So I was sitting in class during the break I mentioned that I needed a haircut. (I really do!) A fellow student asked me how often I cut my hair. I didn’t want to tell her that hold on to every inch like the hair miser I truly am. She informed me that her daughter gets her hair cut every 8-12 weeks or so. I try not to let my jaw drop, as I have seen her daughters long, thick, curly mane in pictures.
Somehow we started talking about hair products. She mentioned that a ‘sista’ told her that hair industry likes to make money on white women who adopt black children because the mothers can’t try the products on themselves and therefore have to blindly keep buying products to manage their children’s hair.
I thought that was an interesting angle but I could not agree. I believe the hair industry preys on anyone who does not have the “standard hair”. By standard, I mean: light-colored, shiny, bouncy, straight-ish, medium thickness, and very long. Don’t believe me? Google “beautiful hair”. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Your back, right? You see what I’m saying?
This standard of beauty is…frustrating, for lack of a better word. For females of African decent, this standard absolutely contradicts the way the hair naturally grows out their heads.
So what’s a black female to do? Pay a great deal.
The black female must pay emotionally when she realizes that her hair is not considerd normal the way that it grows out of her head. Living in the South, I grew up hearing about “good hair” vs “Bad hair”. If you had good hair (i.e. hair like the google search results), it added to your beauty. If you had “bad hair” (google “unpretty hair women”) then it was a shame because it detracted from your beauy. But fear not, because there is something that you can do to fix your flaw. Pay.
Pick your poision: chemical relaxer, heat appliance, other hair defining devices (e.g, roller, rods, curlformers, etc), wigs, hair extensions, hair coloring products, “hair-beautifying” products (e.g. gels, creams,lotions, potions galore). Anyone who has seen “Good Hair” by Chris Rock or has been in this situation knows that prices for these services and products can get steep pretty quickly. And then there are the products, oh the products! Bloggers have termed many a desperate woman a “PJ” (product junkie) for the almost excessive habit of purchasing hair products in search of the “Holy Grail” that will give them the “perfect” hair they so desire.
Of course, these women don’t just pay wth money. There is time, energy, and often pain. There is the emotional defeat of trying a product that doesn’t deliver the desired results. And oh yeah, then there is health issues. I have heard that many African Americans are reluctant to work out because they do not want to mess up the hairstyle that they poured so many resources into attaining. We won’t talk about how money spent and time spent on hair care leaves less resources for other stuff. For example, if I buy that Kinky Curly line for about $60, that’s 60 bucks less that I have to spend for groceries. If I spend all day braiding my hair, you best believe I won’t be getting sweaty or swimming anytime soon. There are trade-off’s and they must be made to get “beautiful hair”. Oh did I mention that many popular treatments and products can cause hair damage, permant hair loss, and even cancer? Yup, pay up black women!
For those who have jumped on the natural hair bandwagon, the standards of beauty still persist. Google “beautiful natural hair” and you will see images of black women with long, full, defined manes. Curly hair reigns surpreme. Bloggers go gaga for defined “3c-4a” locks over the “4b-c” or less defined looks. I’ve seen the 4a hair sites flourish while 4b sites suffer from neglect. You can Google “wild hair” to see that fluffier looks are considered uncivilized. It seems as though even some of the natural folk are aiming to get as close to those unnatural beauty standards as possible. Often times they pay the same price as their “non-natural” counterparts.
I could blab for hours on this topic but I won’t. I just wanted to leave you with the comment my classmate made about her daughter. “I refuse to make hair such a big part of our relationship.” Way to go mom. She is not her hair and she has so many other qualities that make her who she is as a wonderful little girl.
And that’s my 2 cents 4 U!
❤ A ❤