Nappy? Does it OFFEND you?

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But every since I can recall I've always heard the term "nappy" be used negatively. I honestly believe that is still how the majority of people see the

I also think there is a difference in the term "nappy" and "kinky". When I was growing up "nappy" meant hair that is very tangled and is uncombed and was always seen as bad. Kinky just meant hair that is either naturally tightly coiled or highly textured hair that isn't curly or wavy. Given, depending on the person the term "kinky" could be perceived as good or bad. But "nappy" was always negative period..didn't matter what kind of hair it was referring to at all.
Originally Posted by *Marah*
I'm not crazy about kinky either. For some reason to me it makes it sound like something is wrong with that hair. It doesn't hit the nerve that nappy does, but. I'm not sure. Just doesn't sound like a compliment. Even the term "kinky curly" irks me. I'm like have several friggin seats, it's just CURLY!!

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Originally Posted by BlackAngelPlayah
Eh.. Kinky and Kinky Curly just describes very tightly coiled hair to me and I don't neccessarily see it as an automatic insult. Kinky hair isn't always "curly". I think some people associate it (the term Kinky) with negativity because some people feel it's synonymous with "nappy" which is often seen as negative. I personally refer to certain hair typesr as kinky and I definitely don't mean it as any insult.

For me personally, I think it really depends on how it's said and why.
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I'm not offended by it, "nappy" doesn't mean "tangled/matted" to me (although nappy hair can be tangled/matted), and whether or not someone calls your hair nappy to your face, or in their head, they will associate whatever they will with the word, and if it happens to be your hair, what will you do? A "loc", for instance, is indeed...tangled, matted hair, so...where do we go with that?
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
Loc hair is nappy hair to me. It's exactly what I described in my previous post: very tangled and uncombed hair. I personally don't associate locs with negativity though. Depends on how the person maintains them..some look great and some look bad. For instance when Lisa Bonet had hers.. I hated them because it look like she put no effort into them at all. But I LOVED T.C. Carson's ( Kyle Barker from Living Single) locs and Booker T's locs from the WWE are real nice. Always look good and moisturized.

That's where I go with it. LOL!

But every since I can recall I've always heard the term "nappy" be used negatively. I honestly believe that is still how the majority of people see the

I also think there is a difference in the term "nappy" and "kinky". When I was growing up "nappy" meant hair that is very tangled and is uncombed and was always seen as bad. Kinky just meant hair that is either naturally tightly coiled or highly textured hair that isn't curly or wavy. Given, depending on the person the term "kinky" could be perceived as good or bad. But "nappy" was always negative period..didn't matter what kind of hair it was referring to at all.
Originally Posted by *Marah*
I'm not crazy about kinky either. For some reason to me it makes it sound like something is wrong with that hair. It doesn't hit the nerve that nappy does, but. I'm not sure. Just doesn't sound like a compliment. Even the term "kinky curly" irks me. I'm like have several friggin seats, it's just CURLY!!

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Originally Posted by BlackAngelPlayah
Eh.. Kinky and Kinky Curly just describes very tightly coiled hair to me and I don't neccessarily see it as an automatic insult. Kinky hair isn't always "curly". I think some people associate it (the term Kinky) with negativity because some people feel it's synonymous with "nappy" which is often seen as negative. I personally refer to certain hair typesr as kinky and I definitely don't mean it as any insult.

For me personally, I think it really depends on how it's said and why.
Originally Posted by *Marah*

Yep...cuz sometimes we use terms to help "soften the blow" (our hair's natural look/properties offend us), so we can deal a bit better. Hey, whatever helps and I'm not calling out anyone here...I'm making a general statement, from what I know from living and listening to folks. Just observations.

"Kinky hair is just very CURLY hair" or "Wavy hair is just looser CURLY hair", or, "Straight hair is just CURLY hair that's lost its curl!!!". Meh...whatever

Again, to thine own self be true...don't fool yourself. Me and the rest don't matter.
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Ninjarette has brought up a lot of good points.

Personally, the term "nappy" only offends me when it is used in a way mean to insult me.

The funny thing is, I take it differently depending on if the speaker is relaxed or natural. I don't mean to, but it's like when white people say the "n word" versus black people saying the "n word." It's kind of like "only family can talk about family, so only natural girls can call me nappy because I feel I know exactly what they mean." Silly right?

One day soon, people will put the negative use of nappy behind them!

I also don't refer to my own hair or anyone else's hair as nappy. I don't know the condition of someone else's hair (whether it's tangled or unkept) because things can LOOK one way, but actually be another way. I just know how I like MY hair to look and feel to ME.
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Nappy to me means unkept but it doesn't bother me. What bothers the coonads out of me is fuzzy. When I was little when ever my hair frizzed (which was often in the summer dispute relaxers) my cousins would gather around me and sing fuzzy wuzzy was a bear fuzzy wuzzy had big hair.


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Originally Posted by kairo1821


I also have met people who by default associate nappy hair with dark skin. So for example, a multiracial woman with kinky hair, can wear her hair naturally and it be considered "exotic" and "curly" while a darker skinned woman with the same curl pattern and texture would be considered "nappy".

Its just interesting how the word is so maligned in our community but so many people have drastically different takes on it.
Originally Posted by Lovemenappy
I notice that too. It's very strange and very unfair. I've seen dark skinned people with WAAAAAY silkier/bigger curls than mine. Plus I've seen biracial (black/white) with some hair that would be considered "nappy".

People need to get a dang grip and come out of 1860. (Even ME. Who can't get behind nappy as positive. )



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FroZen
Ninjarette has brought up a lot of good points.

Personally, the term "nappy" only offends me when it is used in a way mean to insult me.

The funny thing is, I take it differently depending on if the speaker is relaxed or natural. I don't mean to, but it's like when white people say the "n word" versus black people saying the "n word." It's kind of like "only family can talk about family, so only natural girls can call me nappy because I feel I know exactly what they mean." Silly right?

One day soon, people will put the negative use of nappy behind them!

I also don't refer to my own hair or anyone else's hair as nappy. I don't know the condition of someone else's hair (whether it's tangled or unkept) because things can LOOK one way, but actually be another way. I just know how I like MY hair to look and feel to ME.
Originally Posted by LaCurlyMariposa
I don't use or like the n word but I will say my friend girls, relatives and some of my coworkers call each other Bs, heffas and heauxs all the time and fall out laughing about it. We think it's funny. One of my best friends is a guy from Mexico and we tease eachother with racial stereotypes and find it hilarious. But I will say we don't do it in front of any old body.

Now let someone I'm not cool with call me something like that and it not go over well at all.

Last edited by adthomas; 07-12-2012 at 07:14 PM.
Ninjarette has brought up a lot of good points.

Personally, the term "nappy" only offends me when it is used in a way mean to insult me.

The funny thing is, I take it differently depending on if the speaker is relaxed or natural. I don't mean to, but it's like when white people say the "n word" versus black people saying the "n word." It's kind of like "only family can talk about family, so only natural girls can call me nappy because I feel I know exactly what they mean." Silly right?

One day soon, people will put the negative use of nappy behind them!

I also don't refer to my own hair or anyone else's hair as nappy. I don't know the condition of someone else's hair (whether it's tangled or unkept) because things can LOOK one way, but actually be another way. I just know how I like MY hair to look and feel to ME.
Originally Posted by LaCurlyMariposa
This right here is exactly how I feel on both topics to a T, and you are the only person that Ive seen explain it just like that. It IS a more "in the family thing" so even if a natural called me nappy headed in a negative way...it wouldn't offend me like it would someone with relaxed hair.

I think what's interesting is men's perspective on natural hair and "nappy vs good hair" or whatever, and I wonder whether it's mostly black women who keep up the 'nappy' hair thing or men.

A lot of women swear that they cant go natural because they are afraid that men (black) wont find them attractive and they are afraid their hair will be "nappy", but which one came first the chicken or the egg?

Also, what I find HILARIOUS is that the same women who use the word "nappy" in a negative sense are the same ones who will see our hair in a wash n go or twist out and be like "who did your hair and how did you get it to curl up like that"...lol.
Well, the whole "tangled" issue is interesting too. Type 4 hair is prone to tangling...naturally. Why is that...bad? I don't comb my hair, unless it's to prep for a wash...so yeah, it's "uncombed" too. And....?

So, when folks say, "When I think nappy..I think tangled...", I think, "Yeah...and?" My hair is twisted now, but if I were wearing a twistout it would be tangled on some level, depending how long it had been worn out.

I wonder sometimes....
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I am called nappy mostly by my family. I am really the only one (besides my aunt, but she has a different texture) with natural hair. Nappy doesn't offend me. Like others have said, it actually describes my hair: nappy, curly,kinky, poofy, cushion-y, coily, and lots more!

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I like to be a jerk, so if someone calls me nappy with any negativity behind it, I usually say something like, "Yeah it's nappy, isn't it effing great?" and move on. I've only had to do that twice though. Not one had anything to say afterwards.

There are a lot of naturals in my area (surprisingly found this out a few weeks ago) so the term "nappy" doesn't really offend me, but even before the fact I was never offended by it. My family, friends, and I love my hair. So what do I care what anonymous #176097 at my neighborhood Wal-Mart thinks of it?
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I usually don't care unless I know they mean it as an insult.

Like one time I was going home from a night out and I passed this guy who said something about my hair being nappy and that I looked like Macy Gray. This wouldn't bother me, but omg his tone was just so nasty. I was too tired to deal so I just shook my hurr and sashayed away.
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For me nappy hair means "ungroomed" hair no matter the texture, even type 1 hair. I use the term Kinky to describe what's known as nappy hair. Straight, wavy, curly, and kinky describes hair texture. I haven't been called a nappy head before so I can't say how I feel about it(i normally get the good/pretty hair comments). My auntie is relaxed and she will call her hair nappy in a heart beat when she needs a touch up and think nothing else about it lol.

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I am always saying, the rest of the world accepts or simply doesn't care what our hair "texture and type" is.. But black folks will always be behind. Our minds are stuck back in the days and it is gonna be hard to change that. We're getting better, as there are more and more naturals in the mainstream that don't have the shiny 3b/c hair, but more of the 4a/b/c hair. It seems black folks just likes what is accepted by society... But the only society that is against our type of hair... Is our own...

Talk about mind imploding...... :O
FroZen
Nappy was created to be a derogitory word and why try to make it positive? I think people should just call their hair fluffy or poofy, cottony, etc. Its like trying to put a positive spin on the "N" word. Why not just get rid of it and say something else?

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Well, the whole "tangled" issue is interesting too. Type 4 hair is prone to tangling...naturally. Why is that...bad? I don't comb my hair, unless it's to prep for a wash...so yeah, it's "uncombed" too. And....?

So, when folks say, "When I think nappy..I think tangled...", I think, "Yeah...and?" My hair is twisted now, but if I were wearing a twistout it would be tangled on some level, depending how long it had been worn out.

I wonder sometimes....
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
All hair tangles naturally if it's just left alone. I don't see the fact that hair tangles naturally as a bad thing personally. It's just what hair does..

What I think is jacked up is when the hair is untaken care of...and I know the difference between type 4 hair that is maintained regularly and type 4 hair that isn't. NEA, with all due respect.. you take care of your hair and that's evident from your posting on NC. So this really doesn't apply to you.

To me, there is a BIG AZZ difference between hair that isn't combed all the time but maintained in other ways and hair that just is a hot mess because someone was too triflin to do anything to maintain themselves and it's a hot tangled up mess.

So for me whoever has a problem with that.. hey they just gonna have to have a problem with it. I reserve the right to call whatever I deem nappy..just that: nappy. I'm not suggesting you have a problem.. I'm just putting it out there.. LOL!
Well, the whole "tangled" issue is interesting too. Type 4 hair is prone to tangling...naturally. Why is that...bad? I don't comb my hair, unless it's to prep for a wash...so yeah, it's "uncombed" too. And....?

So, when folks say, "When I think nappy..I think tangled...", I think, "Yeah...and?" My hair is twisted now, but if I were wearing a twistout it would be tangled on some level, depending how long it had been worn out.

I wonder sometimes....
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
All hair tangles naturally if it's just left alone. I don't see the fact that hair tangles naturally as a bad thing personally. It's just what hair does..

What I think is jacked up is when the hair is untaken care of...and I know the difference between type 4 hair that is maintained regularly and type 4 hair that isn't. NEA, with all due respect.. you take care of your hair and that's evident from your posting on NC. So this really doesn't apply to you.

To me, there is a BIG AZZ difference between hair that isn't combed all the time but maintained in other ways and hair that just is a hot mess because someone was too triflin to do anything to maintain themselves and it's a hot tangled up mess.

So for me whoever has a problem with that.. hey they just gonna have to have a problem with it. I reserve the right to call whatever I deem nappy..just that: nappy. I'm not suggesting you have a problem.. I'm just putting it out there.. LOL!
Originally Posted by *Marah*
I said type 4 hair is prone to tangling. Yes, all hair tangles, but my hair type will tangle quicker without having to be left alone as long as straighter hair types. There's nothing wrong with that. I said that.

My statements weren't directed to any particular person. My issue is that I think many black folks struggle with the natural properties of kinky hair...the frizz, the fuzz, the puffy roots, knotting....and all the rest. It's a constant point of contention. When you ask many us why the word is so distasteful, it seems that it's often because the word reminds us that we don't have "silky", "smooth", "flowy" hair that "behaves" well in hot, humid weather. We're embarrassed. Not everbody who hates the word feels that way. But I'm convinced many do.

Just because you have an understanding of how type 4 hair looks/behaves, and your're comfortable with that doesn't mean everybody has the same understanding/level of comfort.
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Of course folks take issue with jacked up hair, and it's easy just to say that.






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Well, the whole "tangled" issue is interesting too. Type 4 hair is prone to tangling...naturally. Why is that...bad? I don't comb my hair, unless it's to prep for a wash...so yeah, it's "uncombed" too. And....?

So, when folks say, "When I think nappy..I think tangled...", I think, "Yeah...and?" My hair is twisted now, but if I were wearing a twistout it would be tangled on some level, depending how long it had been worn out.

I wonder sometimes....
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
All hair tangles naturally if it's just left alone. I don't see the fact that hair tangles naturally as a bad thing personally. It's just what hair does..

What I think is jacked up is when the hair is untaken care of...and I know the difference between type 4 hair that is maintained regularly and type 4 hair that isn't. NEA, with all due respect.. you take care of your hair and that's evident from your posting on NC. So this really doesn't apply to you.

To me, there is a BIG AZZ difference between hair that isn't combed all the time but maintained in other ways and hair that just is a hot mess because someone was too triflin to do anything to maintain themselves and it's a hot tangled up mess.

So for me whoever has a problem with that.. hey they just gonna have to have a problem with it. I reserve the right to call whatever I deem nappy..just that: nappy. I'm not suggesting you have a problem.. I'm just putting it out there.. LOL!
Originally Posted by *Marah*
I said type 4 hair is prone to tangling. Yes, all hair tangles, but my hair type will tangle quicker without having to be left alone as long as straighter hair types. There's nothing wrong with that. I said that.

My statements weren't directed to any particular person. My issue is that I think many black folks struggle with the natural properties of kinky hair...the frizz, the fuzz, the puffy roots, knotting....and all the rest. It's a constant point of contention. When you ask many us why the word is so distasteful, it seems that it's often because the word reminds us that we don't have "silky", "smooth", "flowy" hair that "behaves" well in hot, humid weather. We're embarrassed. Not everbody who hates the word feels that way. But I'm convinced many do.

Just because you have an understanding of how type 4 hair looks/behaves, and your're comfortable with that doesn't mean everybody has the same understanding/level of comfort.
.
Of course folks take issue with jacked up hair, and it's easy just to say that.


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Originally Posted by Ninjarette
Totally agree with the bold. I definitely didn't think your statement was directed to any one person or I would have just said so. I think I've seen your posting style long enough to know if you had something specific to say to or about someone..you'd just go ahead and address them. LOL! So I knew it was general.

I just like to comment on your posts because..well I like them, they make me think, and I take something of value from them whether I disagree or agree. And for me, that's rare.

I guess I'm just at the point of I wish many more AA's would get over buying into this bs of "good hair" and all that comes with it...being freaking embarrassed. It irks me. I've heard a gillion times black folks talking about they don't like "natural hair" (and they mean type 4 hair)..but let them see some "good hair" no matter how it looks.. they damn near lose their minds praising it. Oh and don't let skin complexion and mixed race come in the mix..then all hell really breaks loose. I can't.

But yeah.. maybe I'm on some other stuff...I'm okay standing over here alone though if it keeps me out of standing in BS.
The word nappy doesn't offend me like it used to. I don't refer to other people's hair as nappy because I know a lot of people don't like the term and view it as derogatory. However, I have coils. And it tangles easier than other hair types. That's just how my hair is.
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I don't like the word. I've witnessed people get called this and it was ALWAYS derogatory. I grew up in a place where most of the AAs were very light with straight or wavy hair. They would tease and mock anyone who had kinky hair with the word nappy or variations thereof no matter how it looked, to no end. (Only the girls though since it was cool if you were a guy and could do a high top fade or other kinky hairstyles.) Anyway girls would overprocess their hair and use too much heat, just to be ridiculed for having chewed up, bone straight hair. And oh how many times I would hear girls say I only date white guys cause I can't have no nappy headed babies with hair like mine. It was just so sad to witness people with such deep issues about something that shouldn't be that deep but we all know is...hair. So anyway I just can't get with that word but I've learned from this site that there are a lot of people that use it positively and that I can certainly respect.

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My friends and I were discussing "hair" one evening and the topic of "nappy" came up. My friend heard the term at work and didn't know what it meant. I explained the positive and the negative meanings of the word. Her sister then said she usually hears it around black women who have their hair relaxed, and it begins to revert back.

I thought that was interesting! I never heard the term "nappy" being used to describe relaxed hair needing a touch-up.
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