The “Black Hair” Issue

Model Jessi M’Bengue

Essence Magazine recently posted an article that showcased the opinions of several Black American men who gave their preferences on women and hair.

While some only cared that a woman looks nice, most had a lot of thoughts on what they prefer. Many blatantly detested the thought of extensions on “their” woman.

Some want a woman to have it straight, or long, or specifically “not nappy” and would even leave a girlfriend if they don’t like her new hairstyle. I saw a lot of comments made by men and women about the issue, my favorite being from this woman:

“I wonder if there is a website where white women are hating on each other for tanning? Are you less white if you tan, or are you trying to be black?? Would a white man not date a white woman because she has a tan?”

Another woman wrote:

“Some [Black] women are concerned about other races knowing our secret. How silly. When you consider other races wear weaves, get botox, breast implants, hip implants, lipo suction, and their toes cosmetically changed, who cares? Did I leave off anything?”

The Myth

Edith‘s comment reminded of an article from BrownSista that mentioned the high usage of extensions/wigs by white women throughout history (for fullness, length, or whatever reason). Yet there’s seems to be no stigma attached to white women.

Why exactly are extensions associated with laziness, being unkempt or “blackness”? If a woman cannot or will not take care of her own hair an addition of hair usually won’t be any better taken care of.

Whether the hair is natural, extended, long or short, the care process requires work and can be similarly as expensive to maintain.

Defined limits

Apparently even white women can’t get a break as far as men are concerned. A former co-worker of mine could easily blend into a runway with her height, pretty face and super slim physique. She varies her hairstyles with her natural bouncy curls or sometimes prefers to straighten it.

She seems to really enjoy the freedom that some women crave. While on a date with her hair straightened she revealed that her hair is naturally curly. Not impressed, her date replied, “well don’t you think that’s false advertising?”

How are these limitations effecting younger girls and their opinions of their own beauty? As if there aren’t enough factors that create complexes in young women concerning how they look! And why the hell are women still letting men dictate their style guidelines?

This is where a 9-year-old star’s wisdom chimes in. During a radio interview with Willow Smith on Ryan Seacrest, after the leak of her hit single, “Whip My Hair”, the child star dropped some simple yet easily forgotten wisdom.

“You have to be yourself and you can’t let anybody tell you that that’s wrong…”

I like being able to do whatever the hell I want with my look. I don’t dress the same day-to-day and I rock my hair differently based on my mood, the season, or the soup of the day!

If someone doesn’t like you the way that YOU like you – they don’t even need to be given the opportunity to be in your presence.