Why do black women hate their own hair?
Ntsiki Mazwai1948 views | Thu, 26th of August, 2021
I speak for every dark skinned girl who has ever been shunned for trying to steal the limelight of a yellow bone, and for every natural haired sister who has been overlooked for a weave.
The weave has had very real and emotional implications in our lives as black women. We have all been faced with the dilemma of changing what we look like to fit into the mainstream. How sad it is that we didn’t have Cinderellas and Snow Whites, to emulate and reaffirm our beauty as little girls? How sad it is that we did not have Barbies to play with, who looked like us to remind us that we are beautiful. Beauty was always long hair, a pointed nose and a skinny body away. Beauty was never kinky hair, dark skin and an ample body. We learnt to hate our own image because we did not look like Cinderella, Barbie or Brooke Logan. What we looked like, was at the opposite of beauty it was seen as ugly and dirty. We were the colour of the soil…. Dirt. We were not taught to celebrate that we were the colour of the EARTH. We disassociated ourselves from nature and believed we looked dirty. With images of us in the media camouflaged with the brown earth, we associates ourselves with the world image of poverty. Looking African was something negative.
Education is not helping us much either because, even to be in these western educational systems, means we must see ourselves from a white point of view. And so white people educate us on what it is to be civilized, and we mimic their every move, even their hair.
I know I am now sounding like a broken record, but how can we move forward when we keep getting stuck at the same place? Where we are unwilling to address, why black women have moved so far away from what they naturally look like?
You may argue that all women beautify themselves, but the other races are not switching races with their hair and putting on exaggerated face beats on a normal day to day basis. This trend is coming heavily from black women. Why are black women doing the most to change what they naturally look like?
I keep catching a lot of strays as this a very sensitive subject, and I understand. It’s just that I would far rather we addressed this issue and came out comfortable in our skin; than for us not to address it and continue this circus I am seeing on black women’s heads. I call it a circus because when white people wear wigs that look like our hair, they laugh and call themselves clowns.
I see the black women media hails, the black women that black girls should be looking up to and I am concerned that it does not represent the values of traditional African beauty and values. At the top, there is only room for black women who assimilate white women in aesthetic and decorum. If you dare to look African and don’t subcribe to make up and weaves, you will be labeled as dirty. Your hygiene will definitely be in question should you have locs, even worse without make up. The irony of it all, is that, it is the product on the faces that makes water dirty when we wash our faces.
I see a new trend coming in where black mothers are now putting wigs on kids heads. This is how generational curses are passed down. Because we are the generation of black women who normalized hatred of our own hair, we teach the same to our children.
Wouldn’t it be just so much easier to teach ourselves to love the hair that grows from our scalps?
What I see happening is the sibling in the house who was stolen by amginsta, is now the role model for what we should be in the house. African Americans have been a bad role model. They don’t help our identity issues. They have been put up on a pedestal for us to ooh and aah, and mimick their behavior. However, they are the stolen cousin and they had to adapt to the streets. They had to change themselves and their names to SURVIVE. We cannot look to them for issues concerning African beauty and identity, that portfolio belongs to us to define.
For as long as we are not defining that agenda by unpacking why we hate our hair and how we intend to fix that, it will be left to white people in boardrooms to define African standards of beauty for us.