Written By: Felicia Leatherwood
People tend to make a lot of assumptions about why people go natural and most of those assumptions are based on their own beliefs about why everyone should be natural. And along with those assumption comes a great deal of judgment about how others choose to maintain their hair. But is that fair? Who are we to judge someone’s choice to be straight, or wavy, or curly or kinky or relaxed!?! Have we gotten off track with the meaning of the whole “I’m Natural” movement?
Personally, I’ve always believed that the choice to go natural was about freedom and self-love. But after talking to lots of women about how they feel about their hair and reading numerous negative comments all over social networking, I’ve come to the conclusion that the way we feel about other people’s choices in hairstyles are generally a reflection of our own insecurities.
Many of us may grew up with negative stigmas implanted in our brains about our hair through constant verbal negative repetition, and even if our mothers didn’t say we had tight or tough hair, it was implied by the look on her face whenever she came with the jar of Blue Magic and the pressing comb! Maybe we went to school with bullies who called us “nappy headed” or felt that we didn’t get that boyfriend because of our hair texture or type! But that is not the case for everyone. Not everyone grows up hearing that their hair is nappy, tough, rough and bad. So, could it be that some of us want to march against the injustice of how others treat their hair because of our own negative self-perception? Soooo many reason for us to be angry and judge what natural hair should or shouldn’t mean to others.
When the natural hair community first came out strong, it felt like a very pride-filled time, but as the days, weeks and years are flying by, there is an air of disharmony and mean-spiritedness! What is happening to our strength and our confidence? Why are we the only ones getting into debates every time one of us changes our hair; even creating forums to have other people decide what we should do with our natural hair and if it is appropriate for public view? The negative chatter I have seen throughout social networking feels judgmental and sad. People are throwing their opinions around like there is a shortage of negative gossip in the world; expressing opinions about women who are straight hair wearers to the children of celebrities who are barely able to walk! Somehow, we seem to be losing our way. So, let’s remove some of the emotional layers and get to the heart of why some of us feel it’s OK to attack one another because of how we choose to wear our hair.
What can be done? How can we bring the positive, loving, supportive community that once existed, back to it’s powerful place of strength, unity and Love?