It seems as though more and more women are going natural and posting their journey through pictures online. That’s cool and all, but at the same time, many are into this natural hair movement because it is another way to validate their self worth. They are only in it for the likes. Now do not get me wrong, the reason in which women go natural is unique to their experiences. I just feel like women are more concerned with how many likes they can obtain than liberating themselves from Western beauty standards. Like really? You only have a half of a centimeter of hair and you are ready to post tutorial videos on the Tube. Please have a seat, drink water and let your hair grow to an inch at least (LOL).
All jokes aside, social media glorifies women with long hair and a looser curl pattern. What does that say for women like me? Women whose hair is deemed undesirable because it is not as defined, it shrinks up to nearly nothing, and often times looks dry (even though it is properly moisturizer). Am I not supposed to love my hair? Am I not supposed to embrace it?
Curlbox, one of the leaders in promoting product junkie-ism (no shade), recently decided to create an Insta-Girl award acknowledging women on Instagram with beautiful natural hair. I watched the video of the nominees and was slightly irritated that all the women had the same kind of hair. In my best Kanye impression, y’all are great and all but Lupita and women like her be killing it. I am not trying to diminish any of the nominees hair textures nor am I trying to classify their hair for them. This is simply to say that I do not think that kinky textured hair is represented in the nominees. They all had long hair with a looser curl pattern to me. Not to mention they are all “lighter in complexion.” You can view the video of Curlbox Insta-Girl below.
The disparities between natural hair textures are synonymous with skin complexion. Women with darker complexions are not as celebrated within the natural hair community. Dark women who are celebrated often have a looser curl pattern or women with kinkier hair, who are celebrated, are lighter in complexion. Often it is one or the other but rarely is it both.
Curlbox is a well-known organization in the natural hair community. Their service is in high demand across all hair textures. It would be nice to see all women and hair textures equally represented in their media and awards. The noticeable division within the natural hair community, where some women are praised while others are shunned, is terrible. It perpetuates the stereotypes that black women need a relaxer, weave, or their hair to be long for them to be beautiful.
Although the focus of this piece was on women, Black men are also affected by oppression of kinky hair. I have a male cousin who stopped getting hair cuts a few years back. His hair was in this very awkward state and he refused to comb it. He would get questioned by everyone about what he was doing with his hair. Was he getting dreads? Was he going to cut it? Was he trying to take it back to the early 2000s and get his Iverson cornrows on? Every time that he was asked these questions you could see that he was annoyed. My younger brothers are also experimenting with their natural hair. They both have longer hair on the top of their head (I do not know the name of the particular style). Needless to say, someone is always telling them that they need to cut that “shit” off their head. I wonder if the responses would be the same if my cousin and brothers hair textures were different.
I can only imagine what younger girls are dealing with when almost all the pictures posted on natural hair sites are recycled pictures of the same women, and the same type of hair. Family members and their peers may be telling them that they do not have “good hair”. It is hard enough that they have to stop using chemical to make their hair easier to manage; now women have to deal with the notion of being the wrong kind of natural. As if there is something wrong with them because their hair is very tightly curled. Natural hair should not be viewed as a handicap. Hair holds such value in Black society, that it is disheartening to know that Afrocentric hair is considered distasteful.
While women with “Tracee Ellis” hair will continue to be praised on social sites let’s not forget our kinkier textured women. We are all in it for the likes or to be celebrated.