Hair comes in all shades, textures and lengths. When people discuss women who wear their hair “natural”, they are usually referring to women with naturally curly or kinky hair. Many women of color from different ethnicities and of mixed race have to deal with questions, comments and concerns about their hair from people that at times will never understand what these women may go through with their hair. Similarly, women of color that choose to relax or perm their hair or wear extensions often times deal with a barrage of questions and concerns about their hair occasionally as well. Whether you choose to wear your hair in its natural state or not is your prerogative. Here are a few words of advice to people that may not understand what it is to have curly/kinky hair:
7 Things Never to Say to a Woman with “Natural Hair”
7. Can I touch your hair?
The answer is no. Women with natural hair are asked this question all the time. Thank you for the fascination with our hair but unless you are a stylist, we’d prefer you not running your fingers through our hair. We do not ask to touch your hair therefore we do not want you touching ours.
6. I would hate to have hair like that.
It astonishes me that people would actually think this is ok to say but it happens more often than it should. Everyone is unique and different in their own right and if you don’t have something nice to say, then keep your comments to yourself. It’s rude and inconsiderate.
5. I wish I had hair like you.
Learn to embrace your own beauty no matter what it is. People with curly hair often want straight hair and people with straight hair often want curls. Its ok to embrace how you were born, as long as you accept you, so will everyone else. No need for comparisons.
4. That must have taken a lot of work, I’d go crazy.
Ok, yes, at times it does take a long time to care for natural hair but we know how much work it takes and sometimes we lose patience but you adding your two cents about the difficulty of it doesn’t help.
3. Don’t you ever wish your hair was straight?
You may not think this is insulting but it can be as hurtful as asking someone if they wish they were born with a different skin complexion. Fact is, whether or not someone wishes they were born differently is their business but for someone else to suggest that something is wrong with who they are is inapporpriate.
2. Why don’t you relax your hair?
This is an ultimate NO! Please do not advise anyone that they should chemically alter their hair. If a woman is wearing her hair natural, its because she is embracing who she is and that is the style she prefers. So for you to suggest her to relax her hair implies that you don’t like her hair therefore you should keep your opinion to yourself. No one asked for your input.
1. I like your hair better straight.
This is a big pet peeve for many people with naturally curly/kinky hair. At times people with curly hair may blow dry their hair straight but this doesn’t mean we are unhappy with our natural curls or kinks, sometimes we just want a different style but unfortunately society wants many to believe that straight caucasian hair is more attractive and appealing. So next time you think you are giving a compliment think again. If you state to a person with curly hair that you prefer their hair straight, they most likely are taking it as an insult.
Feel free to share your experiences in our comments section below. Dialogue is the way to awareness on many social issues.