Natural Hair vs. Weaves: It’s Time to End this Battle
Last week, The Root published an article criticizing a meme that made fun of black women who wear weaves.
Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris pointed out that this meme makes various assumptions about black women’s feels about their hair.
Contrary to what I expected, when I scrolled through the comments, tons of people agreed with the meme. Many of them argued that all black women who do not wear their hair in a natural style are struggling with low self-esteem, internalized racism, and self-hate.
In order to pull some folks out of this shallow, misguided thinking, I immediately felt the need to write this post. Let a buzzed-cut girl (who’s been natural her whole life) break it down—because it’s been passed time to end this hair feud.
In defense of weaves and wigs:
Now I won’t sit here and act like internalized racism isn’t an issue in our community. Some people have been taught (at very young ages) that nappy hair is ugly and unkempt. Sometimes weaves, relaxers and other hair trends are an expression of the internalized black hate that has been in our world for centuries.
However, not every girl with a weave has internalized racist views about their hair.
Wearing a weave doesn’t automatically mean you have low self-esteem or self-hate just like wearing natural hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re confident. Michelle Obama wears a weave. So does Janet Mock, Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Beverly Bond (Creator of Black Girls Rock), and many other powerful women. These women have to have a certain level of confidence in order to make it as far as they have.
Oftentimes women wear weaves for protective styling and convenience. Sometimes it’s easier to throw on a cute wig or wear a weave rather than raking through your hair and styling it all the time. Natural styles, including locs, can take quite a bit of time and effort to maintain.
In defense of Naturalistas:
Being natural isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of courage to be natural in a society that has an all-around hate for natural hair.
Natural girls get very little love in the mainstream, as very few of our major pop stars wear their hair natural when they’re in the spotlight. You hardly find natural hair in Hollywood, fashion, or even the White House (Wouldn’t it be cool to see FLOTUS rockin some double-strand twists). Natural hair is still pretty revolutionary, because unfortunately, our world still has an obsession with European standards of beauty. And unfortunately, our naturalistas are penalized and attacked for wearing their natural hair in various situations. Locs and afros are often viewed as unprofessional in a work environment, several private schools have banned little black girls from wearing afro puffs, and black women in the military have recently faced stricter regulations on certain natural styles.
Yet, natural hair has become on-trend lately. Tons of women are having the Big Chop, there beauty bloggers, tons of Pintrest, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts dedicated to natural hair.
Yes, we do need to teach that black hair is beautiful when it’s in its natural state, but we don’t need to shame others for straighter styles.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both natural hair, weaves, and relaxed hair. People do what works best for them.
At the end of the day, who died and made anybody the hair police? Browsing the internet, you’ll find memes making fun of natural girls and shaming girls with weaves. So whether you wear a weave or your own hair, small-minded people will talk shit either way. If you have a problem with anyone’s hair type or texture, this is all I have to say to you:
Mind ya business, that’s all. Just mind ya business. If it ain’t growing out of your scalp then you have no need to comment or feel any type of way about it.
Read more on black hair at A Womyn’s Worth.