We live in an extremely superficial society. How we look to others means everything, and it's even more pronounced against women. This desire to look young, skinny, pretty, and sexy is pressed upon us as little girls, and it continues until we just don’t care anymore. I may be taking the cynical route in this discussion, but as this natural hair movement continues to harness momentum, more women of color are discovering beauty within themselves that they never saw before.
Our natural hair has been linked to our childhood when most of us were still in pigtails and our mothers were taking care of our hair. By the time most of us were able to take on that task we were relaxed and getting the press and curls while admiring and wanting straight hair. It’s nothing to be ashamed of desiring straight hair. Straight hair was (and in many circles still is) the epitome of beauty; a Eurocentric standard no less, but a standard that is crumbling under the weight of self-love and acceptance. So, is embracing your natural texture as easy as we say it is?
Nothing is simply black and white in this world and that also goes with natural hair and its tiers of beauty standards. That just means within the natural hair community we still see some hair textures as more beautiful than others. Curly hair is considered more beautiful than tightly coiled hair. This superficial division is as disheartening and damaging as colorism and unfortunately, wishing it away is as fruitful as playing the Powerball for your retirement plan. It’s not going to work. Only by digging into the psyche of women with coily hair can we identify why we have to make a distinction of what is "more beautiful" is even necessary.
So I ask again… Must all women with curly and coily hair accept and love her tresses?
Yes, they must but hear me out before you roll your eyes and assume I am saying something so obvious but accompanied with no solutions to this problem.
- Do not beat yourself up over not liking your natural texture. It takes time to shatter the false perception of a solitary type of beauty and then to pick up the pieces to see the broad spectrum of beauty.
- Do not stick to someone else’s timetable on when you should accept your own texture. Learn to work with your hair and find the right products to keep it healthy.
- Do not covet the hair texture of others, as it will not lead to loving and accepting your own texture. Hair envy is a slippery slope and not a positive step in your natural hair journey. Find examples of naturals with hair texture similar to your own and watch them love their tresses.
- Do remember that this journey is a personal one, so know that loving your tresses is the only way to have a successful natural hair transition.
- Do look to YouTubers with who share your texture to learn styles, methods, and products that will guide you in the right direction.
- Do learn to love yourself completely, as self-love and acceptance will make your world a bright place to live and share with others. You will have to love your natural hair texture. Even if it takes you longer than others, realize your beauty is just waiting to be loved and admired by you.
About the author: Sabrina, founder of seriouslynatural.org and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.