Get Over It: I’m Not Straightening My Hair to Make You Happy

woman-with-natural-curly-hair

There is nothing that sets me off more than someone asking me when I am going to straighten my hair now that I am natural! I don’t know what it is. Even if they say it in the sweetest way possible. It irks the heck out of me. Yesterday, I was talking with an African American teenage girl and out of the blue she questions me, “When are you going to straighten your hair?” I immediately asked her, “would you ask a white girl when she was going to make her hair curly?” And she said “no” and insisted that I answer her because she was just curious to know what I would look like with my hair straight.

If that wasn’t enough to turn my mood all the way down. A week ago I was speaking with a family member about the fact that I needed to get a professional picture taken. She questions, “Oh, are you going to get your hair straighten for that?” Quickly I responded, “No!”

I don’t get it. Why do people think that I am supposed to change what I am doing to make them happy, to make them feel comfortable, to make them feel relaxed, to make them think that I will be more beautiful because my hair is straighten?

Last time I checked I was in full ownership of this here body from my hair follicles all the way down to my gorgeously pained red toe nails. Why is it that I can’t rock the hair that grows out of my head while every other group of women get to wear theirs with no issue because their hair is straight or long?

I am happy with my natural hair! Since going natural a year ago I have fell in love with my hair texture even more and have learned more in one year then I’ve ever learned my whole life about taking care of it.

Straight hair does not equal good hair. Straight hair does not equal beauty just like curly or kinky hair does not equal ugly. Nor does wearing natural hair mean that I am anti-white either or that I am unprofessional, ugly, or unattractive because I rock what I got! Wilson sums this up beautifully in the following quote,

“To be pro-black is not to be anti-white. To love oneself does not mean to hate others. It must be understood clearly that the genuine love of one’s own ethnic group is the basis for the love of oneself, for the love of others and the basis for a loving personality in general”

Amos Wilson “Developmental   Psychology of the Black Child

What I am is a black woman who loves herself, her hair, her cultural heritage, and her life. My hair does not define me, but it sure as hell does add to my style, my presence, and my confidence. Consequently, I will not be straightening my hair to make anyone happy other than myself on occasion when I FEEL like it. I refuse to compromise who I am so you can feel more comfortable about who you are and what you believe to be true. My truth doesn’t reside in me trying to be like everyone else. My truth lies in my being me and natural is as real as I can get.

I Want to Know:

  • Are you natural?
  • Have you ever been asked to straighten your hair?
  • Why do you think people think it is okay to share their opinions in this way?

 

Comments

  1. Various people, ranging from friends, family members, colleagues, and even vague acquaintances, have suggested to me that I should straighten my hair. I am a woman of mixed race, and I have no doubt that the people who have wanted me to straighten my hair were simply more comfortable relating to me as though I were fully white. I used to hate my curls, but over the years, often with the help of websites such as these, I’ve come to love my hair and understand how to care about it and let it be itself! Now when someone wants me to straighten my hair I try to express to them in the politest way possible (after all, I am Canadian) my beauty has nothing to do with my ability to mimic pure whiteness. My hair is beautiful just the way it is, thank you!

  2. I am a white girl with beautiful, wavy/curly long brown hair. All of my boyfriends have asked me to straighten it at some point or another. It infuriates me. The last one, who I thought could be “the one” asked me to straighten it and said that he likes straight hair. I told him I wanted to meet just one guy… JUST ONE… who didn’t ask me to straighten it. It’s not just African Americans who deal with this craze for straight locks, it’s all races. And it’s depressing. I’m still hoping I’ll meet someone who loves me just the way I am, and doesn’t need me to make adjustments to my natural self to be attracted to me. Exactly the way it should be!

    • Thank you for sharing that! I am happy you were able to connect with the hair sentiments about non-straight hair. It makes me mad that others think they have a said in how our hair should be. When it is really is about them, and has nothing to do with us and how we feel about our own hair.

    • There is never a need for you to change for others. You are who you are and its their problem if they can’t handle your hair. I have hope that you will meet someone who will love you just the way you are.

  3. Hi everyone, I have very ordinary frizzy, slightly wavy hair and absolutely DO NOT like straightening my hair, I only do it if Im going out, my manager recently told me she wants me to straighten my hair so I can let it down, coz I always wear it up.
    I am not going to do it unless I really feel like it, am I being unreasonable or is she?

    • No, you aren’t being unreasonable. A manager can’t tell you to straighten your hair.
      Although, it is your responsibility to look professional and well groomed while at work. It is not your responsibility to change who you are for someone else whether it is at work or not.

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