Two Sisters, Two Naturalistas Photo taken by Elena Muslar
Throughout this blogging experience, I’ve shared natural hair history, modern day challenges, and the perspectives of women across the nation. One thing that I have yet to do, however, is share my own personal journey with natural hair. This post will share my top three reasons why I’ve chosen to be natural.
Reason Three: Costs Savings
Like many things in life, the almighty dollar did play a role in my decision to go natural. Prior to going natural, I would spend an average of 100 dollars a month on salon visits. As a college student, this was far from feasible. My natural hair is much more affordable and most of the styles I wear last longer than styles that I would get at the salon. Fortunately, I’ve been able to learn how to braid and twist my own hair because these styles tend to be fairly expensive if you have to go to a professional.
Naturals Across the Nation Photo respectively taken by Fashion 156
The number of natural hair wearers has grown significantly in the United States. Based on my viewership, I thought it would be interesting to explore natural hair and its prevalence across the nation. Therefore, I’ve dedicated this post to my natural sisters across the world. Botswana, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Canada have all viewed Au Culturale. Knowing this, I thought it was only appropriate to explore the opinion of natural hair in a few of these countries.
Rhonda Lee, a Louisiana Meteorologist was fired after politely responding to a viewer about her natural hair. Photo respectively taken by The Marque Group LLC
In my last post, I introduced the topic of natural hair in the workplace. For any individual who has transitioned to natural hair or is considering the switch, I think this is a very relevant subject. One thing I’ve struggled with since transitioning to natural hair is finding hairstyles that I feel are appropriate and professional enough for the workplace. I oftentimes struggle with wearing natural styles since I’ve been told that I look more appropriate with straight hair. It seems that feedback like this is fairly common for natural women. There have been multiple cases where women have been scrutinized or punished as a result of wearing their natural hair.
Professional? You be the judge. Photo respectively taken by Newstalk
For natural women, hair in the workplace can be a sensitive subject. Some women are deterred from transitioning to natural hair out of fear that a western workplace will be unaccepting of the natural hair culture. Although some may find this hard to believe, discrimination based on hairstyles is a very true reality. But I’m not talking about the 16-year-old girl with messy blue hair that is trying to get a job at the local McDonalds. I’m also not talking about the 18-year-old girl with 12-inch spikes on the top of her head. Those are extreme cases where the individuals have chosen to significantly alter their own hair. I’m talking about qualified black business professionals who have been scrutinized based on their well-groomed natural styles. I’m referring to the individuals who have chosen to let their hair grow, unaltered by chemicals and straighteners.
Some battles are truly unforgettable. In biblical times there was David and Goliath. In the 1800s, there was the Union and the Confederacy. In film, there was Batman and Bane. For the African American woman, the greatest battle of them all is the battle between “good hair” and “bad hair.”
Good hair is understood to be hair that is straighter, longer, flowing, and more manageable. Bad hair is traditionally considered to be coarser, shorter, and kinkier. It is at a young age that African American girls are exposed to the battle between the two. I can still recall when I was in the second grade and sang what I thought at the time was an innocent childhood rhyme.
“Bald headed hood rat, your hair can’t touch your back. Perm it. Weave it. You know you need it. I’m so happy. My hair ain’t nappy. It used to be nappy. I was so unhappy.”
For the black queen, there has been one thing that has bonded us to our fellow sisters throughout the years— hair. Dreads, braids, twists, Brazilian blowouts, or the good ol’ fashioned fro have been redefined as the years have gone by and a natural hair culture has emerged. For many women outside of this hair community, the topic of hair may seem trivial, simple, or perhaps even irrelevant. But for the hundreds of thousands of women who have embraced their natural God given hair, they know that the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears is far from trivial. Nor is it simple. In fact, it is extremely relevant. This blog aims to unveil the importance, history, and African origin that is rooted deep in the natural hair culture.
Natural hair is a challenge not for the weak willed woman. It is a true test of a woman’s self-esteem and ability to defy society’s standards of traditional beauty. Natural hair is an embrace of the true African experience. The roots on our natural heads bring us closer to the roots of our natural environment − Africa. It was here that we had no chemicals, perms, or the countless straightening products available on every shelf. We only had our hands and the hands of the women around us. We had our grandmothers, our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, and our friends. Inherently, we had ourselves.