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Old 05-09-2007, 12:33 AM   #1
 
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Okay, so this has been my hair thought for the day...
I've been thinking how there are certain places that I go that generally are very accepting of my hair. I mean not just accepting they praise it and tell me they envy it. My immediate family is actually very accepting of my curls, of course all you nc.com'ers have been too. When I was living in a mostly hispanic neighborhood in the city people generally responded positively to curls there too. I can think of other environments as well that have seemed "curl-friendly" to me.

But there are other places I go to such as the college that I go to, my extended family on my dad's side(who all have curly hair and straighten it), and practically everywhere else, people look at me as if I need to do something with my hair. Whenever I straighten my hair I get tons of compliments from these type of people.

It just strikes me as really odd that people generally think my hair is beautiful or they seem repulsed by it. Has anyone else noticed that in certain environments your curls are received much more favorably than in others? (Not that it matters all that much what other people think, I'm just curious if others have experienced this too).
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:19 PM   #2
 
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Most people (my boss, family, friends, people standing by me in line at a store) seem to like my unruly curly hair.
But teenagers and young people who are really into fads and fashion tend to think my hair is 'weird' and don't understand why I don't straghten it and look like everyone else.
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:06 PM   #3
 
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Well, no one ever says anything bad about my hair... but on the flip side, I rarely get any compliments on it either! Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess. Curls really aren't anything special in NYC, it's just hair...
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:10 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Gemini13
Well, no one ever says anything bad about my hair... but on the flip side, I rarely get any compliments on it either!
Same here, but I do get compliments when it's straight. I guess that's their way of telling me they prefer it straight.
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:51 PM   #5
 
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I've lived in three states in the past two years, and I have noticed that some places are more curl-friendly to others. In my experience, the more culturally diverse an area is, the more accepting they are of physical differences, including hair. For example, I went to a college w/ a very diverse student body, and I would get compliments on my hair all the time. Now that I am living in a less diverse area comments about my curls are less frequent, and on the v. rare occasions my hair is straight, I get a lot of compliments.

This trend makes sense to me though. If you grew up in an area where EVERYONE looks and acts differently, curly hair is no big deal. You've learned that people come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, and that no one feature is better/worse than another.

But if you live in an area where everyone is of one ethnicity, go to the same church and dress in the same way, small differences b/n people become v. obvious. And in general, those differences are a BAD thing, simply b/c they are not "normal". When you are used to everyone being the same, you can't understand why anyone would want to be different!

We call America a melting pot, but it's more like a stew, w/ some ingredients clumping together in one little area, while different ones go somewhere else. There are still some places here that are v. segregated, and IMHO, this can lead to intolerance.

I knew that sociology class would come in handy
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:52 PM   #6
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I really have to agree with you Kasey. I live in a more diverse area, but I teach in a very conservative, suburban area where people really try to look the same. It makes sense that they do this, and it makes sense that I second guess myself a little after being in this environment. Not only is there a big lack of tolerance, but to me the biggest issue is the lack of questioning things. Being trained to be, act and think in one way, and ultimately, not developing the ability to critically think about society at all. And that's what scares me the most.

I think it goes beyond my hair looking weird...I have noticed my personality (that comes with being a curly) is what really makes certain people uncomfortable. I guess this is why I feel like I should be there. To challenge these kids to question things.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:29 AM   #7
 
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Very interesting responses.

I completely can take the good with the bad. I mean I never received hair compliments at all when I used to wear it straight. It's just bizarre to me that my hair seems to interest people one way or the other. Plus sometimes, it really does seem like I'm violating some sort of unspoken norm. I mean seriously when I wear my hair down and curly to school, I've had girls look at me like and ask me questions like what is up with my hair. This has happened several times to me at school. But like I said in my previous post, the reaction seems to vary greatly depending on where I go.

Jeep, I've also noticed that many older people like curls too. The fad thing really makes sense. That's what I just keep telling myself...when most people my age get to be a little older (and wiser ) they'll be more accepting of curls. Well, actually not just of curls, of all the different types of beauty and people that are out there.

Kasey, that's exactly the types of observations I've found too. I really enjoyed reading your post. That Sociology class seemed to really pay off! Isn't it amazing how when you add a hair twist to many school subjects they can become so much more interesting and meaningful?

KC Curly Girl, I seem to think a lot like you. I question everything and I've noticed that a lot of people just tend to go along with what everyone else is doing without really thinking about things. Anyways, this definitely does cross over into a much broader subject besides just hair. Your personality seems to fit very well with your chosen profession. (I really admire teachers by the way.)

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and wisdom with me.
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:12 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini13
Well, no one ever says anything bad about my hair... but on the flip side, I rarely get any compliments on it either!
Same here, but I do get compliments when it's straight. I guess that's their way of telling me they prefer it straight.
Or could it just be that they see you have done something different to your hair so they want you to know that they've noticed? The same as if you get a haircut and people say it looks nice, it doesn't mean you looked bad before you had the haircut.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malory
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini13
Well, no one ever says anything bad about my hair... but on the flip side, I rarely get any compliments on it either!
Same here, but I do get compliments when it's straight. I guess that's their way of telling me they prefer it straight.
Or could it just be that they see you have done something different to your hair so they want you to know that they've noticed? The same as if you get a haircut and people say it looks nice, it doesn't mean you looked bad before you had the haircut.
I think any time you do something different with your hair, people will comment on it. I agree that it doesn't mean you looked bad before.

I live close enough to NYC that there's a lot of diversity and acceptance of curly hair. My sister lives in a state that is pretty WASPy and her curls stand out a lot more there (though she doesn't seem to get many negative comments, just a lot of comments).
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:21 AM   #10
 
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Hmmm, maybe it's just because of where I live, but I've always gotten lots of compliments (even from strangers) on my hair. I think the only time I didn't was through grade & high school, but kids and teens suck in that way.

I've lived in the burbs of NYC, in and around Boston, and in southern NH.
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:45 AM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malory
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini13
Well, no one ever says anything bad about my hair... but on the flip side, I rarely get any compliments on it either!
Same here, but I do get compliments when it's straight. I guess that's their way of telling me they prefer it straight.
Or could it just be that they see you have done something different to your hair so they want you to know that they've noticed? The same as if you get a haircut and people say it looks nice, it doesn't mean you looked bad before you had the haircut.
I would go along with that logic, except that I've received some comments that led to me to believe they are telling me straight is better. For example, I wore my hair straight for a week at one point. When I went back to curly, I got "OMG, what happened to your hair" and " I liked it better before." Not like I even asked their opinion.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:06 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malory
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini13
Well, no one ever says anything bad about my hair... but on the flip side, I rarely get any compliments on it either!
Same here, but I do get compliments when it's straight. I guess that's their way of telling me they prefer it straight.
Or could it just be that they see you have done something different to your hair so they want you to know that they've noticed? The same as if you get a haircut and people say it looks nice, it doesn't mean you looked bad before you had the haircut.
I would go along with that logic, except that I've received some comments that led to me to believe they are telling me straight is better. For example, I wore my hair straight for a week at one point. When I went back to curly, I got "OMG, what happened to your hair" and " I liked it better before." Not like I even asked their opinion.
Yeah Bailey, those are the kinds of comments I've heard too that make me believe they're negative. One girl told me when I straightened my hair that it's amazing how much better it looks with my hair like that and I should wear it like that all the time. That seems clear and direct to me. But I mean it's not like I wear my hair a certain way to brighten their day or something.
When I'm around people like that sometimes I think that maybe it's not about the curls, maybe it's that my curls just look awful. But then I think that when I'm in other places, like I've said, I get loads of compliments.
I'm glad so many of your have received nothing but compliments. Out of curiousity, are you women, older than say 30 years old? I'm just wondering because I still do have my theory that it has to do with conformity and differences in other people are usually a bad thing at a younger age.
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:08 PM   #13
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I am well over 30. I do think that age makes a difference -- teenagers especially can be merciless in tormenting anyone who looks different.
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Old 05-10-2007, 02:52 PM   #14
 
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well,
I live in NY i bearly get anything unusu. except for everynow and then when i decide that i dont wanna do anything to my hair and i wanna plump it up a little on my way to school. I get Stareess from some H.s. kids but thats about it.

I just feel like saying...Hey do you wanna start paying to looking at me now?
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Old 05-10-2007, 03:12 PM   #15
 
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I agree many environments are clearly more "curl accepting" than others.

When I was in business and working for a Fortune 100 company, my curls were viewed as "unprofessional" if I didn't keep them restrained. Now that I'm in cosmetology school, the instructors, students and clients continually fall all over themselves to tell me how beautiful my hair is. And they can't keep their hands out of it either ... when I don't have a client and am sitting in my salon chair studying, it seems everyone who passes behind me has to touch it, run their hands through it, or stop to play with it.

There is definitely a BIG difference!
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Old 05-10-2007, 03:39 PM   #16
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I'm 25, and I guess I feel there's certain places where curly hair isn't accepted by people of all ages. Of course, there are also people who really love it and appreciate it too. Teenagers can be really cruel, I haven't had anyone talk to me like the kids did when I was in junior high, those years were terrible!!

I do straighten my hair sometimes, and I think that since straighteners have become so popular, people seem to look at curls differently. The acceptable, desirable curls right now are the kind we can't get naturally. Like how Sarah Jessica Parker and Felicity have their hair now. Anyone else realize this?
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Old 05-10-2007, 04:11 PM   #17
 
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I've realized it KC. For fancy occassions I've straighted it and then curled individual curls and pulled on them to loosen the curl a little and used some shine spray and everyone seemed to love the way it looked, even those that have made some mean comments about my natural curls. It seems to be more of the style of how many celebrities are wearing their hair lately. I mean I have loose wavy/curly hair naturally but it's still not "in style" I guess you have to horribly abuse and torture your hair in order for it to look good to some people? I just don't get it.
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Old 05-10-2007, 04:34 PM   #18
 
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I think that's true too. I used to love Keri Russell's and SJP's natural curls and now they wear their hair in the fake popular curly style but I'm not as pleased with their hair.
On the original post, I just wanted to say that I've never felt that my curls weren't accpeted or anyone was mean. But I do get how wonderful my hair looks on the rare occasion that I straighten. And some of my kindergartners tell me that they like my hair straight better. And even though their little kids that kind of bugs me for two reasons: 1- It makes me feel like they think my curly hair is ugly and 2- That pop culture is having such a strong impact on them already (most likely because they have older siblings and parents that conform to it)
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:07 PM   #19
 
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I have run into some of this myself.
My mom just loves my hair curly/wavy and healthy and she always makes sure to tell me when it looks especially good. My immediate family in general aren't very impressed with my hair when it's straight. Probably because it was such an issue with me for so many years and they're happy to see me accept and embrace my natural hair.

My BF says he likes it curly/wavy but he'd never seen it actually straightened until a couple months ago. And of course he loved it. I must admit, I'm really good at straightening it and making it look good that way. I don't do anything half-@ssed with my hair. Later he claimed he just like it better because it looked longer. I think he was just trying to save his butt with that one.

I rarely get compliments on my natural texture but I do get compliments on my healthy length. I do get compliments on it straight though but only from people who've seen it curly before. Especially people who knew me back when everyone thought I had straight hair (like I said, I was good at pulling it off).

In interview situations, I feel like I get a better response to straight hair. Same goes for when I go out. I get nice looks with it bouncy and natural but have to beat 'em off with a stick when it's straight. :P

I think it's because it's seem as "normal" to straighten your hair. Even if it looks fried, like so many girls I see, it's still better accepted by the general public because it's expected.
If it's gonna be curly, people seem to expect those big, uniform curls that take straightening and a curling iron.

I didn't straighten for a couple years and only got one negative comment (from a generally negative person) but only positive comments from my family. Once I straightened a few times, I got a ton of compliments, and not just from people who had gotten used to it curly/wavy. It's nice to get compliments but it makes me feel self conscious. Like it looked bad before.

But my hair just *feels* so good curly!
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