The New Age Hair Revolution
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Women of color have long been plagued by the societal images of beauty—whether it evolves around their weight, styles of dressing, or more importantly, their hair.
Our hair is a defining staple within our culture, one that has been policed by others—whether within the African-American culture or outside of it—throughout our impressionable developmental years until now in adulthood, during this new natural hair revolution.
As impressionable youngsters, the allure of silky, soft, manageable hair was reinforced on a societal level—conformity at its best. We “looked” like everyone else. Our hair was soft and straight like the other races, and that would become the accepted norm, for that “look” within itself was now the expected norm! For anything outside of the box was socially inappropriate.
Many harsh comments would be: Are you a slave? How could you ever expect to be seen as beautiful in your natural hair state? –Curly? Kinky? – Girl, your hair is nappy! How dare you not have a perm? …This type of policing kept a great deal of women afraid for personal and professional reasons to ever consider the notion of being natural. Some never waivered from their natural hair convictions, but for many, the fear was real.
Fast forward to the sentiments of today. Today’s views on body images, on individuality, and more specifically, the benefits of being natural (whether the drive behind such a decision was motivated for health reasons or to simply embrace one’s hair as it was intended to be in the first place), a new sort of policing has seemingly taken center stage within the realm of hair care and being natural verses having processed/permed hair.
The policing occurred on various levels, within the natural hair community, and between naturals and processed hair women. For some processed hair women, demeaning and mocking the natural hair journey of their natural hair counterparts (who fully embrace their hair in its natural glory—curls, kinks, coils and all), because the sentiment is that there is no beauty in natural hair. While on the natural hair spectrum, some naturals have passionately argued that their processed hair counterparts are uneducated about the dangers of using chemicals in their hair, and are trapped in a warped world surrounded by unhealthy hair ideals.
Such rigid viewpoints are extreme ideals on both ends of the spectrum, and are not shared by all within both of these communities, and for the most part, personal hair preference and ideals are respected and appreciated amongst both hair communities–this mutual understanding is showcased within and outwardly. Though there is an understanding for the opposing standpoint, there still remains the question of whether or not natural hair can be deemed as beautiful.
Whether showcased on natural hair websites, within marketing strategies, or through mainstream social media images, natural hair is now associated with empowerment and embracing beauty from within. This evolutionary process associated with natural hair being deemed as beautiful is a wonderful and life-altering experience. Women, young and old can now truly love themselves as they learn all about their varying hair textures, because as they embark on their natural hair journey with open arms, societal shifts now highlight and embrace the journey as well.
Guest Post by T.J. Reynolds
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|“Changing 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.|
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