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Sex + Relationships

It’s Not ‘Just Hair’: How Hairstyle Affect the Dating Life of Black Young Adults

“It’s just hair” is something that Black people often hear when we talk about the experiences we had growing up and have presently. These experiences often affect how we view ourselves and the way we style our hair in certain spaces. In this series, I interviewed young, Black people to get their perspective on how their hair affected their dating life. Their answers were based on personal experiences and give us insight into how important hair is to Black young adults. I will release each interview one by one in separate articles. Meet Aminah Badmus ‘22.

 

Name: Aminah

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

Her Campus: What hairstyle do you have right now?

Aminah: I have two Afro buns.

HC: What is your favorite hairstyle and/or color you have done so far?

Aminah: Blonde braids, box braids.

HC: What hairstyle(s) do you want to try?

Aminah: I wanna get some weave and try a bob.

HC: What is the most drastic change you made to your hair?

Aminah: I’ve done a lot to my hair. I guess cut it.

HC: How did your family react?

Aminah: They didn’t really care at the end of the day

HC: How did peers or a SO react?

Aminah: They were really supportive, some made fun of me but it wasn’t like bullying it was just like, I don’t know they called me “tennis ball” but affectionately.

HC: What are some things that you noticed about the way your dating preference talked about hair like yours before you made this change? 

Aminah: I felt more, I guess, perceived by guys when I had long braids or basically, like, weave or wigs.

HC: What was the hair beauty standard while you were growing up/when you noticed how important hair was? What do you believe is the standard today? 

Aminah: I don’t feel like there was a beauty standard, like there was always… [pauses] I guess the beauty standard was like straight hair just because I grew up on Disney. I thought I was supposed to… like my hair was supposed to lay down flat, I didn’t know what an afro was or how they don’t lay flat. Honestly I believe the standard [today] is either natural or whatever you want it to be. I believe natural is the standard right now.

HC: Do you think it has become more inclusive?

Aminah: Oh, yes. I think with Instagram, a lot of people are posting hairstyles more. We’re getting more and more creative every day.

HC: What are some ways that doing different hairstyles has changed the way you are perceived by your dating preferences? (were certain styles preferred over others, were assumptions made about you, etc).

Aminah: I feel like– well I don’t know, I don’t really ask– but for me, how I perceive the feeling that a lot of people see me as is like I feel like I’m more boyish or childish or a little masculine when I have my natural hair, especially when I try to wear it in an afro. And so it makes me look not as feminine as I would like to look. And when I have weave or– I guess I should just call them wigs– I think people see me more as a grown-up or, I guess, my age.

HC: Did the way that your dating preference or peers speak about Black hair, in general, affect how you styled your hair in the past and/or presently?

Aminah: Yes, I would say before, I really wanted to have straight hair but at my high school, the boys wanted a natural hair woman and I guess that really swayed me to start my natural hair journey.

HC: How do you view your hair now? Do you feel that it is a part of your identity?

Aminah: mhmm, for sure! Basically, if my hair is done a certain way, every part of my personality is based on my hair. Like if I wear long hair, I’ll try to be like a model or if I’m wearing how I’m wearing two puffs, I’d rather wear more pastel colors and try to be more whimsical and I wanna say, youthful.

HC: Did these experiences change how you go about dating?

Aminah: Um, yea. For first impressions, if I want to be perceived seriously as a romantic partner, I like to wear my hair down because I feel like that signifies that I’m ready for a relationship. But when I wear my natural hair I feel like, ugh, I feel like 16 again. Like “please don’t look at me.”

HC: Is there anything else you would like to let readers know/ final comments?

Aminah: I guess I would like to say that my hair is short so maybe that’s why I feel that way about my natural hair. I feel like if my natural hair was longer I would feel more mature but, it’s more on the length of my hair rather than the curls and the hair type and everything. 

 

Look out for more interviews!

 

Lourrain Simon

Agnes Scott '21

Lourrain Simon is a senior at Agnes Scott College majoring in English Creative Writing and minoring in French. Aside from writing short stories, her favorite things to write about are movie reviews and articles sharing her opinions about political and pop culture news. Her other hobbies include dancing and doing makeup art.
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