually “done” is a popular one.  

Some women are actually openly criticized in the workplace for refusing to conform to what’s wildly considered to be the only acceptable natural hair style. Brooklyn resident Charlene Darko recalls being told her hair was too “wild” for work. “It was a co-worker, she was African-American and she was like ‘you need to do something with them edges they’re wild’.”

She went on to explain that mainstream culture adopting the baby hair aesthetic isn’t helping to normalize a variety of hair types. “When you have 4C hair in a puff people expect your edges to be slicked and it doesn’t help that the dominant culture is slicking their edges and talking about baby hair which has always been something that has been part of the African-American experience.” She says that “Now that people don’t necessarily need to slick their edges do there’s an added expectation.”

What the coworker who offered her unsolicited opinion didn’t know was that Darko had tried to achieve the “laid” look previously and was unable to because of the thickness of her hair texture. Not surprisingly being insulted in her office didn’t help. “I tried. I tried gels..all these fucking things. It looks good for two minutes and then I gotta constantly brush it down. I’m just like you know this is how the shit grows out of my head I’m not beat.”

In a blog post titled “I’m Leaving My Edges Be in 2018″ writer Casie Dionne echoed Darko’s sentiments. She was frank about the struggle with her edges not being worth the energy writing “I am tired of fighting with my edges to get them to stay in place.  And I am no longer going to let social pressure force me to continue fighting this losing battle.”

One New York City publicist refuses to let others opinions force her to waste her valuable time adapting to their expectations. Deja M. Cromartie tells Madame Noire “after trial and error I just learned to embrace what works best for my texture and that’s just not me having baby hairs and I’m okay with that.” She also resists the urge to compare herself to influencers with different hair types than her own continuing “I’ve learned throughout my natural hair journey to get caught in comparison and thinking that because I see this naturalista wearing her baby hair that it has to be the same for me I’ve learned to embrace the nuances of my hair type.

Laying down edges is an easy aesthetic choice for some natural women but for others it is a difficult, and time consuming task that they are simply not interested in and that needs to be okay on the street, in the media and in the workplace. 

What do you think should we be normalizing different kinds of edges? Sound off in the comments!

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