What crazy natural hair stereotypes have you heard?
Like with every up-and-coming trend, there is a lot of curiosity and with curiosity comes questions. However, instead of pulling a natural aside and questioning her (or him), some people have chosen to come to their own conclusions and simply make stuff up. What's even worse, is that people have taken that to be the truth – no matter how outlandish and downright ridiculous it sounds.
For a while now, there has been a lot of natural hair stereotypes circling the internet and by word of mouth. But just in case you haven’t heard, here is a list of just a few of these nonsense tales!
Naturals are hair obsessed
I must admit that, to the outside world, it may seem like this is true. Constantly perusing blogs and websites for new info and stalking the hair of others can come across as obsessive, and going above and beyond to retain every last inch may again cross the line. However, I think it is unfair to group every natural into the same category. While I may not knock anyone for all-day hair sessions and all-year-round protective styles, I can’t remember the last time I DC’d and I’ve only recently fought and won my battle with hand-in-hair syndrome and put in a protective style. Since I am one curly who does not fit this generalization, then these rumor spreaders are simply going to have to admit that there are exceptions to their stereotypes.
For some, it also takes a lot of TLC to get and maintain healthy hair, so if it requires going above and beyond, then DO YOU! It always amazes me when women with unhealthy hair bash the routines of women with gorgeous healthy tresses.
All naturals are vegetarian
I guess the confusion here arose with the word natural itself. People simply assumed that if our hair went natural, so too would our diet and that we would ditch the chemical-laden, unhealthy meat and make a run to the nearest farmers market. We are all for embracing a healthier way of life, but we need baby steps. Today the creamy crack, tomorrow the meat. While I may not follow the vegetarian lifestyle, I do follow a very strict diet of meat-a-tarianism.
Naturals hate women with relaxers
Again, I can somewhat understand how this natural hair stereotype came about. You see, lurking in the corner of hair forums and out there on the streets, there are women who have made it their life’s mission to convert the world to natural and police those who already are.
You already know how annoyed you get when the curly coalition feels the need to call you out for wanting more defined twist outs and wash and gos, or derail threads that dare to speak of straightening ones hair. So imagine how relaxed women feel when the women in their lives somehow always manage to slip it into a convo that they think every women who isn’t natural is a self loather and give the deep racial, political and social reasons why women relax. While some women go hard on the issue, I’m sure many of you will agree that the only head of hair you care about is the one attached to your shoulders.
There also seems to be an unspoken bond between naturals. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing a random natural on the street and giving her the nod and smile that says, “We're in this together!” But just because I stop another natural on the street and a simple question about how she got her hair like that turns into an hour-long talk about products, doesn't mean I don’t like women who choose to relax. We can still talk products and length retention, or just grab some lunch and talk about other girly stuff. Natural hair isn't the only thing that interests me!
Naturals are all eco-friendly
Yes the world is dying right in front of our eyes and our kids are probably going to have to wear gas masks everywhere and won’t be able to see too far in front of them because of the industrial smoke, but, again, just because we put the relaxer down does not mean it had this deep, profound impact on the rest of our lives causing this huge change to do everything naturally. I still ride the gas guzzling bus, leave my electronics on all night and am sad to say that in my entire house there is not a single energy efficient light bulb. But at least I recycle, right?
Naturals don't wear deodorant or wash their hair
Again, this is a natural hair stereotype that probably belongs to other types of people who decide to go "natural." While our shampoo, deodorant and other cleansing products may not be all-natural, that doesn't mean we’ll turn our back on them and embrace our funk. Those people are also forgetting that, for our more "aware" curlies, there are indeed natural alternatives. While I can't vouch for the shampoos and the deodorants I have never tried, I can vouch for the fact that natural hair does not equal bad hygiene and a complete need to go from one extreme to another.
Naturals go natural for attention
Apparently we are just going through a phase like long braids and colored highlights, curlies. We are simply going natural because EVERYONE AND THEIR MAMA is doing it, and when all is said and done, we will dish our Kinky Curly and Oyin and race to the salon to have our hair fried, dyed and slicked to the side like we used to.
While I may not know the future, what I do know is that growing our hair the way it comes out of our scalp can never be a phase, but rather, the norm. I think we often forget that we weren’t born with a tub of relaxer, and too many back-to-back relaxers have us confused and thinking that our hair actually grows out of our scalp straight. Heads up: it doesn't!
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I guess the point of this entire article was to shout it from the rooftops that not every natural is a super health conscious, eclectic looking, huge afro-wearing, scarf adorning, African-print wearing, overly judgmental woman. Believe it or not.
What other crazy natural hair stereotypes have you heard?