l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

love, life, and the pursuit of liberation

keeping it real

I’ve had some thoughts swirling around my mind in the past few weeks (months) about hair that have finally come to head, no pun intended.

Since I made my decision to relax my hair, I’ve had all sorts of responses from people, ranging from the “if you’re happy i’m happy” to the “i’m disappointed.” Yes, people, disappointed. The latter comments have really upset me, not because I take it personal, but because of the level of self-centeredness that some people have about MY hair. As if a decision I make about MY hair should have any forbearance on how people feel about me.

As I’ve sat back and pondered this, I’ve come to realize that it seems *to me* that some black women with natural hair are doing the precise thing that they claim to be against- creating a notion of what is “good” hair and what one should do with their hair. Instead of it becoming about embracing their own beauty, it’s been a reclamation of the tools of domination, but this time with a status switch. It reminds me of those so-called radicals who only want to emulate the same power structures that exist, except with themselves as the head. It’s not about dismantling the power structures at all; just claiming it for themselves.

Yes, I know. It’s just hair right?

I have valued so much on my natural journey, mostly learning about myself, not being afraid of my beauty and embracing what works for me. At one point, I may have been anti-perm. But for those who have known me for so long will testify, it’s simply not that deep for me anymore. Just as wrong at is to preach that one should straighten their hair, it’s also wrong to say that one should wear it naturally. At the end of the day, it’s about “shoulding” someone into compliance with a standard of beauty. (I won’t get into the ugly remarks and perceptions that are made about women with straight hair that I’ve encountered.. People forget that you can’t use the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house.)

So what’s my point? Black women, we are beautiful, unique, diverse, and move beyond the mold. There’s no need to be divisive about who is and who isn’t valid, who is and who isn’t “real,” who is and who isn’t beautiful. We are all valid, real, and beautiful simply because we ARE.

I apologize in advance if this is rambling, but I had to get it out while the words were making sense to me. I welcome your thoughts. I’m even thinking about posting this on FB..

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13 comments on “keeping it real

  1. Shawn Grandy
    November 23, 2010

    Good stuff! Couldn’t have said it better myself….

    Like

  2. PoetrysTruth
    November 23, 2010

    I will be honest and say that I am anti relaxer/straightening because of what it seems to represent for the majority of black women…that there is something WRONG with our nappy hair. I know you don’t personally feel that way but the mindset runs rampant in our community. I don’t want sisters to feel they HAVE to relax, that not having flowing hair is a defect in our DNA. That’s makes me sad. I want straightening to be an OPTION not something we are taught HAS to be done from the cradle to the grave.

    I don’t take issue with sisters who choose to relax as long as they don’t block my flow I’m not minding their business, but I have found that something about MY nappy hair sets SOME relaxed sistas on edge. Like some how MY choice is questioning theirs, trust when I say I don’t care that much about folks I don’t know. I really don’t. LOL!

    Like

    • liberationtheory
      November 23, 2010

      I agree with you that it should never be about something being wrong about hour hair. But I am finding that some women assume that women with straightened hair have a certain mindset that may or may not exist. It’s kinda like the anti-beyonce/shethinksheallthat type thing that really is only deep to the one doing the hating.

      I also agree with you that it should be promoted as an option, not a “should,” which is the crux of my argument. All “shoulds” are wrong, in my opinion.

      Like

  3. PoetrysTruth
    November 23, 2010

    …and let me add (LOL) I don’t believe in tearing a sister down to lift myself up. Not IRL.(Cuz you know I go IN on folks in the celeberie LOL)

    Like

    • liberationtheory
      November 23, 2010

      I haven’t been on NP in some months. But I’m with you. If you’re busted, you’re busted be it straight, natural, light, dark, famous, everyday, whatevs.

      Like

  4. Chi-Chi
    November 23, 2010

    I cosign with your post sis!!

    Like

  5. Thorn
    November 23, 2010

    I’m trying to be awake enough to write a hair post about our new three-year-old now and I think it’s important to nurture natural hair love in the little ones. That said, I think it’s important for them to have role models with all sorts of hair! I wouldn’t want her hating her curls because Mama and the other women in her life all have locs, you know? If she decides to relax her hair when she’s older, I hope it will be because of some of the kickass black women who’ve inspired her and not because she thinks it will make her look like me.

    Like

    • liberationtheory
      November 23, 2010

      I completely agree with this as well. One of my friends brought up the same thing about her daughters. As a parent, I want LA to feel confident and beautiful as-is. I want her to learn how to care for her hair and feel empowered in general. Then if she were to choose something different as an adult, she can make an informed decision, not one that was forced on her at a young age. In my generation (oh I sound so old), relaxers were “grown up” things anyway. Almost none of my friends got perms before puberty, so we got some semblance of knowing about our hair. For us, perms were the equivalent of being grown, not more beautiful per se.

      Like

  6. KJ
    November 24, 2010

    Girl please!! That is your hair do with it what you please!!!! I was natural all summer and just begged for a relaxer a couple of weeks ago…and received it!! Don’t sweat the small stuff. wear you hair natural and happy or relaxed and happy. Do what is convenient for you and what fits into your lifestyle and be happy in it!!

    Like

    • liberationtheory
      November 24, 2010

      That’s exactly what I intend to do!

      Like

  7. Pingback: Monday in Numbers « l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

  8. Tawanda
    September 10, 2012

    See I just posted a status about this on Facebook on Saturday. We will always find a way to create division.

    Like

    • liberationtheory
      September 10, 2012

      When I read your comment on FB, I was nodding in agreement because women are on some serious ISH when they are insecure in their own power.

      Like

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2010 by in hair and tagged .

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