Natural Hair Matters!

The marginalization of Black people in the media and in America has significantly impacted the way black people, especially women, view themselves. From black people's emergence in America, our dark skin and kinky hair were deemed ugly and unacceptable. Now, that black people have rights and are embracing themselves and their natural features we see the emergence of natural hair in the media and in public. This is a great thing to see because just a couple of years previous the status quo was still relaxers and sew-ins. The media is starting to popularize looser curl patterns, but 4c hair still does not get the recognition it deserves.

From a very young age, black girls are expected to straighten their hair for any major events in their lives, instilling in them that their natural hair is not good enough for these formal situations. Which leads black girls to put excessive amounts of heat and potentially damaging their hair for graduation, prom, weddings, etc. Straightening your hair you can ruin your curl pattern and cause great amounts of heat damage, which just ruins your magnificent fro. Often as a child, a relaxer will be forced on you, before you're old enough to know what a relaxer is and what it's doing to your hair. Relaxers have been around since the early 20th century; This means that black people have felt pressure to chemically alter their hair for over a hundred years. In our society straight long hair is seen as desirable and sensual, and white women were always the standard of beauty to live up to, but for a black girl that is a very unrealistic standard, because black hair curls and it can also shrink, and because our hair may not show it's length it's then deemed ugly. This starts black girls hating their hair because now we have equated beauty to length and because of the lack of knowledge surrounding natural hair, it was difficult for black people to grow long natural hair (although many still found a way). A lot of the problems with natural hair came from a lack of knowledge because our mothers were forced to perm their hair and straighten it, and now they don't know how to deal with our natural hair. White women never had to have a natural hair movement, because there was never a societal pressure on them to chemically alter their hair.

When the workforce was integrated black people had to straighten their hair because their hair was deemed unprofessional. Locs and natural hair are still deemed unprofessional, but when white people recreate these styles they are praised for them. Natural hair still faces a lot of ridicule in the workplace and at schools, and this is from the lack of representation for 4c hair. Many young black girls this year, were sent home from school because of a natural hairstyle that her school deemed 'inappropriate'. Why must we alter our hair to wear it? What we refer to as Natural hair is the NATURAL state of our hair. If we do not chemically alter our hair it curls and forms an afro, and if you don't comb it, it will form locs. It is wrong for our society to ridicule the way our hair grows out of our scalp and the way the sun tans my skin. Yes, white people are beautiful, pale skin is beautiful, and long straight hair is beautiful. However, black people are also beautiful. Dark skin is also beautiful. Short curly hair is beautiful, and locs of all shapes and sizes are exceptional. There doesn't have to be one race defined standard of beauty, let the diversity of humans be our beauty.