29 June 2017

The Not So Obvious Natural Hair Hierarchy

The natural hair struggle is real; more so when your tresses don't fit the mould of the new standard of "good hair" that has been set within the naturalista community. Although this hierarchy is rarely spoken of, the preference for a certain texture exists nonetheless. This means that if you, like myself, possess a less appealing set of curls (or lack thereof), you may find the transition to embracing your natural hair challenging. After all, what's the point of trying to become part of a movement if you risk being excluded for having nappy hair?
 
I remember being called "Fluffy" at some point in my life. The nickname was unsolicited on my part, especially because, to my knowledge, nothing about me resembled a Maltese. I was termed that because the texture of my hair was exactly that, fluffy (and struggling to grow, and patchy, and, and and…). In no way was it meant to be a compliment, either. This made me feel incredibly insecure with the untreated state of my natural hair; something I still struggle with to date.
 
I became even more frustrated when I started being criticised for embracing weaves and wigs. Like, can't a girl just live?! It seemed like no matter what I did to my hair, I'd get policed for it.
 
It's disheartening to think that a movement whose foundation was to fundamentally reject the imposition of Western culture on how women of colour should wear their hair, has itself become a tool that embraces the same BS it was fighting against.
 
We should not be judged or demeaned for how our hair looks. We don't all have loose, curly hair and there's nothing unfortunate about that.
 
So, here's my challenge to women with the 4c type "bad hair" and the like: Don't wait for any movement to teach you about self-love (the operative word being 'self'), or how to empower yourself. Let's celebrate our beauty, in all its diversity.
 
Also remember that as much as you decide to wear your hair however you want, allow others the freedom to do the same.

Paballo Molahlehi