The discussion of hair among Black women (and by others about Black women) is always a huge topic. Reason: hair means different things to different women. For some, it’s one way in which they express their love of our ethnicity. For others, it’s all aesthetic. I’m sure that if you ask ten different women what their hair means to them, you will get ten different answers. In this post, I’m sharing my take on the subject-what my hair means to me.
But first...here's an update! This post was originally published on 09/18/15. Today is 06/24/2018. Eight months after writing this post, I went natural. I have been natural for over 2 years now (but I still wear my wigs, lol). It was a personal choice. I reached a point of realizing that I had never known the true texture of my hair. It's a process of embracing more of me...that's all. In addition, relaxers were no longer having the same effect on my hair. It was time to move on from them. Do I still see hair as an accessory? Yep! Does it define me? No. I'd be just as beautiful with or without it.
India.Arie sums it up best…
I am not my hair. To be quite frank, I see hair as an accessory or an expression of how I feel at any given point in life. Depending on the occasion, the mood, or my outfit. I wear many different hairstyles. Braids and twists are convenient. For some reason, during the summer, I love curly styles. I reach some points at which I just want to cut it all off (been feeling that way lately-change may be coming soon). I do get bored with hairstyles and I change it often. I absolutely love having the option to change it up whenever I want, however I want. My hairstyle is not among the characteristics that define me as a woman. If I had no hair, I’d still be Antoinette, the same on the inside, looking a little different on the outside.
For those who consider their hair an extension of their cultural pride, I totally get it and I LOVE to see it. Pride in oneself in whatever form (not including any act done in the name of pride that denigrates or harms others, of course) is a beautiful thing. I’ve never been one to consider my hair as a measure of my blackness. Neither is wrong. For me, my pride is expressed through my love and appreciation for my ancestors and all that they sacrificed, striving to honor their legacy in all that I do, and ensuring that my children understand and are informed about our history. Even if I, at some point, decide to rock a bone straight, blond wig/weave, I’m still the same immensely proud, beautifully melanin-infused woman that I will always be.
I also have major respect for those who have given up the ‘creamy crack’ simply because it’s not healthy. I agree with that sentiment and I have tried…three times y’all. My hair is the epitome of 4C, and in its natural state, it’s a lot of work. So, yea, for me, certain hairstyles are a matter of convenience.
Unfortunately, there are women who are defined by their hair. They will NOT be seen with their natural hair, ever. It’s a huge topic that I won’t delve into too deeply. It’s one of the reasons that we have to teach our young ladies about their self-worth—those things that should define them and those things that should not. It’s something that I insist on with my own daughter—that she have a love and understanding of herself that is so strong that it cannot be uprooted by minor, aesthetic issues or the opinions of others.
So, for me, hair is…
Another update! You know what truly annoys me? Those who assume that, because a black woman straightens or colors her hair, she is trying to be white. That's such nonsense and I wish that it would stop. Those who see hair choice as an indicator of self-hate have so much to learn about women and what drives our fashion and beauty choices.
Tell me. What does your hair mean to you? I look forward to the discussion.
Antoinette C. is a blogger who delights in all things that foster unity and growth in women. After all, if the woman is happy and fulfilled, so is her family and community. Through Truly Charmed, Antoinette will introduce you to women who have inspired her, and who will, hopefully, do the same for you! Here's to your charmed life!