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Finding Kinky Hair Love

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kinky hair is more fun. Name any other texture on God’s green earth and I will still say that kinky hair is more fun. Historically, derogatory terms such as “nappy” and “wooly” (as in itchy and scratchy like fur) have been used to describe black hair. During slavery, these terms were calculated to dehumanize and deculturalize African slaves. At auctions, straight-haired slaves sold for more than kinky-haired slaves. After slavery, black women who styled their hair like white women were regarded as well adjusted and good. All these practices devalued kinky hair. We now live in a different time but the excuses or reasons are just as destructive. Most often, instead of concentrating on the things which are beautiful, brilliant and fun about kinky hair we concentrate on the negative. So, women argue that their kinky hair is too difficult to manage. Others wail that kinky hair is time consuming. There are not still more of these women who fiercely quarrel that kinky hair does not look professional nor does it look pretty. Kinky hair was not too difficult or time consuming or not pretty when we were in Africa, so then, why do we accept these excuses now? It would seem that because your hair may be difficult to tame or your hair may not look like every other person’s in the building that means that you cannot embrace the fun that is your hair texture. Right?

Wrong. In reality, many of these arguments are categorically untrue. Every type of hair texture has difficulties. Whether a woman’s hair is bone straight or made up of L’s and Z’s there are difficulties. If a woman has straight hair she still has to know how to keep it straight, stop the frizz and keep it moisturized. The same goes for kinky hair because different hair textures require different care routines. So, a willingness to understand natural hair texture is necessary in order to fully appreciate kinky hair. This appreciation then determines the way a woman perceives her kinky hair. This perception affects whether or not she believes that kinky hair is time consuming. It affects whether or not she believes kinky hair is unprofessional. It also affects whether she believes kinky hair is not pretty. This domino effect can only begin with an understanding of the characteristics of kinky hair. Releasing these inhibitions always leads to the same conclusion, kinky hair is fun!

Yet, some kinky-haired women who wear weave may challenge my views, saying that women of other races wear weave as well. While it is true that women of other races wear weave, the fact remains that generally kinky hair is dismissed and derided. There are many women with chemically straightened hair who would take offense to the idea that they have a deep-rooted issue with their kinky hair. Many women would not want to admit to the presence of such a deep rooted issue, but, the startling reality is that often, such women have a host of disparaging comments about kinky hair. Furthermore, when asked whether or not she has ever worked with her natural hair for a long period of time the answer, inevitably, is “no”. That answer and that attitude perpetuate the problem. It is fine for a woman to use weave or relax her hair. The issue comes when weaves or relaxers are used because of a dislike for the natural state of your hair. I have never heard a Nordic woman scorn her straight hair but I have heard many kinky-haired women scorn their hair texture. Just explore You Tube. Funnily enough, many of these women actually have had little contact or experience with their own kinky hair. How then can they determine that their hair is unmanageable, not pretty, or too time consuming? The issue here is not an appreciation of other hair textures; it is the disparagement of the kinky texture. An honest woman can like straight hair and weaves and relaxers, but she should not regard her kinky hair the way she like a tiresome and ubiquitous fly.

But, these are all understandable issues along the journey to the top of the mount. Dissenters and tentative beginners alike can all be inspired to release these biases and inhibitions by understanding one fact: kinky hair, eventually, becomes a fun and exciting journey. How so you ask? Well for one thing, there are more things which can be done on kinky hair than on other hair textures. Yes, curly is a close second but it’s still curly; curly is not kinky. Kinky hair is bigger, kinky hair is different, every kink is unique. This makes every head of hair unique, so that every person has a different journey and a new set of rules to learn about his or her hair! They say that God made each of us different; so then, kinky hair is a journey to discover who you are. Sure, it may be difficult, and you may have intermittent issues, but, take it from a pro, when you discover that your hair prefers safflower oil to olive oil (which might work very well for other people) the level of excitement and “Yay!-I-did-it” you feel is tremendous. You just discovered something that not only makes your life easier but that sets you apart. You just discovered something akin to the secret of life!

Some may support the stance that kinky hair is more fun by trying to turn it into an argument that kinky hair is better than other textures. But this is not my argument. Some may support the stance that kinky is more fun by pointing out that kinky is wonderful for structural hairstyles, but, this too is another argument which I do not support.  Don’t get me wrong, a kinky texture accommodates architectural styles perfectly, but, when I say that kinky is more fun I am not talking about extreme styling. I am talking about everyday hair styles, for work, for school, for the gym, for the pool, for the sunshine and for the rain. What I am saying is that the unique properties of kinky hair are what make kinky more fun.  Straight hair falls straight. Kinky falls up, down and out. Kinky accommodates twists, plaits, cornrows and locks easily. Women with straight hair go out of their way to add texture and life (bounce). Kinky hair has that naturally. What I am saying is that straight may be easy but kinky hair has more variety and is thus more fun. Since kinky hair becomes more manageable over time, a woman with kinky hair has the best of both worlds; she really does not have to trade in either— the manageability or the variety. Until kinky hair becomes a norm, kinky hair makes a woman stand out. As a woman, isn’t it fun to stand out in a crowd without even trying? Because everyone does not have kinky hair, kinky hair makes you interesting; it is a conversation starter.

Conversely, the benefits of kinky hair love are not just for women. A man reading this essay will wonder, “Why should these arguments matter to me?” I say because a woman who is comfortable with herself, and is honest, is a woman who is capable of being comfortable and honest in a relationship. If what you see really is what you get, then, from the beginning you start your relationship with the truth. If a woman has a thick enough skin to venture into the world as a specimen (scrutinized, because kinky is not the norm), then she is a woman who will not crack under pressure. These qualities are all necessary for a long-lasting, honest, and happy relationship.

At this point, I readdress the matter of choice.  There are those who may argue that there is not much of a difference between preferring straight hair and not liking kinky hair. There is. It could be that the woman’s facial shape does not look good with the body of kinky hair. If because of this she straightens her hair with a flat iron every day, I believe, she is justified in acquiescing and just putting in a weave. Sometimes it may simply be a case of wanting a change. In such a case a woman will flat iron or put a weave in. There are thus valid possible reasons why a woman could choose to wear straight hair. But still, just because a weave or chemical relaxer makes it easier to fall into the habit of hiding or changing yourself does not mean that you should. During the crusades and the holocaust Jews hid themselves to survive. After these horrendous events, Jews reasserted their traditions loudly and proudly. Why haven’t we?

Imagine that you are faced with a distressing problem. Then imagine that you decided to make the best of it and put your best foot forward. Doesn’t the problem become easier? Likewise, a woman should approach her kinky hair as a fun journey. This positive outlook makes a world of difference. What results is more than just faking it until you make it; it is an essential first step to finding kinky hair love. Life is what you make it. Kinky can easily be seen as a negative addition to a hair care routine and to life in general, but, a person who took the easy way out never achieved much. Did they?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. minna k permalink
    Monday, March 28, 2011 10:45 PM

    This is the best editorial on natural hair that i have seen. Thank you. Absolutely brilliant, and very VERY true. I want to wear the whole freakin’ article on a t shirt.

    • Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:16 PM

      Wow thank you so much! I wasn’t sure when I wrote it that anybody would get what I was trying to say…but I felt I had to write it all out.

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