Who Has the Right to Tell You What’s Natural?
The natural hair movement is more popular than ever before, with an increasing number of women making the choice to go for the BC. Even the New York Times is running features on their online site about black women making the choice to ditch the chemical straighteners and embrace their naturally textured hair.
This is an amazing opportunity for women to finally accept the hair that God gave them and refuse to succumb to the pressure from society and the media to ‘westernize’ their looks. However, it is also a topic that is becoming increasingly politicised and women who haven’t transitioned seem to be coming under pressure from those who have been trying to push them to follow suit.
The multi-talented Solange Knowles has worn her hair both treated and natural at one time or another during the course of her career and is also the face of a popular hair care range. Recently she came under so much scrutiny from #teamnatural on her blog about her hair that she felt compelled to take to Twitter to make it clear that “My hair is not very important to me...so I don’t encourage it to be important to you.”
Why Are we so Interested in How Others Choose to Look?
Why is it that some people feel that they can tell others how they should live their lives? There are perfectly valid arguments in favour of natural hair on the basis that the products used to chemically straighten it can be very harmful and in the same way that you would probably choose to avoid counterfeit drugs to protect your health, making the choice to avoid these chemicals can be much safer. However, the key point is that it is a choice that you should be free to make for yourself, there is plenty of help and advice on hair care products for natural hair and if it’s something you want to do then that’s great. However, God gave us the ability to decide for ourselves how we want to live our lives and it’s important that we make the most of that.
This problem doesn’t stop with natural hair though. How often have we seen celebrities in magazines being abused in print for daring to leave the house without make-up or with their hair left loose rather than perfectly styled? There are other celebrities being condemned for wearing too much make-up rather than embracing a more ‘natural’ look, and this is slowly creeping it’s way into our everyday lives. Groups of women (and men are just as guilty) sit around together picking other women out as they go past and critiquing them based on their own opinion of whether someone should be more or less natural.
When Did it Become OK For Us to Tell Others How to Live?
Whether you choose to wear your hair naturally or not this is a problem that is not only affecting Black women, red heads are constantly told that their hair colour isn’t as pretty as other colours and women who leave their hair curly are made to feel ashamed of it being frizzy. Concurrently, overdone hair or make-up is frowned upon too. Why have we decided it’s OK to make these judgements? God gave us our bodies and made them the way they are but he also gave us free will to choose what we do with them. From things as simple and temporary as hair colour or style, make-up or body products to permanent body modifications like piercings and tattoos, as long as we choose to do it why do others think that they can judge our choice?
If we all let each other get on with looking after ourselves the way we want too we would all feel a lot less pressure to conform to being a certain way. Therefore if you want natural hair, have it. If you want to use products in your hair to make it look a certain way make sure you know the risks and weigh the options but, if after that, you still feel it’s right for you then do it! And if you want to dress a certain way or have your make-up the way you want it remember there is no one who can stop you. Maybe if we all start living in our own truth and making choices for ourselves we will all be much closer to living the way God intended.
Belinda Malone is a freelance journalist. She specialises in work about fashion and the arts though loves nothing better after a hard day writing than chilling out at home with her 2 cats and a boxset of 24.