Hair issues are a big deal in Black Girl's World. Hair is a hurdle to healthy living for most. Sweat is the enemy to fresh perms and cute cuts. So many women opt to "go natural".
But is going natural healthy emotionally?
Truth is, many Black women are looking for a good man. Being in a loving relationship is healthy. In 2004, The Center for Disease Control found that married adults are healthier than divorced, widowed, or never-married adults. So my question - are men supporting this natural hair-volution?
There are startling statistics out there that 40-some percent of Black women will never get married. It's a dog eat dog world out there - no sloppy pun intended. ...and being a healthy woman, physically and emotionally, seems to be less of a prerequisite to getting a man, than being cute. Go figure. So, we have to be healthy and cute.
There is often a conflict between cuteness, as defined in the "Negro" community (yep, I'm up on the Census vernacular nonsense, don't fall for the banana in the tailpipe, fill out the Census!!!) ...there is often a conflict between cuteness and health.
For example. Black people appreciate ample booties. We just do. We celebrate thick, high, round big badunkadunks. This adoration of 'de derriere keeps every woman's neck craned back, like a Sankofa bird, on the treadmill to make sure that she is "skinny in the middle, but she got much back".
Just one example.
But a more insidious conflict is between the health of our hair - and self image - and our relative and perceived cuteness. We will burn our hair to a bacon-y crisp and weave it to our waistlines if it means we can look more like Kenya Moore. I found this picture on a black guys blog called Eye Candy. Why do we go through so much to look like this? 1. Because it's cute. 2. Because her long-haired silhouette defines femininity and sexiness in our collective consciousness. An army of mini fro sistas would rightly shut me down at this point for even forming my fingers to type this, but I believe it's true.
We have to face the brutal truth, that most men think long hair is sexy. Then, we have to convince them otherwise.
I think the website Black Girls with Long Hair is a smartly named natural hair site. They get 1200 hits a day, presumably from Black girls hoping that natural hair and long hair are not mutually exclusive.
The sister in the top picture is from a great blog called Naturally Fabulous! She says "I am not, I repeat NOT on some fast paced journey to grow long hair. I am no longer bound by the belief that long hair= beauty! Yes a woman’s hair is her crown, but perhaps its length is not the only way to measure its beauty. As a woman of African descent my hair curls and is strong and can bounce back after any weather condition and it is resilient. And as long as it is healthy it is beautiful."
So that is the million dollar question for you and your man. "Is healthy beautiful?"
Last night, my naturally coifed friend Dira explained to a table of gorgeous black women, that her Scandinavian fiance (yes, he's white AND he's marring her in one month!) loves her hair. She started by talking about their intimate wedding plans in Hawaii. "We don't need a big wedding", she explained, "we live a great life". Dira and Kris have traveled to the far reaches of the globe and they live in a picture perfect beach house. Last year, they chartered a private catamaran and sailed it alone through the Grenadine Islands in the Caribbean. They just got back from a trip in Venezuela. Dreamy.
Perhaps more dreamy - and sexy -is what Kris said to Dira about her hair. Kris thought it was unhealthy that she worried so much about her perm on these fabulous vacations, and he thought it was silly that she spent hundreds of dollars and hours in the salon getting it dyed, fried and laid to the side. He advocated strongly that she just - catch this - wear her hair natural. Here is the good part. He said he thought her naturally tight and curly hair was really beautiful. What a dreamboat.
Now, I can hear the cacophony of Black power rhetoricians saying that Kris' love for the black nap is somehow wrapped up in his white guilt. Wrong, he's an immigrant from Norway an the Norwegians ain't never hurt no one. And double wrong, because that line of logic is just tired and dumb. A smarter question is "why don't Black men say this to their women all of the time?"
I can also hear feminist yelling at me "You don't need a man to validate your beauty!!!!" Sorry...I do. Being in a healthy - and sexual - relationship, keeps me balanced and happy.
So what is my point? We all agree that natural hair is cute - to us. It reflects a healthy self esteem and all, but, is natural hair sexy enough to land that man you have your eye on? Do we have to marry Scandinavian Krises to be sexy with natural hair? Or should we post this story on FaceBook and ask the men we love to step up and sound off?!
I'd LOVE to see a litany of comments from men who are not afraid to say that they love natural healthy hair.... More importantly, I'd love to see real dialogue...
This group of dedicated Black women are committed to getting healthier, one goal at a time! Our Health challenges women to set ambitious physical goals for a good cause - to inspire our girls, our families, our churches, our communities to get moving! We believe ordinary woman can, and should become the faces of healthy living! Join us! For more information, visit our website at www.OurHealthMovement.com.