There is a big debate over whether or not hair is ‘just hair’. You may probably realize by now that hair makes up a big part of a person’s identity.
Is it really just hair when black women have donated over a billion dollars to the hair industry, neglecting their health and bills just so that they can look “fly”???
While we would like to think that it’s “just hair”, it’s more than that due to its past. For centuries black women have been taught that our grade of hair is unacceptable and should be masked. Since then, we’ve been introduced to hot combs, relaxers, weaves, and any other vehicle to tame our mane. Sadly, the European standard of beauty is still praised and it’s harder for young black women to return natural because we are subject to external pressure. The notion of “light skin and long hair” is still very prevalent.
People can wear their hair however they want. I’m not a “Natural Nazi”, however it is stereotypical to think that once someone has return natural they have finally come to grips with reality and found some self-love. While that might be so for some people, I don’t think that it’s fair to all those concerned to be fit into that category, especially those who think “it’s just hair.”
People go natural for different reasons. Some do it for health reasons; some for the convenience of not having to spend a fortune on wigs and weaves. Others do it because the health of their hair has been compromised and also because they just want to experience the natural texture of their hair. Likewise, people wear weaves and wigs for different reasons; some for the convenience of not having to comb or style their hair daily, while others because they have some underlying scalp problem. Then there are women who just like to have fun and experiment with their hair. I will agree that there are some natural hair females who think they are better than females with relaxers. I can assure you I’m not one of them. Whatever our reason for being relaxed or natural, the belief that one hair is more dignified over the other is a matter of public opinion.
I’m all for freedom of choice and I’m not anti-relaxer or anti-weaves but people should use their discretion. Why would you want to perm a 3 year old’s hair? Why would you want to continue to apply relaxer to a head of hair so thin that you can see what the person is thinking? Why would you want to continue to glue and sew tracks in your hair and damage your beautiful hair line? I’m not saying that having natural hair will solve these issues but it’s a start.
One day natural hair will be the norm and cease to make headlines and people will embrace it and move on. Given the history of our hair, I don’t believe that natural hair should be downplayed just because it may not tie into your personal experience. Although hair should just be hair, it will never just be hair until a black woman can walk into a boardroom with a massive fro and not be condemned for wearing one.
You don’t need a weave to look good and you don’t need to be natural to feel good. We just need to learn to take care of our hair and teach our children to do the same. Maya Angelo said, “When we know better we should do better.” Let us form a new blueprint for our younger generation. Stop killing the kinks just to embrace society’s concept of beauty and let us accept the hair that God blessed us with.
So what do you think? Do you think that hair is “just hair”?