“You’re not really natural if you…”
Being ‘natural’ means something different to everybody; a large portion of us agree on one definition, while others agree with something else. Most people believe that if your hair is not relaxed, you are natural. Some people say that in order to be natural, you cannot have any chemicals in your hair–that goes for both perm and hair dye.
In extreme cases, people will say you are not natural if you straighten your hair or manipulate your curl pattern at all; meaning that you’re only natural if your hair is only worn exactly how it grows out of your scalp.
Whatever definition you choose to live by, please do not tell another person that they are not natural because they don’t fit your description. There are many different ways to be natural and more than one of those ways is probably different than what you do–but that doesn’t make it right or wrong, it just is.
Negative Conversations About Relaxed/Natural Women
Over the years, I’ve heard negative things about women with natural hair. How it was ugly, unkempt, nappy, and a host of other hurtful and untrue things. And even when I was relaxed, I absolutely hated the way people talked about my fellow Black women and their natural hair because how can you speak so badly about someone embracing their natural beauty?! It’s absurd, really.
Now that I’m apart of the natural hair community, I see some natural women saying some pretty harsh things about women who still relax. And truth be told, I’m puzzled. We made the decision to be natural because it was the best thing for us; and just like us, those women believe that relaxing their hair is the best option for them.
Negative comments on either side makes me upset because it’s simply not necessary. We as a whole are awesome because of our differences, and the versatility and uniqueness of our natural and relaxed hair is just another part of that.
Curl Envy and Texture Discrimination
Curl envy is basically being jealous of another curl pattern, and in most cases–wishing your curl pattern was like the one you actually like. Texture discrimination, on the other hand, is favoring one texture and curl pattern over another. Often times, people make one curl pattern seem better and more desirable than another.
I cannot speak for everyone, but when I see both curl envy and texture discrimination in action, the looser curl pattern is usually preferred over tighter curls, coils, and kinks.
A lot of women have struggled with both and it has ended up with them regretting or even ending their natural hair journey because they feel that their natural hair isn’t good enough or “pretty” because it doesn’t look like another texture or curl pattern.
I hate to hear cases like these because it really throws a wrench in the whole point of being natural–learning to love and handle your hair as is. Unfortunately, curl envy and texture discrimination tends to affect women with type 4 hair the most. Today’s beauty standards and push for looser hair is absolutely no help.
When you think about texture discrimination, it’s like the “good hair” conversation all over again–just on a different level. Luckily, most of us have already realized that our natural hair is amazing simply because it is ours–we have an understanding that it is beautiful and doesn’t need to be condemned or compared. Hopefully those who are having a hard time with curl envy and dealing with texture discrimination begin to see it too.