Why we have to stop pressuring black women about their hair.

Hair should be just hair.


In August 2018, I shaved my head.

I was tired of spending four hours in the bathroom every weekend. I also got tired of the pressure on black women and their hair. For women with unsmoothed hair, hair isn’t just hair. Whether in the professional world or in our inner circle, our hair is always criticized, analyzed. At work, our hair in its natural state is considered « unprofessional ». In everyday life, we are always asked the same questions « But then how many times a week do you wash your hair? » « Is this your real hair? ». Sometimes it sounds like unhealthy curiosity. I understand, of course, that for people with different hair at the best of times, my hair can be a source of curiosity. But I feel that I don’t have to put up with incessant questions or people who allow themselves to touch my hair without my permission as if my hair belongs to them.

The hardest remarks are not those that come from outsiders, but from close friends and family. Remarks such as « You’re not going out like that right? Do your hair, your hair looks tangled ». These are the most hurtful remarks because it proves that our own family has internalized what is defined as « beautiful hair » in society and they now consider the standard of beauty to be straight hair. So they consider their children’s hair and therefore their own hair to be unworthy of being loved, unworthy of being worn with pride. Fortunately, over time my parents have learned to love my hair. I didn’t really leave them much choice, you might say. My mother even cried when I shaved it off. She was much more affected by the new cut than I was.

In the end, I decided to shave my head not because I thought my hair looked ugly or because I just wanted a change of haircut. It was more an act of rebellion on my part. A rebellion because I was tired of being defined by my hair. I got tired of being stressed out as soon as the rain fell because it would ruin my curls that I had spent so much time defining. I got tired of people projecting on me a style, a personality based on the different haircuts I had.

Even though shaving my head didn’t solve the problem because people are now projecting on me the idea that they have women with shaved hair: lesbian, boyish… But the main thing is that it felt good. I took the time to understand that no matter what happens people would project opinions on me based on my haircut, my figure, the expression on my face. But now the only thing that matters to me is how I define myself.

Remember that only your opinion matters. The rest is secondary. So love your hair. Love yourself because no one else will do it for you.

Take care of yourself.

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