The ideology that naturally curly hair is a negative trait in the black community has been around for longer than most people can remember. It is so powerful that young black girls are indoctrinated by their mothers, fathers, peers and the media from a very young age into thinking that their hair is just not beautiful.
They are told that the solution is to have longer and straighter hair like Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez or Nicki Minaj. Between the ages of 10 to 14, young females are constructing their own understanding of self-awareness, confidence, beauty and adapting to what they think it should be. In black culture, hair is seen as a woman’s crown and glory.
It frames her face, draws attention to the ‘right’ features and affects how a she carries herself. In order to be the world’s standard of beautiful, black women must relax their hair.
Relaxing or perming is the process of chemically altering the natural curly state of your hair. This is a permanent effect that leaves your hair looking bone straight, shiny and tamed (unlike an afro!). Relaxers have become so addictive to black women that the creamy crack has to be applied the moment they notice any natural new growth on their hair.
The term creamy crack is the colloquial word for any relaxer or product that black women use to chemically straighten kinky hair. The crack lays emphasis on the fact that it can be very addictive but also dangerous.
People fail to acknowledge the dangers of relaxers because they are getting the outcome they desire from it. Alopecia can occur when the relaxing cream has been applied to the hair for so long that it begins to burn through into the scalp, leaving you with painful scabs and bald patches. The hair also grows thinner. A lot of the time, black women wear extensions with their relaxed hair to give it body and more bounce because the chemical trips the hair of its natural volume. The hairline may also recede because the relaxers are thinning the ‘baby hair’. Baby hair is the shortest hair and also the most vulnerable part of our head, it’s right at the front and receives the most manipulation when you style your hair into a pony tail or some kind of up do, or when you straighten the little hairs by your fringe so it can appear neater.
This ignorant definition of beauty that a lot of black women have come to know for hundreds of years is actually based on features of European women; basically white women. Therefore if your hair is anything similar to theirs, you are beautiful. Beauty is a subjective word relevant to culture. It seems like the only culture that matters now is popular culture as is has a greater influence on the majority. That it why young girls are easy targets.
However, in the last several years, the media has shown some little appreciation for curly, kinky hair and it has become somewhat appealing to certain aspects of popular culture. That hair texture is usually associated with soulful artists such as Jill Scott, Erykah Badu or the fabulous Marsha Ambrosia. Even the 10 year old sensation Willow Smith in known for whipping hair whacking hair back and forth! Natural hair should be about boldness and pride and that should be instilled in black women from a very young age.
Written by guest writer Princess Fisher
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