As a little girl, there is a moment where you suddenly become “aware” of your appearance, and begin to understand that people are looking at you and you start to wonder how you “appear” in their eyes. The age this realization occurs is different for everyone of course, but trust me, all women can think back and recall that moment. And it was usually centered around our hair. Little did we know, but that was simply the beginning of a lifelong struggle most women endure over our hair and what to do with it!
Now, for black women, the subject of our hair and what it takes to style and treat it has an entire different meaning than it does for other races of women. The reason being: our texture of hair. So when you hear black women talking about their hair, most of the time we’re talking about two categories: 1. Natural hair- this includes Loose natural styles, Locs, Braids, Twists, and 2. Relaxed hair-this of course means those who use chemicals to straighten their hair.
For those of you who don’t know what I mean, for black women or women with a kinky texture of hair, “natural” means just that: the natural state of your hair. “Relaxed” means just that–a chemical put on your hair to straighten the curl and thus making your hair a “straighter” texture.
Now, most of us have subjected our scalps to the dreaded relaxer at some point or another, because, A. there are some cute styles that frankly look better when your hair is relaxed vs, in its natural state, B. going natural was not always as “IN” and popular as it is these days, C.there has not always been a plethora of resources for taking care of our hair in its natural state, D. well, hell, let’s be real- we have all been conditioned to believe that our “kinky” and “nappy” hair is not beautiful and that to be considered attractive meant having long straight hair.
Granted, there are many black women and men who have embraced their natural hair, but trust me when I say, this conditioning that I speak of is real, and has attached itself to not only black women’s perception of ourselves, but it is clearly evident in how some black men view us, as well as the rest of the world.
I spent most of my teenage years wearing relaxers and now, for the last 4 years I have been natural and loving the loc journey that I began 3 years ago. For me, it’s quite liberating. For me, I’ve redefined what beauty is and have discovered an appreciation and love for my hair that I never had before.
But I must say that I am in no way passing judgment on any women who chooses to relax her hair. The wonderful thing about being a grown woman is the fact that you have a right to discover what is Best for You. What is most Comfortable to You and Complimentary for You.
For most women, the issue of our hair is a personal one. Whether you have locs, relaxed hair, long hair or short, wearing a wig or rockin a weave, we all have days where our hair works with us, and other days where we look in the mirror and we’re like, really hair? You’re gonna just do your own thang on me today I see!
Yep, we women and our hair..the struggle is real and just never ends.