Natural = Free-spirited...?

Soooo....I attend Howard University (Bison! :P) and the people I encounter everyday are very business oriented. They're concerned about this internship here or networking there - there's nothing wrong with that, but I do have a problem with people thinking you have to be relaxed to be considered "professional."

I was having a conversation about hair with an old roommate of mine and I asked her about joining me in my transition. She said, "Oh nooooo! I'm going into Public Relations so I have to keep relaxing to stay professional. See, you're going to be a teacher so you can be all free-spirited or whatever." She said something else about looking neat and structured; I started tuning her out at that point.

I was offended for two reasons: 1)Being a teacher makes me less professional than you? So teachers don't have to come to school looking "neat" or "professional" because I can avoid the corporate rules? AHAHAHAHA! and 2) Why does natural hair automatically make someone not "professional"?

I have a lot of problems with assumptions people make about teachers in general because 99.9% of these assumptions are false, misinformed, and overall ignorant, and to top it off, throw a "going natural makes you (insert crazy/inappropriate adjective here)" comment in there! I don't have a problem with being called "Free-spirited", I have a problem with assumptions. Sorry for the rant ladies. What do you guys think?
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Last edited by LaCurlyMariposa; 04-12-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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Soooo....I attend Howard University (Bison! :P) and the people I encounter everyday are very business oriented. They're concerned about this internship here or networking there - there's nothing wrong with that, but I do have a problem with people thinking you have to be relaxed to be considered "professional."

I was having a conversation about hair with an old roommate of mine and I asked her about joining me in my transition. She said, "Oh nooooo! I'm going into Public Relations so I have to keep relaxing to stay professional. See, you're going to be a teacher so you can be all free-spirited or whatever." She something else about looking neat and structured; I started tuning her out at that point.

I was offended for two reasons: 1)Being a teacher makes me less professional than you? So teachers don't have to come to school looking "neat" or "professional" because I can avoid the corporate rules? AHAHAHAHA! and 2) Why does natural hair automatically make someone not "professional"?

I have a lot of problems with assumptions people make about teachers in general because 99.9% of these assumptions are false, misinformed, and overall ignorant, and to top it off, throw a "going natural makes you (insert crazy/inappropriate adjective here)" comment in there! I don't have a problem with being called "Free-spirited", I have a problem with assumptions. Sorry for the rant ladies. What do you guys think?
Originally Posted by LaCurlyMariposa
I'm a web/graphic designer, so my line of work allows for more leniency when it comes to appearance. As far as the corporate world is concerned, it is all about looking polished. You can look polished with a relaxer or natural. You can also look a complete mess relaxed or natural. Most people's conception of natural hair wild & unkempt, or not being able to "control" the hair. It is an ignorant POV, but most people are not very knowledgeable about natural hair.

Alot of stereotypes come with natural hair. I've been told that my decision to go natural fit my personality since I was artistic. What does my being artistic have to do with my hair??? I've also been called neosoul (what?), and have people refer to me as 'sista' more often LoL. It used to annoy me, but now I just don't really care.

Your pursuit to be a teacher doesn't make you less professional. She just couldn't think of anything intelligent to say in that moment. We all have brain farts . I've seen lawyers, doctors, etc. that have looked a complete mess & hair was the least of their problems. The more educated someone is about hair, the more they start to see that the stereotypes are wrong and silly.

Anyway, I wouldn't let what she said bother you.
My mom (who was a teacher) calls most natural hair 'Berkeleyish' and 'artsy'.

there are all kinds of teachers..uptight ones *cough* my mom* *cough* and some cool ones I really liked.

You'll be a total inspiration and great example to many I'm sure.

I've also run into the occasional uptight corncobby natural.

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Tell your silly little friend that I'm a SAE at a PR firm...in PR, it's great to have a little creativity...your clients want to know that you can think outside of the box.
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I think historically for whatever reason curly hair has been associated with being more "free" so to speak. Whether it be in the artsy way, creative way, the sensual way, etc. I think often women with curly hair are taken less seriously..especially if they are cute or attractive. Sort of like blondes are labeled with a bunch of stereotypes that may not fit.

I think it just comes with the territory and a natural woman has to be secure in herself and recognize that's just ignorance on the part of another.

I don't like the idea of a curly or kinky haired woman not being considered professional especially if she's qualified and does her job well. But I suppose the whole free-spirit thing doesn't bother me. I take it as a compliment personally. I do think there are some curly styles that can look unprofessional..but so can some wavy or straight styles.
I think historically for whatever reason curly hair has been associated with being more "free" so to speak. Whether it be in the artsy way, creative way, the sensual way, etc. I think often women with curly hair are taken less seriously..especially if they are cute or attractive. Sort of like blondes are labeled with a bunch of stereotypes that may not fit.

I think it just comes with the territory and a natural woman has to be secure in herself and recognize that's just ignorance on the part of another.

I don't like the idea of a curly or kinky haired woman not being considered professional especially if she's qualified and does her job well. But I suppose the whole free-spirit thing doesn't bother me. I take it as a compliment personally. I do think there are some curly styles that can look unprofessional..but so can some wavy or straight styles.
Originally Posted by Marah Mizrahi
SO TRUE. We can an intern who had "Kimmy K" hair...and everyone used to make fun of her and say that we were at work, not at the club trying to get a man. Like...her hair was OC...if you were trying to show her something and she leaned over your desk or was behind you, her hair was all up in your personal bubble. PULL IT BACK!
BC'ed: 26 Dec 09
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That was a rude comment your old roommate made. But I have learned since cutting my hair several months ago, people are just silly. And when they don't know what to say, instead of shutting up, they just say something that is typically offensive...

I went to a HBCU for Grad school (its okay that you like the Bisons...jk...go RATTLERS!) and there was actually a good number of naturals...at the time I was not one of them. There we naturals whose hair looked a mess, there were girls wearing relaxers whose hair looked a mess, as well as wigs and weaves that were straight atrocious.

But a professional appearance IMO is a total package deal...you can't have on a $300 suit, a hole in your pantyhose, some scuffed up shoes, with a fresh wrap and think you are professional just because your hair is relaxed. I guess when I think back there are plenty of people whose idea of professional is far from being professional (boobs out, skin tight or too short skirt, stomach showing)...

I work with a whole bunch of white men, I wish someone would tell me I ain't professional because of my hair...

Ignore her a relaxer really doesn't get you far in life
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I think historically for whatever reason curly hair has been associated with being more "free" so to speak. Whether it be in the artsy way, creative way, the sensual way, etc. I think often women with curly hair are taken less seriously..especially if they are cute or attractive. Sort of like blondes are labeled with a bunch of stereotypes that may not fit.

I think it just comes with the territory and a natural woman has to be secure in herself and recognize that's just ignorance on the part of another.

I don't like the idea of a curly or kinky haired woman not being considered professional especially if she's qualified and does her job well. But I suppose the whole free-spirit thing doesn't bother me. I take it as a compliment personally. I do think there are some curly styles that can look unprofessional..but so can some wavy or straight styles.
Originally Posted by Marah Mizrahi
It's been 8 months since I've last relaxed (I'm transitioning. Yay!) and I can already tell once I'm fully natural, I'll have stories like "You know what this lady at the grocery store said to me?" and I have to learn to deal with people saying crazy things. Shoot, people say crazy things now! I've never relaxed bone straight, so when my hair gets wet, the ends wave up a little, so people tend to think I'm from the Caribbean (huh?) or that I NEVER relaxed. I usually get, "Why don't you straighten your hair?" and I just laugh and think 'Man, you have no idea!'

To be honest though, I can't wait for the days people have a "legit" comment about my hair. I just want to join the club. Lol!
Last Relaxer: Aug 2010
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It's fine. It's divine. It's all mine


I'm from the SF Bay where I've worked in the Financial District, Berkeley (science industry), and Silicon Valley where they couldn't get a rat's behind about hair (let alone mine). When you have guys coming to work in sandals and socks, what can they say about my hair? If anything, I was "cool".

Over the years, I've seen both natural and relaxed women in every industry from law to education without anyone blinking an eye. If her hair was dyed green, there might be an issue. Is it regional?
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now that that's out the way, I'm shocked she said that. Every single woman I met at Howard ended up transitioning to natural. It's like 95% of the women at Howard are natural! And the 5% who weren't (like me and my sister at the time) end up transitioning after they graduate. Basically, don't listen to that chick and give it about 5 years. She'll probably be natural by then. Natural hair works in every field - the only people I know that had issues with their natural hair in the work force worked in investment banking/wall street/hedge funds in NYC.




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HU!!!! YOU KNOW!

now that that's out the way, I'm shocked she said that. Every single woman I met at Howard ended up transitioning to natural. It's like 95% of the women at Howard are natural! And the 5% who weren't (like me and my sister at the time) end up transitioning after they graduate. Basically, don't listen to that chick and give it about 5 years. She'll probably be natural by then. Natural hair works in every field - the only people I know that had issues with their natural hair in the work force worked in investment banking/wall street/hedge funds in NYC.
Originally Posted by Allycoils
The ones I know that did/do work in that industry always wear their hair up, tucked away in a bun, twist, etc. She may be able to get away with it if she has an acceptable curl pattern, but wearing her nappy hair out is not an option. Its hard enough for them to accept women in that industry...
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Below: Typical PS bun
i agree with the previous posters.

marah glad to see ya!
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HU!!!! YOU KNOW!

now that that's out the way, I'm shocked she said that. Every single woman I met at Howard ended up transitioning to natural. It's like 95% of the women at Howard are natural! And the 5% who weren't (like me and my sister at the time) end up transitioning after they graduate. Basically, don't listen to that chick and give it about 5 years. She'll probably be natural by then. Natural hair works in every field - the only people I know that had issues with their natural hair in the work force worked in investment banking/wall street/hedge funds in NYC.
Originally Posted by Allycoils
The ones I know that did/do work in that industry always wear their hair up, tucked away in a bun, twist, etc. She may be able to get away with it if she has an acceptable curl pattern, but wearing her nappy hair out is not an option. Its hard enough for them to accept women in that industry...
Originally Posted by greenandchic
My friend has an "acceptable" curl pattern, she's more like a 3b. But when she would come to work with her hair unstraightened, everyone would comment "whoa, no time to do your hair this morning, huh?"

as a result she wears her hair straight about 99% of the time. That's so incredibly rude and nasty.




Funky 4a
Fotki link in profile
HU!!!! YOU KNOW!

now that that's out the way, I'm shocked she said that. Every single woman I met at Howard ended up transitioning to natural. It's like 95% of the women at Howard are natural! And the 5% who weren't (like me and my sister at the time) end up transitioning after they graduate. Basically, don't listen to that chick and give it about 5 years. She'll probably be natural by then. Natural hair works in every field - the only people I know that had issues with their natural hair in the work force worked in investment banking/wall street/hedge funds in NYC.
Originally Posted by Allycoils
The ones I know that did/do work in that industry always wear their hair up, tucked away in a bun, twist, etc. She may be able to get away with it if she has an acceptable curl pattern, but wearing her nappy hair out is not an option. Its hard enough for them to accept women in that industry...
Originally Posted by greenandchic
My friend has an "acceptable" curl pattern, she's more like a 3b. But when she would come to work with her hair unstraightened, everyone would comment "whoa, no time to do your hair this morning, huh?"

as a result she wears her hair straight about 99% of the time. That's so incredibly rude and nasty.
Originally Posted by Allycoils
Oh nooooo! It's a shame how other people's comments will make you do so much damage to your own hair. Like one poster said in another thread "You go bald alone." I probably would have either been really rude back or just ignored it. Pffft. People.
Last Relaxer: Aug 2010
BC: April 2012


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It's fine. It's divine. It's all mine


Its funny I get that at my job. Ive been compared to evryone from lisa bonet to erykah badu to persia white cuz im the so called 'eccentric' type at work according to everyone cuz of my fro. Esp the guys omg they always ask me if I paint lmao wth


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