Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Repost: Natural Alienation
There's no denying that the natural hair community in general is a very welcoming place. For many, it's the first time someone can feel accepted for who they are. I've been lurking on blogs for a while, and I rarely comment because I can be painfully shy (both in person and online) and I've also witnessed people being down right attacked for innocent views like coloring or straightening their natural hair, or even debating who can call themselves natural or not. It annoys me as well, when certain people's experiences are "dismissed" because one group feels they aren't valid.
Sometimes I come across dialogue about how this group of naturals have it easier then others, usually decided by hair type or curl pattern ( the 3s and the 4s). I've even had someone say it to me in person, that I have "good hair" so I couldn't possibly understand what it's like to struggle with hair and it makes me feel dismissed from the natural hair conversation--and I didn't know I was playing in the oppression olympics -___- My experiences may not be the same as someone with a different texture, but I still came from a barrel of bad hair days, frustration, and disliking myself simply because I didn't know how to manage my hair. I had terrible self esteem and natural hair taught me acceptance of my whole self. So of course I'm dismayed when someone decides that I don't matter because my hair story doesn't align with a certain "natural hair journey" narrative that others have constructed.
And now onto my major pet-peeve: deciding on who can call themselves natural. I tend to ignore this debate and I'm not even sure it's that big around these parts but it's still something I come across every now and again and it's irritating. I was told some time ago that because I have my hair colored I'm not natural. That someone who still straightens their hair isn't natural. I've even heard that twist outs/braid outs and using henna means that you aren't truly embracing your texture and therefore shouldn't be considered natural. There's all this pressure to adhere to about people's individual hair choices as if there's a recipe you're supposed to follow which can lead to alienation of an entire community founded on embracing yourself.