With daily stories reporting public scrutiny and stereotyping of curly-haired women, it is time to make changes with our own hands.


In a period of human civilization where in which differences such as race and sex begin to play smaller and smaller roles as to what jobs you can have, the salaries you can make, the clothes you can wear and even the people you can be, it still sadly comes as no shock that stereotypes and biases force employees to change their looks, beliefs and even personalities to fit in.

The battle for equality is long from won for people of all races and sexes. Stereotypes don’t disappear from popular culture overnight, nor can you change the opinions of those in power in a matter of years. Unfortunately, change takes time, and for those employees with curly hair out there facing pressure to straighten their locks, the change countdown is moving all too slowly.

Meet Samira Ahmed, senior news presenter, who has been working at Channel 4 News in the UK for the past 11 years. Earlier this week, Ahmed announced her departure from the media company after being told that her hair was too "scruffy" for TV.

According to the Daily Mail, “Her decision to leave comes after claims that she was repeatedly told by executives that Channel 4 chiefs did not like her hair.”

In addition, their sources have said that Ahmed had been called into a room before in order for her bosses to point out, using pictures, what was wrong with her. Channel 4 News denies recognition of this version of events and says instead that they are “focused on the fantastic new appointments to our presenting line-up.”

Ahmed has already secured a position at the BBC.

Unfortunately, this is not the first story to appear in popular media concerning curly hair stereotypes and public dislike.

Khloe Kardashian recently admitted that her hair was so unruly and curly as a child that her mother hid it under huge bows, earning criticism and laughs from her two sisters. Then, it was only a couple years ago that “Millionaire Matchmaker” star, Patti Stanger, instructed all female clients to straighten their hair if they wanted a rich dude.

No doubt we have all heard it before ourselves: “Your hair looks so pretty straight,” “Why don’t you straighten more often,” or even, “Your curly hair is ugly!”

So, my curly friends, while I don’t have an easy answer to stop all of the curly hair stereotypes and hate, I will quote some popular American rhetoric and Howard Beale, “All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a human being, dang it! My life has value!’”

After all, anger poised in a positive direction spurs change, and, my curly ladies and gentlemen, we have got to spur change, stand up and say, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Curly hair is just as natural as brown eyes, red hair or dark skin, and the test of time has dealt it a very biased hand. Fortunately, all of us have the power to change that image for the curlies who come after us.

We may not be the ones guilty of creating the curly hair stereotype, but we can be the ones who change it.

Tracey Wallace

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I think its naive of people who say THEY never got criticized negatively about their hair, means it isn't true. It is true. Maybe if some of you stop being selfish you would understand that others, especially in the business world, get discriminated for it. I think this is absolutely disgusting the fact that hair needs to be put in a either negative or positive light.

On second thought, Ahmed couldn't sue because she wasn't fired. It was her decision to leave....And one last comment, why can't people take us as we are and recognize that curly hair says absolutely nothing about our personalities, interests, or job performance? It is simply the way our hair grows out of our heads...

This article is about curly hair discrimination in the workplace, especially the corporate and media worlds. So everyone may love your hair, but if you wanted to be a TV anchor, liked Ms. Ahmed, you would never make it. I can't think of one curly-haired TV news anchor in the NYC area... Unfortunately, in the world of business, people are encouraged to eliminate the features that make them stand out. Yes, maybe it would take a lawsuit to make these companies change their attitudes.

I've never once been stereotyped about my hair. Although, I saw that episode of Millionaire Matchmaker where Patti says, "Men don't like curly hair!" I just laughed. What kind of men has she been hanging around? My first boyfriend was the one who convinced me to stop straightening my hair. Ha!

I can't believe Ahmed was let go over something that has nothing to do with her job performance. And it's not like she was wearing a gelled and spiked Mohawk dyed hot pink, she was wearing her hair as it naturally grows out of her head and it's neat and clean. She should have filed a lawsuit. I stopped using heat because of heat damage and because I believe my curls are more beautiful than my straightened hair.

after I graduated from college, the university's career planning and placement office told me I had to "do something" with my hair...I dont' remember what I did at interviews (sometimes I did put it in a low ponytail with a large barrette)...I worked at a major credit card bank in the 90's and the and I know of two girls who were fast-trakcing to the top that were forced to either straighten or wear their hair in a french twist to "get ahead"

I've always gotten compliments for my curls but my friends usually like my hair straight, they say I look prettier with straight hair but I've learned to love and accept my curls even if they don't look the best all the time.

If I don't get critized about how light I am and that I look asian one day, Latin another, or just plain white.... I get critized about my curls as well. I love my hair and my look. I have found that most of the people that claim that they don't like me because I look stuck up (not act)because of my looks and hair, really have problems within themselves and really and truly wish they could be like me. Trust me I have enough evidence of what people have tried to do to be like me. From dying their hair my natural hair color, pulling out their weaves to wear their hair natual because mine is, stop wearing make-up because I don't wear any, or just flat out try to act like me. I realize that I am admired. However, going to far is too far especially when you want something that I have that was never meant for them anyway. You will hurt yourself trying to fit into my shoes! So if anyone gets discriminated because of something that God created. I tell them to repent and ask God for forgiveness because they just sinned saying or mocking his creation!

I too have always had many compliments on my curls. However, the experience of Samira Ahmed is still proof that there is some discrimination out there. I don't think Samira misinterpreted what happened due to a lack of self esteem!

I agree with the woman who was the first to comment. I too am surprised by this article. I have NEVER had anything say anything negative about my curly hair. I have had so many woman say that they wished that they had my hair. I wonder if some of what was say in this article isn't partly words being twisted because of a low self esteem. I love my hair and I have NEVER in my 34 yr. gotten a bad comment about it. When I straighten my hair they usually tell me that it looks better curly and that it fits my bubbly personality.

I too am so tired of stereotypes about hair! What makes straight hair “better”? Curls are beautiful! They give texture to the hair and frame the face. Who decided that only flat hair is better? Samira Ahmed is beautiful with her curly hair. Most importantly, why can’t everyone be authentic? It is so freeing to embrace what is yours uniquely and not always feel compelled to follow the “pack”! I have gone back 100% to curly after years of straightening, and am loving my curls. No more burns from the flat iron! And I recently had my hair cut by a certified Ouidad stylist, which has really made my curls look wonderful. My husband is a big fan of how my curly hair looks, and also the ease of just “wash and go” after years of waiting for me to be done in the bathroom, straightening my hair! I look at my hair as a gift from my parents, both curly-haired. My sister (not a curly girl) has been harsh at times, stating that curls are only OK if your name is Shirley Temple! I say enough is enough!

Love this article! Sometimes an "anger of motivation" is just what is needed to make a change.

This is no surprise to me. It had always seemed to me that the tighter your curls, the uglier they are. (When I was little, my mom used gigantic rollers in my 3C/4A curls to try to get some of the kinks out.) It took me many years to realize that my kinks are beautiful, especially now that I've learned to keep my hair healthy. My hair may look crazy to some, but that doesn't mean I have an out-of-control personality. Friends and co-workers who know me, know that I'm somewhat reserved, annoyingly organized and wear my curls confidently. (I get many more compliments since I went natural several years ago.) I hope to be able to spread that confidence to others no matter what the hair type! *8)

I bet you're a knockout, natural curl! Unfortunately, some professions just don't understand the beauty of curly hair!

I'm 37 years old, 6"1' and I have type 3a,b,and c curls, and am really surprised to read this article. Maybe i'm naive, but I've always gotten compliments about my hair throughout my whole life. I'm successful, fun, bubbly, and people have told me that my curly hair fits my personality. Random strange men have come up to me in bars and said I have beautiful hair, my hair dresser loves playing with my hair, co-workers and friends are all jealous. I've lived in a world where i get judged for my height as a tall woman, but it's never been about my hair. Not sure where the stereotype is coming from or why. I freakin love my curly hair. The bigger and curlier, the better.