What Is Good Hair? Misconceptions & European Standards (Part 3)

In part 3 of What Is Good Hair?, women of color discuss some misconceptions about curly/kinky hair and whether or not if you straighten your hair, you are conforming to European standards. I have thought about this in depth myself. There have been more than a couple of times I’ve tried to go natural, but it just didn’t seem to be for me. Why?

I have wondered this more than a few times. Is it the fact that I was a teenager in the 80’s? I look at my niece and young women in their teens and 20’s today, and they rock their natural tresses with no problem at all, and it looks fantastic.

But when it comes to me, when I wear my hair natural and look in the mirror, I don’t like what I see. I don’t feel as attractive with natural hair as I do with a short, sassy, relaxed haircut. Am I conforming to European standards? Have I been brainwashed into thinking that European standards is the pinnacle of beauty?

If you’d ask me, I’d say no, but after checking out this 3 part documentary, it got me to wondering. Being in the beauty industry, I’ve also seen women older than myself wear their natural hair after retirement, but not very many in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Is it because wearing natural hair is a hindrance in corporate America? Does it stop black women from advancing in the workplace? Are we afraid of wearing our natural hair because of what others will think?

And last, but not least, what about the men in our lives? I have heard black men over 35 express how they do not like natural hair on black women. I once remember when I told a guy that I was dating I was thinking about going natural. I showed him some pictures of beautiful black women sporting a short, natural hairstyle. His reaction was, “That’s cool, as long as it doesn’t look nappy, I don’t like it when the hair looks nappy.”

And what about the black men that prefer hair down our backs? In my generation there is a large majority of black men that would prefer seeing their women in a weave than a short, natural haircut.

Why? Have our men been brainwashed too? “Nappy,” is how the hair grows out of our head, the way God created it, and yet it’s inadequate? I thought God didn’t make any mistakes. Here we are in the year 2016, and there are still so many stigmas connected to our hair. Who says straight hair is better? What if the tables were turned 400+ years ago, and white people were made to be slaves? Would we be having this same discussion?

I know I posed more questions than answers in this post, but there are so many to ask. Check out part 3 below and tell me what you think.

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