I really try not to pay too much attention to controversial issues on social media, because everybody and her mother will have something to say – and I can almost always imagine what the sparring points will be.
In addition to that, there’s probably nothing I could add to the conversation that hadn’t already been said.
I’ve discussed the issue of hair somewhere else before so I’ve never felt the need to address it here. When I had talked about it previously, it was about the popularity of us women attaching hair to our heads that used to belong to somebody else and using it as one of the benchmarks of our personal beauty.
But the length (or at least longer lengths) of our hair is not the only thing that makes us beautiful – or so we’re told. Wearing our hair exactly the way it grows out of our heads should be everyone’s ultimate goal.
The natural hair movement, complete with Youtube tutorial videos on hair care, hair styles and hair typing adds to the confusion. “Natural Nazis”, or people who look down on you if you go near a hot comb or a tub of lye relaxer, may or may not be the same type of people who think that it’s okay to use a wig just as long as you sign a declaration that you’re only using it as a “protective style”.
With that brief background, you can understand why I chose to ignore the discussion centered around a Change.org campaign designed to get a popular American singer to comb her daughter’s hair. Joke or not (which the instigator initiator later claimed it to be), it was meant to show up a mother who decided that she would let her daughter’s hair be free – of (supposedly) a comb.
As a girl growing up in the Caribbean, and as a descendent of African slaves, I knew that my hair grew up and out, didn’t bounce and sometimes had to be manipulated in order for it to “behave”. Some West Indian mothers don’t discriminate between a boy and a girl when they’re babies, so you have to pay close attention to the clothing and not assume that the girl is the only one with her hair out.
These are probably the mothers who hold out for as long as possible before cutting their son’s hair, but that doesn’t mean they don’t comb it – even though it might look that way. Starting school means that boys get their first haircuts and girls enter the wonderful world of hairstyles – which for some mothers means seeing how many different ways they can put their daughters’ hair in “one”.
Over the years whenever I would see a little girl with disheveled hair I’d say to the mother (silently of course), “Wait, can’t you comb that child’s hair”? Because I thought that surely she could take a little time to wave some Vaseline over the child’s head and put in a couple of bubbles since, left to most kids, playing will always win over getting their hair done.
Even with all that, I never considered it appropriate to tell somebody else what to do with this thing called “hair”, but there does come a time in life when some things need to be dialed back – and we need to (gasp) conform.
This is how my determination to say nothing about this hair debate was foiled; it happened when I read that a woman is suing her former employer because she was fired for refusing to “tame” her hair. As a cancer survivor, she decided to eschew the use of chemicals that would make it easier for her to have a hairstyle that (to put it delicately), didn’t make her stand out as much.
Her large afro seems a bit on the unkempt side to me, but maybe she’s decided that a brush would mess up the look that she was going for. I’m all for being able to express yourself – even through your hairstyle, but I fail to see why the woman (who preferred standing on principle over having a job), didn’t just go to Youtube for a couple of tips, because some youtubers are really (hair) ninjas in disguise.
But who knows? Maybe she was afraid of the Nazis.