Division in the Natural Hair Community - The Curl Pattern Divide | Natural Haircare News
Dianne Austin
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Division in the Natural Hair Community - The Curl Pattern Divide

If only the phrase “good hair” could be permanently banned from the English language, perhaps the division among black people could finally end. Who would have thought a mindset from the days of slavery could still affect the black community decades later?

Kinky Curly vs. Curly Wavy

It brings to mind that musical number from Spike Lee’s film School Daze, where light-skinned, long-haired women danced-competed against their brown-skinned, short-haired sisters. Although the film was a piece of fiction, that scene was rooted in fact. Slavery in the United States is legally over for African Americans, but vestiges of the light vs. dark competition that slave masters perpetrated are still felt today. According to Dr. Cynthia Robinson, black women still feel pressure to conform to a certain look, i.e. long, straight hair, and this pressure comes from family, friends and often, the men in their lives.

The Natural Hair Community on the Internet

The ‘net has been a boon for natural women. It’s easy to find a lot of information on hair care, transitioning and support. However, the community still engages in the good vs. bad hair debate.

When Andre Walker “defined” hair types in his book Andre Talks Hair!, the way black women think about hair texture changed forever, and not all for the good. For most African Americans, hair falls into one of two categories, according to Walker: type 3 and type 4. Type 3 can be ringlets of various sizes, while type 4 is generally a tighter curl or coil. When people throw around the term “good hair,” it’s usually type 3 they’re referring to.

Acceptance of all textures is the only way the black community will be able to move past this painful history and truly begin to embrace all hair, whether it’s wavy, curly, kinky curly or somewhere in between. Instead of defining hair as good, bad, 3 or 4, try to think of it in terms of:

  • Thick
  • Soft
  • Cottony
  • Fluffy
  • Fine
  • Big
  • Beautiful

When it comes to curls, each head of hair is unique, which is always a good thing.

Author: Dianne Shaddock

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural. 

2 Responses to Division in the Natural Hair Community – The Curl Pattern Divide

  1. Ida Burgess says:

    “Natural Hair” as concept isn’t meant to be inclusive. The “movement”, if you want to call it that, was and is centered around black women with KINKY hair. If women with curly or wavy hair benefit from the tips and techniques that’s great but they were never the targeted demographic. I wish we would could quit being so PC. When these curly/wavy girls do their tutorials and product reviews the fact that it works on their curl pattern should be taken into consideration. We are divided and making black women who notice differences and advantages feel guilty is really sick.

    • Dianne says:

      Thanks for your comment Ida.

      We agree that there seems to be the potential for divisiveness around hair typing. I don’t have an issue with curly/wavy hair black women being part of the natural haircare discussion. Black women come in all shades, and we definitely have different hair textures. We just don’t know it half of the time because we were taught to straighten our hair to get our kinky, curly, wavy hair under control.

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