Every Naturalista at some point made a decision that chemically altering her hair was no longer on the “hair routine” table. We were all shocked by the soda can melting while in a tub of sodium hydroxide (key component of hair relaxer), in Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”. Also things such as time, costs, and overall health of the hair likely influenced most as well. We all have our reasons for deciding to embrace a relaxer free hair routine. For me, as an example, going natural seemed like the only way to keep hair on my head. After years on hair breakage and chemical burns, I figured I would try anything to get off the rollercoaster that my relaxing addiction had me on. I had to get off…my sanity was at stake. Seven years later I have a full head of healthy non-chemically altered hair.
This change of view on how to take care of our hair has been amazing to watch. We are starting to embrace more of our own beauty versus harping on the beauty that of other cultures. I do believe that all people are beautiful and there is nothing wrong with versatility. But for too long our hair in its natural state has been looked as either unattractive or radical reflecting a political stance. To see women of all different backgrounds accept their own hair is verifiably revolutionary in an environment where few forms of beauty is accepted.
Even in this moment of acceptance, has a new discriminatory culture begin to take form? A sub culture of Naturalistas that look down on women who are still relaxing their hair has begun to rear its little self righteous head. Yes…I myself have been guilty of preaching on the dangers of the “creamy crack” addiction. And yes, I have been pushy. But it has always been the chemical I was speaking against, not the person who wanted their hair straight. It was not until I hosted a Natural Hair Care Party that I had a friend of mine, who has relaxed hair, express to me she felt that Naturalistas can be a bit snobby when it comes to her decision to keep her hair relaxed, that I became aware of this attitude. The feeling is not that of encouragement she was clear that there was a judgmental attitude that was running rampant. At first I kind chalked it up to my friend over thinking the situation, but over time I have noticed attitude of superiority of some of my fellow Naturalistas. I want to go on record as saying that this type of “I am better than you because of my hair” attitude is played out. This is the same exact type thinking that has been poisoning our community for years. Why would anyone think something as trivial as hair would reflect who a person is? What does that sound like?
We are all beautiful and have the right to wear our hair whichever way we choose. We as Naturalistas, she be promoting healthy, hair not going on a campaign to belittle those who are straighten their hair chemically or by any other means. The issue in my eyes is that fact that we would use a dangerous chemical to straighten our hair. I would never look down on someone who wants to alter their hair…that is normal. Every culture changed hair color, goes from curly to straight, or straight to curly. There is not just one way to look, we can switch it up like everyone else. How you go about it, is what needs to be discussed. Besides, we have all been around women in our own community who are judgmental of our curls, kinks, and locs. Both attitudes are wrong. We as women need to start looking to build each other up not tear down with condescending looks and comments. We should shun that type of thinking since it mimics the thinking that taught us, as black women to look down on our own beauty. So ladies, let’s be aware of how we speak on relaxers making sure we highlight the negatives on the chemical not those who choose to use them.