Fit in into the White society?

G'day!
Where or whom do you think the bigger pressure among Black women to straighten their hair comes from? Whites? Or Blacks?
Am I wrong by saying that White folks generally mind kinky/curly hair less than Blacks themselves?

Detroiter Tiffany Buckley-Norwood says her thick, kinky-curly hair made her a target for ridicule in school.

"I was already different because I was a black Latina (Cuban) living in a predominately black community," says the labor and employment law attorney. "I remember in elementary and middle school, I would cry because people would tease me because my hair wasn't relaxed."
Source

This came into my mind after reading some things about Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”.
Non-Black folks don’t even understand what “good hair” is supposed to mean.
Btw, I don't mean to discard Asians and Latinos here. I think most of them are also pretty clueless about "good hair", with the possible exceptions of Latino communities with considerable African influence, Dominicans being a primary example.
according to Fia's.
I know this subject has come up before. You might be able to find some info in the 4 boards. I know that some black women do catch a lot of grief from family and friends sometimes for going natural. For whatever reason it seems like it's almost a sin sometimes for them to wear their hair natural instead of relaxing it.
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There is a lot of this discussion over on the "hall of shame" board too. Great threads!
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Given, there is a lot of discussion other places on NC about this sort of thing. I will give a reply to the OP.

It's definitely blacks that have the bigger issue. I don't think the majority of whites give a hoot all that much about what blacks do with their hair unless it's distracting or "unprofessional" looking in a job setting.

Black folks have the bigger issue..at least in the USA. But I do think that stems from trying to fit more into the white standard of Beauty..at least it did originally in my opinion. Now it's got all sorts of issues tied in with it.

Having said that..I think a lot of white women get pressure to straighten as well though. Because straight hair is often thought of as more attactive.
There are other threads on the website about this similar topic, but just to give a quick reply:

During slavery, slaves were taught by their white masters that their dark skin and kinky, coily hair were ugly. Light skin was considered ideal and straight hair was considered "good" hair. Unfortunately, this belief has been carried down throughout the centuries. I've gotten curious looks and whispers from some other blacks when they see me in the street while most whites haven't paid me any mind. Blacks in general react more violently about hair because of the ingrained issues about it that have been passed down through time. It often isn't just about hair to us. Hair is often seen as a larger statement about our culture, which other people sometimes don't care to understand. Many black women relax their hair, but most white women aren't coveting locs or fros, which says a lot about how the two groups view themselves to me. Black women relax their hair to attempt to fit into a narrow standard of beauty and white women don't feel the need to imitate our hair, because they feel their hair is acceptable as is and/or is the "more acceptable" hair.
There are other threads on the website about this similar topic, but just to give a quick reply:

During slavery, slaves were taught by their white masters that their dark skin and kinky, coily hair were ugly. Light skin was considered ideal and straight hair was considered "good" hair. Unfortunately, this belief has been carried down throughout the centuries. I've gotten curious looks and whispers from some other blacks when they see me in the street while most whites haven't paid me any mind. Blacks in general react more violently about hair because of the ingrained issues about it that have been passed down through time. It often isn't just about hair to us. Hair is often seen as a larger statement about our culture, which other people sometimes don't care to understand. Many black women relax their hair, but most white women aren't coveting locs or fros, which says a lot about how the two groups view themselves to me. Black women relax their hair to attempt to fit into a narrow standard of beauty and white women don't feel the need to imitate our hair, because they feel their hair is acceptable as is and/or is the "more acceptable" hair.
Originally Posted by LadyV69
Thats quite interesting, because in this context it rather implies that any racist connotations are inverted onto the black women BY the black women... Your traumatic history seems to serve as a perpetual-racism-inducing-machine - where even if the white folk arent any longer making an issue, you feel one is there.

Not meaning to be confrontational in any respect there ;o) its just interesting to see, and also to see you guys acknowledge it.

Though it might not be limited to race in this respect. Remember, white women do feel an above average urge to straighten our hair ourselves. and very few of us are completely naturally straight. Perhaps this is nothing to do with fitting in white society at all, since white society is not naturally straight-haired itself. Maybe it is purely down to universal asthetic.
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Having said that..I think a lot of white women get pressure to straighten as well though. Because straight hair is often thought of as more attactive.
Originally Posted by Marah Mizrahi
that is soooo true. my daughter was once told on a job to not wear her hair 'messy.' it was wavy. how many hairstylists have we all encountered who encouraged us to wear our hair straight? and then styled it straight before we learned to say no? and then, there is "Millionaire Matchmaker" herself who tells women to straighten their hair if they want to get a man.
i, personally, once had a friend say to me that she thought it was great that i had the courage to wear my hair the way i did.
unless it is straight, natural hair is just not widely accepted by any race here in the usa.
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Having said that..I think a lot of white women get pressure to straighten as well though. Because straight hair is often thought of as more attactive.
Originally Posted by Marah Mizrahi
and then, there is "Millionaire Matchmaker" herself who tells women to straighten their hair if they want to get a man.
Originally Posted by rbb
I wish Patti Stanger (the Millionaire Matchmaker) would cut the crap. This is more about HER and her projection than it really is about men and what they really want..otherwise she wouldn't be so harsh about it.

And I mean come on....she flat irons the pure hell out of her hair so that Jewfro won't show. So she's projecting and needs to stop acting like curly hair is unattractive simply because SHE doesn't feel attractive as her natural self.

There are men that like curly hair and there are even some that PREFER it. My husband prefers curly hair on women in general. He was NUTS about Elaine's hair from Seinfeld when it first came on. He didn't care for when Julia Louis Dreyfus changed her hair.

He always told me that he wished I didn't ever straighten my hair when I used to do it. Now I wear it curly all the time much to his relief! LOL! He's always touching it and looking at it way more than he did when I had it straight. I am proud of my Jewfro! Given, the damn top flops down and I can't get my full Jewfro on as much as I would like! ROFL! But I digress...

So Stanger needs to just let the men choose.. and the women keep their hair how they want.. a man can see if he likes something or not. It's not like if he picks a woman and she's straightened her hair..he won't find out she's naturally curly ANYWAY eventually if they continue to see one another.. DUH!
When I used to live in Florida most of the girls were Caucasian and had nice silky straight hair so me being one of the only latinas in the school (I'm Dominican) I was teasted terribly in school for having curly hair one boy actually cut some of my hair off because he hated it so much, I always came home crying because I wished I had straight hair.. Our society is messed up since when is curly hair "bad hair" people need to stop being delusional and put down the flat iron =]
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white stylists/ the beauty industry can often have a bias against curly hair but that is because curly hair is pretty rare in the white world. it may not seem that way because we see the world through curly eyes. we are looking for curls and we remember the curl girls. but out of hundreds of women i only know a few who have truly curly hair. and often it's very silky and fine so it's not really that 'different'. but very curly, puffy, coarse, frizzy curly hair in the white world is rare so it's misinterpreted and people are afraid of what they don't know.

because all black women have curly hair, it's a different scenario, IMO. but white media was the majority media for so long. perhaps still.
I don't think that wavy or curly hair is as rare in the white world as the media would have us believe . I see a lot of white women walking around with straightened or flat ironed hair. A lot of these women probably have very little curl compared to the rest of of us but I think that a lot of white women still feel pressure to straighten their hair.

My entire family on my dad's side has curly hair. 2A to 3C. My Aunt, who is an idiot, and has 2bish looking hair, once made the comment, "Kristin is such a pretty girl, it is unfortunate that she has that bad hair." I know that she is racist and I believe that this is where her ideas about come from.

I have felt pressure from the women on that side of my family to straighten my hair. Luckily I have a bunch of people like my mother, father and husband who think my hair is beautiful.

I am white, but I often identify with the things that are said on the 4 boards by the African American women about reactions to their hair. I often feel like I need to flat iron my hair for an interview. I hate that.

I hate "good hair/bad hair" I love all natural hair. It is so beautiful and god given. I hate the stupid ideas and restrictions we place on each other. Even I trick myself into believing that I am more beautiful with straight hair sometimes.
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G'day!
Where or whom do you think the bigger pressure among Black women to straighten their hair comes from? Whites? Or Blacks?
Am I wrong by saying that White folks generally mind kinky/curly hair less than Blacks themselves?

Detroiter Tiffany Buckley-Norwood says her thick, kinky-curly hair made her a target for ridicule in school.

"I was already different because I was a black Latina (Cuban) living in a predominately black community," says the labor and employment law attorney. "I remember in elementary and middle school, I would cry because people would tease me because my hair wasn't relaxed."
Source

This came into my mind after reading some things about Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”.
Non-Black folks don’t even understand what “good hair” is supposed to mean.
Btw, I don't mean to discard Asians and Latinos here. I think most of them are also pretty clueless about "good hair", with the possible exceptions of Latino communities with considerable African influence, Dominicans being a primary example.
Originally Posted by marx

Though maybe not on the same level, many non black people deal with the good hair/bad hair issue as well. Its just not talked about as much IMO. There are several threads on this site that discuss women of various ethnicities having to deal with it. One example would be the "Case of Mistaken Race" thread on the 3C board.

I don't think white people care as much about what black people do to their hair in general. However, in terms of the standard of beauty- i.e. black women's hair in its natural state deemed unacceptable- I think this is perpetuated a lot by white people as well, its just done more quietly.

There are other threads on the website about this similar topic, but just to give a quick reply:

During slavery, slaves were taught by their white masters that their dark skin and kinky, coily hair were ugly. Light skin was considered ideal and straight hair was considered "good" hair. Unfortunately, this belief has been carried down throughout the centuries. I've gotten curious looks and whispers from some other blacks when they see me in the street while most whites haven't paid me any mind. Blacks in general react more violently about hair because of the ingrained issues about it that have been passed down through time. It often isn't just about hair to us. Hair is often seen as a larger statement about our culture, which other people sometimes don't care to understand. Many black women relax their hair, but most white women aren't coveting locs or fros, which says a lot about how the two groups view themselves to me. Black women relax their hair to attempt to fit into a narrow standard of beauty and white women don't feel the need to imitate our hair, because they feel their hair is acceptable as is and/or is the "more acceptable" hair.
Originally Posted by LadyV69
Thats quite interesting, because in this context it rather implies that any racist connotations are inverted onto the black women BY the black women... Your traumatic history seems to serve as a perpetual-racism-inducing-machine - where even if the white folk arent any longer making an issue, you feel one is there.

Not meaning to be confrontational in any respect there ;o) its just interesting to see, and also to see you guys acknowledge it.

Though it might not be limited to race in this respect. Remember, white women do feel an above average urge to straighten our hair ourselves. and very few of us are completely naturally straight. Perhaps this is nothing to do with fitting in white society at all, since white society is not naturally straight-haired itself. Maybe it is purely down to universal asthetic.
Originally Posted by Fluffy4eva
There is a tremendous amount of self hate that encourages black women to straighten/perm. White women with curly hair are under pressure as well but not at the same level. While many white women are born with straight hair, much less black women are. So when black women are pressured to straighten, it is a larger issue. They are being pressured to change something that is generally seen as a phenotype of another ethnic group. Society sends the message that straight is better than curly and curly is better than kinky. Looser textures are seen as more acceptable. However, afro textured hair is looked down upon in any texture.

Hair that is closer to straight is closer to a "white standard of beauty". Since most black women have wavy, curly or kinky hair, I would say this standard of beauty is race based. While there are white people with tightly coiled or kinky hair, it is much less common. It is so uncommon that many people don't even *believe* white people can have kinky hair!

Of course there are many ethnic groups that have naturally curly/kinky hair or almost always have straight hair, but in most cases, society tends to dice them up into "black" and "white" anyway. hence the black/white discussion. I don't see how we can talk about it without talking about race.
all black women have curly hair
Originally Posted by mm2ndj
I thought there were enough Black women with naturally straight or wavy hair.
Perhaps they're just rare in America. :dunno:
according to Fia's.
This is where I'm torn.

You've got articles telling women with curly hair they should straighten it before an interview. The "Millionaire Matchmarker" telling curlies they should straighten so they could get a date. Then you read sentiments expressed like the ones in this post saying that white people as a whole don't really care how black people wear their hair. So who does this "straighten your hair for an interview/straighten your hair to get a date" "advice" apply to? Only 2's and 3's? Are 4's exempt? Or perhaps type 4 hair is so inconceivable to the "white world" that it's not even taken into account?


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This is where I'm torn.

You've got articles telling women with curly hair they should straighten it before an interview. The "Millionaire Matchmarker" telling curlies they should straighten so they could get a date. Then you read sentiments expressed like the ones in this post saying that white people as a whole don't really care how black people wear their hair. So who does this "straighten your hair for an interview/straighten your hair to get a date" "advice" apply to? Only 2's and 3's? Are 4's exempt? Or perhaps type 4 hair is so inconceivable to the "white world" that it's not even taken into account?
Originally Posted by werenumber2
I think I know where you're coming from... I'm a Puerto Rican woman in my 40s who stopped relaxing 2 years ago and did the BC about 9 months ago. Most people around me, whites, Latinos and especially black men whom I've never met before, have actually told me they like my new look. (It's mostly 3C with some 4A at the crown and front.)

I've been working with my mainly white coworkers for 3 years now, and they've gotten used to the change in my hair (I think). They know I'm still the highly professional and efficient employee they originally hired.

However, if I were fired today and had a job interview tomorrow (I'm in South Carolina)... I still ask myself, "Who's going to interview me? Should I flatiron before the interview? If I show up in my natural curls, would they think I'm as crazy as my curls? How will I be perceived?"

Honestly... at this age and stage in my hair, I really don't know...

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all black women have curly hair
Originally Posted by mm2ndj
I thought there were enough Black women with naturally straight or wavy hair.
Perhaps they're just rare in America. :dunno:
Originally Posted by marx
They don't all have it but it seems to be less common, at least in this country. Its a misconception (by black ppl included) that all black ppl have curly hair. I thought that too before I joined NC.

This is where I'm torn.

You've got articles telling women with curly hair they should straighten it before an interview. The "Millionaire Matchmarker" telling curlies they should straighten so they could get a date. Then you read sentiments expressed like the ones in this post saying that white people as a whole don't really care how black people wear their hair. So who does this "straighten your hair for an interview/straighten your hair to get a date" "advice" apply to? Only 2's and 3's? Are 4's exempt? Or perhaps type 4 hair is so inconceivable to the "white world" that it's not even taken into account?
Originally Posted by werenumber2
I think one difference is that white ppl are less likely to come right out and say it. Whereas black ppl are more likely to be like "you need to do something to that hair!"

I think black ppl care more b/c of our own self hate about "afro textured hair."

As far as dates/interviews go, I think its pretty widespread...no matter your culture/color, you get social pressure to straighten your hair for these types of events. I've heard this from friends with wavy-kinky hair. I think that's something we're socialized to believe. Its the whole idea that any kind of curly hair is somewhat unkempt.
Here's my 2 cents...for what it's worth ;D I feel sad when I see black women who straighten their hair..I love all the kinks and curls and when I see someone (anyone, any color, any race) sporting their curly hair, I mention it. I tell them that I like it. The only 'issue' I would have would be to encourage them to moisturize it more...I know I have that problem with mine and my understanding from friends who adopted black children is that it is more delicate and they have to be more gentle with it.

I also love seeing black women with the braids and then the curly braids. I KNOW that it is hard on their hair and can lead to receding hairlines...but it is always so pretty and so intricate and I'm probably envious. Periodically I see white women doing it and I just want to tell them to take the braids out, shave their heads, whatever. I seem it more as an ethic look and there is not a white woman on the planet who can carry it off. It could also be my perception, but I see these woman as very self-confident and stately. Could me me, but I admit that.

So, two cents from a white woman who has the nickname of 'fish belly white' from her husband....
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I would think every curly needs to moisturize on some level. I'm not sure how you would know if someone's hair needs to be more moisturized just by looking at them- unless they're hair is just jacked up. And jacked up hair comes in every texture/ethnic group

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