Is Natural Hair Helping Or Hurting Black Women Today?


Let’s face it, the idea or the perception in the world about black women is clear; we are strong, mouthy, angry, and loud. We are difficult to get along with which results in many Black men choosing to turn their backs on us as their choices for a girlfriend or wife. Do I agree with that notion of us?  HECK NO!

It’s shallow to assume any type of woman is easily categorized with the same attributes based on such a stereotypical point of view.

Other than the majority of us being discriminated against because of the color of our skin, we are very different. Can I be loud? Yes. Am I loud 24/7? No. Can I be angry? Yes. Am I angry 24/7? No. You see where I’m going with this?

Any woman can be angry, loud, mouthy as well as difficult but somehow we have been labeled with these negative qualities. As if black women don’t have enough to deal with, we are being singled out because we choose to wear our natural hair.

You can almost feel the pressure of it like a threat hanging over your head, “change or else”; you will stand out, you will not be accepted by us, you won’t be fit for that promotion, you can’t go to school here. The message it communicates is that our natural hair is an offense, so is natural hair helping or hurting black women today?

This gives way to an even deeper question; what is the purpose of all the talk about embracing diversity, if there is still a concerted effort in effect to force conformity on us? Some of the steps to get us to subscribe to the “sameness” of the standards of Eurasian beauty are so glaring while others are a bit more subtle.

Workplace Woes


It is almost like being caught between a rock and a hard place and often that is where many of us find ourselves in the workplace. Taking up for yourself should be understood but if you do it, you may be labeled one of those all too often used labels listed above. I remember when I was working for a state agency how I was made to feel my natural hair was not up to par.

I primarily wore my hair in a wash and go style back then (like now) but the couple of times I wore it straight a co-worker made a point to comment on how wonderful my hair looked. She even went so far as to say it was more ‘professional’. Whaaaat? Yea, she said that with a straight face and yes, that person was in a supervisory position.

Stand up for yourself in a case like this and guess who gets the wrong end of the stick? I am not a fan of others feeling the need to tell me what is professional or not with my hair. Clothing? Yes, you may have a valid point there, but my hair? To me that is crossing the line.

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About Sabrina Perkins


Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, http://www.seriouslynatural.org/ where the focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. I became natural 8 years ago at the tender age of 35 and love sharing my ups and downs as I master this thing called natural hair. Married, with two kids (one being a natural herself) gives me a different perspective on our hair and why I love being natural. I want healthy hair, long hair and sexy hair! I'm an older natural---that's right---I'm grown and sexy, and I have much to share. I love fashion too and recently opened a clothing shop for beautiful black women at www.seriouslynatural.spreadshirt.com

About Sabrina Perkins


Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, http://www.seriouslynatural.org/ where the focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. I became natural 8 years ago at the tender age of 35 and love sharing my ups and downs as I master this thing called natural hair. Married, with two kids (one being a natural herself) gives me a different perspective on our hair and why I love being natural. I want healthy hair, long hair and sexy hair! I'm an older natural---that's right---I'm grown and sexy, and I have much to share. I love fashion too and recently opened a clothing shop for beautiful black women at www.seriouslynatural.spreadshirt.com

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Nicole Malone Carroll

Helping. We are the most emulated people on the planet. Once we see our un Europeanized beauty, others will follow as history has proven. We have centuries of white privilege/supremacy to debrief. Everyone should be comfortable and happy in their natural state, everyone.

Tiffany Murphy

Helping, the acceptance of who you are in the fullest can only enhance the quality of human you are! It’s evolution!

HelenChristine Keller

I love who I am. It has empowered me. I have accepted myself and I am happy.

Bernice D Hagins

Being Natural has given me liberation and life!

Taneesha Culture Clash Thomas

helping of course…how could it possibly hurt anyone to embrace their natural beauty?

Felicia Robinson

Definitely helping. Going natural has helped my self esteem. And the world is standing up and saluting us. I see the natural on tv commercials, magazine (not ours), movies and everywhere out. I love it and thank God for all the sisters who held it down all these years and has informed us of knowledge to care for our hair. Much love and proud to represent. We haven’t seen the half of what The Lord will do for us. I’m happy to see the little ppl hairstyles.

Karen Johnson

Helping!! Healthy hair also makes you want to make your overall life healthier

Sarah Juchemich

Why am I not surprised that a school in Florida tried to ban natural hair? Ugh. Natural is beautiful! As a white woman with a Jew-fro, I can say that the European ideal is frustrating for all women who don’t fit the “ideal”- but women of color have it extra-difficult. It is tremendously powerful to stand up and confront ideals that seek to oppress you. So natural is beautiful and it’s revolutionary.
The article talks about some white people feeling at ease when people of color embrace more euro-centric looks. I do think there is merit in that statement but also feel that advertisers use that insecurity to keep women in general, tied-up in our appearance and more worried about our ability to look thinner, lighter, and younger than our ability to manage a stock portfolio or buy a home. Anyway, viva la revolution!

Assata Knox

Well said!!!! 😉

Daiquiri A. Holland

It’s helping.

Andrea Williams

How can acknowledging your DNA hurt?!

Shireen Lyons

Helping definitely….this is just the beginning. It may be hard for us as the sort of “pioneers” of going natural. We have a lot to figure out, sort through and overturn. But when you think of it, the next generation will be that much more comfortable with being who we are naturally and that will keep going.

Querida Joy
Querida Joy

How can wearing your natural hair hurt you? I dont understand why we are still so concerned about what others think of us. People will always have opinions about our hair. That is their business, not ours. As long as you are not denying me my rights , I could care less about your views on my scalp-grown, God-given hair. Maybe if we would stop trying to fit in and stand out, this would no longer be an issue.

Thomasina Ricks

huh?

Sabrina Richmond Perkins

There is a lot of flack from some when we wear our hair in it’s natural state. Just last week a poor little girl was about to be expelled for wearing her hair natural and the school called it a distraction.

Thomasina Ricks

hair cannot help or hurt, its people’s attitudes that help or hurt

Andrea CallMe MsAquafina

Helping black women know that their own hair is beautiful.

Andrea CallMe MsAquafina

Helping. Lettin black women know that their hair can grow and be beautiful too.

Germaine Robinson Anderson

I don’t understand why is it such a problem for us to embrace our natural selves. But as long as we are straightening our hair to be like other cultures its okay

April C.
April C.

It’s just another form of oppression . All the negativity even from other sisters is a shame but not a surprise. Folks fear what the don’t understand. We will just keep moving forward.

Mieshel Jett

Totally helping!…I’m not only embracing healthy hair, but lifestyle as well. My change has also motivated others!

Renee Strob

I believe it is helping. I see so many young ladies wearing their hair natural and it is encouraging. I have been natural for 2 years and it’s still a challenge for me to accept my own hair at times because of those opinions of kinky/curly hair. It has been an interesting experience overall. I’ve noticed who accepts my hair and who doesn’t. Generally, I get encouragement from other races, black women, lastly black men. It’s discouraging that (in my experience) that I don’t get much support from black men (especially when it was shorter).

AlexxaRhea Lee

Helping! It’s been the best thing we’ve ever done that shows true love care and acceptance of ourselves and each other.

Rachel Thomas

Why does it have to be so deep though? Lol. Its hair. Yep. I get the history & expression etc. Just do you. Be it natural or otherwise. Is it clean & ur confident n feel pretty? Lol Rock it n keep it movin

Donna Campbell

I love my natural hair would never relax it again feel like I’ve found myself again. Feel strong and individual. Love love love!!

LaVanda Godbee

Very interested in reading a well articulated opinion that natural hair is hurting us. As for me, natural hair is right in line with my natural choice of foods and my preference towards natural exercise. As I gain more knowledge, the more I embrace my natural journey. Being myself is invigorating and liberating. For me, there can be no happiness without my self-acceptance.

gena
gena

I think that’s the whole point, little girls in school Being denied access to education
Or women at work being bullied. It slowing Invading on your rights,
And of your not strong enough, you can forget it.

Amena Hamilton Agnew

Both…unbeknownst to people you will get discriminated against in interviews/at work…but on a personal level it helps you feel more liberated, ready to take on new challenges

Amena Hamilton Agnew

Some of you that say it doesn’t hurt anything I beg to differ. I have spoken to many men who do not like natural hair and also like I said before at work and/or interviews they do discriminate at times…but I do notice older men appreciate it but the brainwashed men my age (30’s) do not appreciate it…and yes I said brainwashed.

gena
gena

I know its definitely helping me. Through research I’ve been able to understand
My natural hair, love every kink and curl, and my beauty and knowledge has been enhanced this whole
Natural journey.

Vicki Steverson

Before I walk out the door, I look in the mirror and say, damn my hair is the bomb. I then walk out the door with my head held high, knowing my hair is on point, feeling healthy and happy. If people have a problem with my hair, that’s what it is, their problem. My hair be looking to good to deal with peoples negativity.

Shay Carr

Both. Black women are finally learned to accept thier hair types. On the other hand, The popular black women are having the european look being pushed into our community. I.e. Nicki, beyonce. It is hurting us & making our look natural more harder to be accepted. Its happening at once. Its tough.

Niecy
Niecy

We have the most sought after beauty, so what would you expect from a colorless world?

Kelly Hall

I think it helps, Alot! Im more confident today than I ever was in life. I went natural 5+ years ago, and its been a constantly evolving journey of self discovery, acceptance and honesty. Professionally, I have had no problems in pretty conservative environs. As for my attractiveness, specifically to black men I feel they are more attracted, and I’m a big girl! (evolving her way back to her smaller self!) But no lie and all humility, I pull men aged 18-81 (and a few women too, lol!) Own your own beauty! The response will shock you. The women I see on this page are stunning!

Muniyrah
Muniyrah

Very well spoken article!

Lozette Clemons

I can honestly say both depending on the situation.. helping becuase its a nice thing that more and more black women are comfortable with their own hair- hurting becuase and this is depending on the individual- it is causing a division sometimes. i hear so many women that are natural down women with relaxed hair and say their health is unhealthy- they are appealing to european standards, its a form of self hate- and some relaxed women will down women with natural hair too, but their are women like me that understand healthy hair comes in many forms and both are beautiful when done right. btw my hair is hot combed not permed- the great thing about black hair is that it is so versatile and not one is better than the other. personally i wear my hair straight wavy curley weave natural what ever i love black hair period and all the wonderful things you can do!

Nadia Bent

Helping, its definitely a plus it show us how to embrace our self, love our self and what God has blessed us with, we were made unique for a reason, we stand out among all cultures and I love it

sherice1965
sherice1965

It’s helping. Every time I see a black woman on a televison commercial, her hair is natural. I really don’t think society has a problem with our hair….maybe some of the more ignorant individuals do, but if we love ourselves and are confident with how we look, how others feel about our hair should not matter.

Teets Vicky

When u have those old dry.. Ashy… Fro’s yes it hurts. It looks as if u are neglecting your hair. If it looks dry and ashy u probably are. My husband loves my coils.
Take pride in your natural & nourish your hair. Natural hair can be accepted just as much as relaxed hair. Check out the tv commercials now days. 80-90% of the African American women are natural on them,and I don’t mean Victoria’s Secret commercials!
I will never touch a relaxer again- 2 yrs and counting

rdyson
rdyson

I have a friend where it will be three years since her last relaxer. She is one who has her hair heat trained because she does not know how to care for her hair any other way. After seeing that my hair is growing, I’m relaxed, and using natural products she is just now trying to care for her hair. She’s also asking my input on different styles she tries when she doesn’t flat iron. Whew! It’s a journey and only if that “unruly” group of naturals would take the time to learn about caring for natural hair, I think it would be more acceptable. You know how society is, they take the small group of bad apples and lump us all in the one dumpster… smh

Eve
Eve

I believe that Black women, which I am part off, are loud, mouthy, angry and have too much attitude. I do not think that we have to behave like any other race but the fact is here and none other us can take care of it. If our black men are turning away, I don’t really blame them as I, myself, wouldn’t want to settle with a man who is always angry or doesn’t deal with problem gently. I think we need to give ourselves some respect and accept to recognize that we have some changes to make and it does start by loving our own hair, being natural, let go of anger and attitude. It is true that sometimes any human can get angry but we are not tagged and stereotyped as always angry, mouthful and full of attitudes for no reasons. It is a fact that we have to accept and change. Any race is not perfect and the best way to change, yes we also have to change, is to face our defaults and qualities, not compared to another race but to the women God wants us to be.

shanna mc
shanna mc

That is so not true. Not ALL of us are like the ones with no home training or those who have poor ghetto mentality but not all of us. I believe that type of behavior comes from a poverty stricken area and in most cases are african american but there are also other races

Valencia
Valencia

If you feel that natural hairstyle makes your confident(wonderful). However, if you are confident w/relaxed hair(wonderful) too! People will talk about each other no matter the style, so be yourself. I was natural back in the 90’s –it was considered “out of style” at that time, but I endured critism, but that was my choice. I am no longer natural and that is my choice. I see hair as beauty no matter texture or style.

Doris Morrison

people should not stop us from being who we are and for the guys who dont like us means they dont like themseves. lets make oyr own companys that wearing your natural hair wont be a problem.

GoldenD
GoldenD

This has been a point of contention for me for YEARS! The armed forces have so many regulations about hair, many of which are discriminatory. There are also the unspoken rules. This affects men as well. the main rule for male hair is that it not touch the ears and doesn’t touch the collar. There may be a length rule, but not sure. Black men are harrassed if their hair is barely longer than a near scalp fade! As for the ladies…the bulk rule. This has been in existence since at least the 90s. Your hair must be above the collar and may not exceed 3 inches in bulk. Locs are now “against regulations” and last I heard, there were attempts to do the same for twists and extensions!!! It is hard enough to be a woman in the service without such BLATANT discrimination. One of my Sorors has beautiful locs and has to hide them under a wig to avoid having her career affected.

It’s nice to chat amongst ourselves, but we should bring to the attention of the masses to combat it. Last I checked race, religion, sexual orientation were protected. The civil rights movement, gay right movement….Looks like the natural hair movement should be next! However, the stereotype of us being militant may be perpetuated…SMH!

Juliet Iziegbe Areghan - Okonkwo
Juliet Iziegbe Areghan - Okonkwo

I HAVE BEEN NATURAL FOR 2 YEARS AND I FIND IT EMPOWERING! HOW CAN THAT BE HURTING? IN TRUTH, I AM OF THE OPINION THAT WE STICK TO OUR GUNS UNTIL NAY SAYERS ARE FORCED TO ACCEPT OUR POSITION.
IT IS NATURAL FOR MOST PEOPLE TO RESIST CHANGE UNTIL THEY REALIZE ITS HERE TO STAY.I SAY THIS BECAUSE OUR FIRST MISTAKE AS A PEOPLE WAS ‘CONFORMING’ IN THE FIRST PLACE !
A FEAT I FIND MOST STRESSFUL AND WASTEFUL (EXCEPT FOR FASHION PURPOSES ONE DECIDES TO TOW THAT PATH).
HOPEFULLY YOUNG GIRLS OF OUR RACE WILL BENEFIT FROM THE MYRIAD OF CHOICES (STRAIGHTENED OR NATURAL) THEY’D HAVE IN THE FUTURE.
THANKS

GN
GN

Hi I’m 15 and have been wearing my natural hair for 6 months. My school has never told me my hair is distracting but I get distracted by peers distracted by my hair. They like to pull at my curls or stick their fingers in my hair. During class I will get questioned about can I feel them touching my hair etc. They have a notion that I can’t feel anything because of how thick and curly my hair is! Anyway I believe its helping, because more girls are wearing their natural hair! I get tons of compliments on my hair from both men and women even more from black men. They tell me to keep it natural and that its beautiful! xp

Linda
Linda

I went natural 10 years ago. There were few women “brave” enough to do it. For me it was a matter of time. I have woefully little time to do hair. I was amazed by the negative response of some blacks. I was down right shock by the utter fascination of whites by my natural hair. Whites are far more appreciative of natural beauty than some in my own community. Oh, the irony!

rdyson
rdyson

Wearing our hair natural has helped some and hurt some women. I say it’s hurt some women because when they went natural they did not know how to care for it and that left them “lookin a HOT mess!” Some felt because they didn’t relax all they have to do is go to bed and get up and go; not realizing that they still have to care for the hair even if no relaxer is used. For those who did it because they wanted/ want to learn to care for their natural hair it has helped. This category of “naturals” has taken the steps necessary to bring a standard to where being a natural can and is being appreciated. It is showing mom’s of yesterday that because their daughter’s hair is kinky does not mean they don’t have “good hair” and need a perm/relaxer; they just need to know how to care for it. In my opinion, and I’m a relaxed girl, being natural has helped a lot of women become more confident in who they are because they realize that they can have unrelaxed hair and still have it be called “good hair” regardless of whether the hair is straight or how light or dark their skin color.

Diana G

I am 54 years old and had relaxed hair for about 30 years. I am once again “NATURAL” and am loving my kinky, curly hair. I had forgotten how BEAUTIFUL it is…… I ENJOY SEEING ALL YOU YOUNG LADIES ROCKING YOUR NATURALS; YOU ALL ARE AWESOME AND VERY CREATIVE !!!!!!!!!! I HAVE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT MY OWN HAIR BECAUSE OF YOU…………. We “NATURALS” are a CREATIVE group of people, if they don’t want to accept us let’s “CREATE” our own businesses and corporations……….IJS……..

CurlSense
CurlSense

I’d have to say it’s helping me. I’ll be honest, there was a time when I had a perm and I thought I’d never wear natural hair, let alone wear it out in public. I wear it in an undo, wear it braided and twisted out and can even get it in a ponytail. My hair is healthy and growing longer and in December I’ll be 3 years natural. At my daughter’s middle school I’m so proud to see sooooo many children, female and male embracing their natural coils.

Shontae Farrington

Its helping us black womens feel spiritual, life changing,rejoicing love,and free about themselfs.

Pamela Smith

How can it hurt?? The woman wearing her hair natural is doing so for various reasons and all those reasons should be for her only. I wear my hair natural because it makes me feel good to not have all those chemicals in my hair and to just be natural. I’m not doing it to start a movement, wage a war or have a bitter disagreement with the white man or any man/woman about hair. I mean, it’s OUR hair. We were born with it. I didn’t see Bo Derrick start a white girl movement or riot when she wore braids in her hair. I think we need to keep the posts about HAIR-loving it, wearing it, experimenting with it and showing each other what we do with it. All these negative articles make me wish I’d never started looking for these sites. What happened to it just being about our hair? If anyone, no matter where I am, has a problem with me wearing my hair naturally, I’ll look them straight in the eye and tell them, “The day you start paying my mortgage, my car note, all my utilities and home schooling my son, that is the day I will go back to relaxing my hair. And by the way, that day ain’t neva gonna happen, ya hear me!”

Lynne Young II

Why does it have to do either one? Why can it just be something a black woman chose to do or not to do?!

Debra Manora

natural or relaxed who cares. just wish everyone will ” do you “, i dont care how yo hair is, just dont look down on me cause i prefer mines a different way. no agreement needed just do you and dont worry bout mines.

Nildy Mary Chapman

Its helping; because the day i decides to let my hair be natural i really discovered and accepted myself the way i trully am.