Although the natural hair movement is receiving widespread attention, it is not being accepted by all. Some have averse feelings and claim it to be unprofessional and unaesthetic. Descriptions like “nappy” are still being referenced, and while some are reclaiming it, others still associate the word with its original negative connotation, which tends to be further reinforced by the nuance of the speakers.
It meant our hair wasn’t up to par with beauty standard and therefore unacceptable. It meant we needed to alter our hair texture to assimilate to the Eurocentric standard and be like everyone else. Well, everyone else is taken so it’s time to be like ourselves and not apologize for the honor.
We are in a culture where everyone feels they have a right to say whatever they want to whomever they please and sometimes (oftentimes) it’s tactless and malevolent.
1. “Why do you want to know?”
When someone asks, “why do you wear your hair like ‘that’?” just smile and ask them “why do you want to know?” Most people don’t realize they’re being rude, and when you challenge the question, they tend to become aware and retreat.
2. "Why do you wear your hair like that?"
Another response is, “First tell me why do you wear your hair like that?” Retort the question and see if they like being questioned about a personal choice that everyone is entitled to. They will probably say they chose their style because it was flattering and befitting and you can offer the same response. Believe me it works.
3. “That’s your opinion and I have mine.”
If you ask me, this is the perfect answer. It’s short, to the point, and causes most to fallback. It may seem rude but it’s the truth. If they did not initiate being rude, we would not be in this predicament.
I don’t think that being irresponsive is the best decision because the person may not get the hint. Sometimes no response is perceived as consent to continue, but in some situations or circles it's appropriate to ignore it…if you can.
5. The stare
A long, non-blinking stare is enough to unnerve a strong-willed person. Most will get the hint that you are not acknowledging their remark and realize they have crossed a line. Even though nothing is being said, there is a sense of beautiful communication.
6. “I wear my hair the way I like and not to be accepted by others.”
That’s the truth, and if your significant other loves your hair then you should mention that as well. We are entitled to do what we want with our bodies and not care what others think!
7. "I like celebrating a unique part of my heritage."
If you want ward off many, this will be the one! Most don’t want to discuss heritage, ancestry, or culture and as a result they will immediately feel bad about not being socially conscious. It’s also a way to enlighten others on what you value, which could then lead to more understanding and acceptance.
8. "My natural hair and that makes me beautiful."
Loving yourself is never the wrong answer.
9. "Sorry you feel that way, but I like it!"
There are many situations that call for this politically correct answer. It lets them know how you feel while also acknowledging their feelings. Hey, it’s the best of both worlds.
10. “Screw you!”
This would not be a real list if this was not on here. Some people can be aggressively nasty and rude and no one has a right to make you feel bad about your body. This may not be the most kind response but I guarantee you will feel so much better after you say it.
Sabrina, founder of seriouslynatural.org and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.