[Check out Part 1 first]
Natural Hair Elitism.
Let's talk about it.
I'm so glad to be discussing this topic on MY blog. I get a little fired up when I post about it on message boards because I always feel like I'm talking to a brick wall.
I feel how I wear my hair is a beauty decision, but many people who wear their hair natural (like mine) feel it's a lifestyle, not a hairstyle and some even feel it's a spiritual decision. Hey, I'm an educated adult. I realize that their views will never match mine and I say to each his or her own. We can agree to disagree... Right?
For some reason these "My hair=my life" people feel the need to share their views on hair with everyone around them, including me. Now you'd think that I'd dodge the bullet since my hair is natural, but NOOOOOOOOOOO. These people want me to commit to never straightening my hair again...
You may be thinking, "T, you need to just stay off of the elitist hair message boards," you're right, but that's not even the problem. People talk to me about this topic in person. I have friends and associates that are disappointed that I haven't decided to never straighten my hair again i.e have a heat-free scalp. :P Nevermind the people who found out that (gasp) I'd consider getting another perm in a minute, if I felt like it. I'm not married to natural hair.
As you may have read in Part 1, I changed my hair because I enjoy texture, but I also LOVE versatility. I can wear it in tight coils (afro) one day and flat-ironed bone staight the next. I refuse to commit to someone else's lifestyle changes to be labeled "natural."
One of my biggest problems with natural hair elitism is that it's not black pride in one's hair just because, it's black pride in one's hair because they feel like anything else is succombing to white standards of beauty (white standards of beauty=silky, straight hair).
Newsflash: Very few black women who straighten their hair look ANYTHING like white women. (No for real, show me a white woman with weeping willows, pin curls and/or finger waves). AND Madam C.J. Walker created the relaxer so she could better manage her hair, NOT so she could look like white people.
When the "my hair=my life" peeps become an advocate for lifestyle A (all naps all the time) because it's so different from lifestyle B (straight hair), they're essentially saying they're better than EVERYONE who chooses to be a part of lifestyle B. Needing to constantly affirm how much better they are than EVERYONE else is just a HUGE sign of insecurity.
I hate to be the one to break it down, but some white people have pretty hair, some black people have pretty hair, some Latinas have pretty hair and some Asian-American women have pretty hair.
(I have to say some, because, be for real, there's a lot of wackness in the world).
I digress. Point is: If someone else has pretty straight hair, it does not make my nappy hair ugly. (And to be fair some straight hair is hideous and some nappy hair is just as ugly).
Now, you educated folks are reading my blog going, "T, you're completely leaving out the part on how society JUST decided to accept black natural styles as ok in the workplace and it's usually considered unprofessional to wear many natural hair styles" You may also say "T, despite Madam C.J. Walker, many of our grandmothers did want hair like white women and have passed that backwards thinking down through the generations, which is why so many black women relax their hair and these elitist are just trying to counter those negative actions"
Wonderful, awesome points, you educated people bring up. I'd encourage you to read more about that topic here. However, using the tools of oppression (acting superior, we'll call it natural hair supremacy) is the wrong way to fight oppression. You must fight oppression with love.
In order to find beauty in (i.e. love) myself, I don't have to put others down. I don't have to think of other races as the enemy because they think straight hair is pretty. AND I definitely don't have to tear down my own race by hating on sisters who, for whatever reason, choose to perm their hair.
Pardon the vernacular below...
Listen real good... I'm gonna tell y'all like I told my grandma "IT'S JUST HAIR"