Monday, February 21, 2011

Natural Hair Sensitivity

I'm not really natural hair militant, until of course someone offends me personally. But there's a big difference between being personally attacked and someone's personal preference. I heard about Method Man apparently disliking natural hair (or the way it's worn, something to that effect) and while I personally wasn't offended by his comments I did notice that some naturals were--and I completely understand why. I started thinking more about it and wondered if those of us who rock our natural hair are too sensitive. I think yes but for very good reason. I don't think I need to reiterate the complicated history people of color have with hair, and while it's so awesome to see women embracing it, it's still being thought of as a fad, as if this storm is going to be over. In my New York (probably Harlem) accent, nah homie.

Hair for me was tied into my self-esteem, which is much better these days. So now I don't really care how others perceive me through my hair. At the office I work in, there's this guy who constantly comments on my hair: Changed it up again today I see, I'm convinced you change your hair everyday and uh oh pony tail! These comments are more annoying then they are offensive but I do wonder why he's so interested in making comments about my hair. Is it bad that my hair seems to change everyday (which it doesn't, it's weekly) does he see me as someone who can't commit to things? In the end, who gives a shit?

And then, there's how we are wearing our natural hair. Afros aren't appropriate (allegedly), short hair makes you "look like a boy"and protective styles like braids can make you look child-like. But this is our hair, and I thought one of the points of being natural is that you're not conforming, we're being ourselves. I really do not believe in certain natural hair looks being appropriate or not because that is subjective, it's personal preference and should not get in the way of our journey. Some people assume that when you're hair is done (like my family) it's in braids or twists. Others believe you're fancy when your hair is straight. In other words, the individual rocking natural hair is the one who sets the tone for themselves. We have to accept it for ourselves, and can't wait for validation from others, especially those who have no understanding of what natural haired folks of color go through. YOU have to accept your hair. And then perhaps we can be a little less sensitive because no one should be allowed to take confidence away from you.

I just braided my hair in preparation for a braid out. But while playing with it some more I thought, I could possibly go out with these possibly child-like braids...

I just used some bobby-pins to tuck my braids in. Perhaps this isn't everyone's preference and this might not be "done up enough" for the likes of Method Man, but I'm okay with it. Please keep your head up naturals, and feel free to let me know the sort of convos you have about natural hair sensitivity.


  1. A and men!!! Your post TOTALLY sum up how I feel. We have to feel that we are enough without looking for the validation of others. Is is easier said than done...yes...but its better than being hurt by the likes of Method Man.

  2. I agree. I try to check my feelings when I read things about natural hair because I already know what to expect most of the time. What upset me about Method Man wasn't that he had a preference or that he voiced it (in a very rude way). What I didn't like was that he didn't "own" it. The next day he was on the radio trying to do "damage control" because I guess he realized how many *paying* women (and possibly men) his oppressive opinions may have offended. The sad part is that I also realized they were borderline self-hate when he posted a picture on Twitter of his mom with dreads! All in all he just seems confused. But, if you don't like natural hair just say that and stick to it. Don't try to backpedal and "clean it up".

  3. @anon 10:08: I see what you're saying, I didn't even realize he tried to do damage control. Ultimately who cares that he did ya knw? lol. Let him dislike whatever he dislikes and keep it moving ya knw? I know sometimes we have to check our emotions though. Sometimes I still have to be like oh wait, that's an opinion and not vital to my life =P


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