Going natural is a liberating experience, but some have realized that being natural comes with its own standards of beauty that may isolate naturals with certain hair types. Let’s explore the invisible lines drawn from hair typing/stereotyping.
For many growing up like me, hair has always had a standard of beauty. Young girls were considered pretty if they had long pig tails or bone straight relaxed hair. You had good natural hair if it was long and wavy. This has changed in recent years as being a natural, regardless of texture, has been embraced – but has it been celebrated?
Several would agree that in the natural hair community (NHC), hair types have distinguished how you take care of your hair but has also defined a new standard. The choice of going back to wearing natural hair usually stems from ‘rebelling’ against society dictating what good hair should look like. But have we shifted from one standard to another? The answer is quite simple.Scroll through your Instagram page and you will find memes and hair pages that discuss and celebrate natural hair. Look at posts that have naturals with wavy, loose curls or coily hair. You will notice their posts are popular because of their hair texture. They are looked as attractive to the opposite sex, as some men would prefer a natural who doesn’t have very coarse hair texture. You will also notice naturals with coarse hair are being likened to have ‘Celie’s hair’ a character in the iconic movie ‘The Color Purple’ who had coarse hair and wore her hair in twists. It is also fair to say that although not all women with coarse hair are subjected to this comparison, it is still a stark number. This standard also defines good hair vs bad hair. The bad hair isn’t only defined by the state of the hair but also the texture. Ironically, the ‘Celie’ hair type has also become a signature for strong women. This also poses the question; does NHC have its own standard of beauty that has drawn invisible lines on what is a good texture or bad texture? To an extent one would have to agree. It can also be said that the lines have not been intentional but are present. The community has also tried to make sure ‘texture shaming’ is not tolerated, as naturals should always have a place where having beautiful hair shouldn’t be dictated by their hair texture.
We’d love to hear your opinion. Join the discussion
Written by Lungi Moore, Re-blog from EGL and edited for this format.