Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!In comments, getting to the point is important and appreciated — but that doesn’t mean your train of thought ends when the comment does. If you were really engaged in the posts you read yesterday, you probably have more thoughts than what you put in the comments. Choose the one you found most intriguing and expand on the discussion or offer a different perspective than what was shared in the original by publishing your own.
Yesterday, I came across several blog posts that had me thinking all night and most of the day. The thoughts expressed in these blogs all intersect at the crossroads of beauty, racial-identity and self-love. It’s been almost two years since I decided to stop using a relaxer in my hair. When I returned my hair to its natural state, it was very liberating for me. However, it was sad to see the looks of disappointment and disapproval of family and a few friends. A few times, I even heard the word nappy– which was quite hurtful. As shared over on Dawn’s blog, the word nappy has always been a derogatory term. There is a whole culture and politics when it comes to African-American hair and nappy hair is right in the thick of it. From the power afro in the 1960s to twists, locs and other natural styles of today, black women are consistently judged on their hair and how it conforms (or not) to other standards of beauty.That’s why using the words nappy hair– as a hashtag to describe a bad hair day– is so disrespectful. The very people who hashtag it may NEVER know or understand what it means to have THEIR hair described that way. What may be a bad hair day to them, might mean a lifetime of self-loathing or damaged self-esteem for others. Black women spend millions of dollars every year on hair care. Our hair is closely tied to who we are, how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world. Which is why I found the post from Chocolate Vent to be funny, yet sad at the same time. The beauty industry has created products for all sorts of folks. Skin products for different age groups. Makeup for different skin complexions. Products for different hair types. So with all this diversity, you would think that going to a hair salon would be a more enlightened experience. #notsomuchIn all honesty, I have never gone to a hair salon that didn’t have black stylists. I once had a young white man offer to do my hair (this was when I relaxed my hair). I wanted to add some color, but was also considering a henna. He was completely confused. Why I do not know. But the look on his face let me know I should not allow him to touch my hair. I kindly requested that the black female stylist work on me instead.Now I felt badly, because all stylists have to learn somewhere. But I was not about to be the test subject. He was young, but clearly inexperienced in the differences between black hair and other textures. I just hate that I only feel comfortable going to “specialty” salons and searching for stylists that understand and are comfortable handling natural hair. Not every salon does. And not every stylist, black or white, knows how. And all this reflects in my mirror. Every day, I stare at my reflection with a sense of discomfort. Society tells me I should look a certain way, dress a certain way, wear my hair a certain way. And yes, I often willingly conform to these societal norms. But when my pants fit too tight because I have put on some extra weight or when my hair is just kinky and not the coily hair seen in all the beauty ads– I am constantly reminded of how much I don’t fit in. And when you don’t fit in, you usually get overlooked.