I recoiled as I sat on the train today and watched the dialogue between two white women and a black man. The group was discussing hair. White woman 1 remarked that she thinks spiky gelled hair is cool. White woman 2 said yeah spiky gelled hair with color. White woman 1 expressed that their black male friend could achieve this hair style. She then started to pet his hair as if he was an animal. She then said yeah your a chia pet. As in the animal plant chia pets that grow when you water them. WHAT! You are calling the texture of this black mans hair a chia pet. She then said I want you to be my chia pet. No, I will just buy one. I wanted one in college. Your lame attempts to buffer your statement will not work. You are disrespecting this man and his hair, that can achieve styles your bone straight hair could never achieve. You see family, this woman was actually jealous of this mans hair. She knew that her hair texture would never allow her to achieve spiky gelled hair the way she would want. She knows that her black male companions hair can. Instead of complementing him on the versatility of his hair, she calls his hair a chia pet. She degraded him, without the man even realizing it. She then says that he is her chia pet. So, this man is your animal. Her words speak to the psyches of white women. The privilege they feel their skin grants them.
This made me think about how black women are demeaned because of our natural hair, or our choices to utilize various styles with our hair. I am a big believer that we black women have divine beautiful hair. Our hair can be manipulated and done in various styles.
We can wear our hair natural straightened, coiled, curly, colored, shaved. short, long, wavy, permed, texturized, etc. However, when we strive to reject the Western and American standards of beauty we get criticized. Take Solange Knowles for example. This black woman has boldly defied what society dictates as beautiful and embraced her natural hair. She has been criticized by naturals about the way her natural hair looked. Read story here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2158324/Solange-Knowles-proudly-defends-afro-critics-natural-hair-unkempt-dry-heck.html
Solange was also criticized by a white female twitter about her hair. She stated that Solange would look better with a relaxer. Solange shut her down of course, but why all the criticism? It should not be deemed a problem if we black women want to embrace our natural hair. It should not be a problem if we want to straighten it, curl it etc. I salute any woman who wears her hair proudly and focuses more on who she is than the hair on her head. Yes, there are positives and negatives regarding whatever hairstyle, and hair choice a black woman may choose. However, it is her choice. We need to stop judging each other and grow up. Hair is hair. It sheds, it grows, it falls out. The person that you are is more important.
Also, never let anyone, not a another black woman, man, white man, white woman, etc. degrade you because of your hair choice.Your hair choice is yours. Do what makes you happy. Oh, and love yourself and your hair.