I started my natural journey a decade ago and oddly enough, there still aren’t that many naturals in my community. It is still a big deal when I see another sister in the name of hair, it is still a major conversation piece, it is still in the minority. I am not a natural hair ambassador nor am I trying to start any sort of natural hair revolution, this is simply my observation in the community I live in. I am more often than not the only natural in the room.
Hair in itself is always an emotionally charged topic. Add to it, a not so common phenomenon, such as being relaxer free and you are sure to stir up a lot of opinion and judgment. Natural hair “awareness”, for lack of a better word, has been growing in the last 5-7 years. Prior to that, exposure was virtually non-existent. Of course, there were women embracing their natural texture many years prior to that time, however, the discussion surrounding it was very minimal. The explosion of social media outlets such as twitter, instagram and of course blogs and You Tube have certainly contributed to getting the word out but it still remains true that it is not as common as one would think.
This sparked a conversation between a few of my friends as to why this is still the case:
1. The obvious
Not everyone wants to wear their hair natural. In despite of all the attention natural hair living is receiving, do not assume everyone is in love with the idea. It remains a personal, intimate decision, no matter how popular it is. For many women, relaxed hair has served them well and they prefer a more straight, sleek look.
2. Fear of the unknown
Most people are hesitant about the unfamiliar. There is a perception that having natural hair is hard work and many tend to shy away from the extra care it seemingly requires or afraid it won’t look a certain way. I maintain that any head of hair requires work, natural or relaxed.
3. Resistant to change
Many are resistant to change – even if it really is broke. People don’t always willingly embrace change and hold on to the way they’ve always done things.
4. Not acceptable in their circle
Many do not feel it is a professional look or acceptable look for the work place/corporate world.
Although I have grown a little tired of this topic and feel it’s been beat like a dead horse, I understand the notion. Truth be told, there are relaxed hairstyles that are not professional as well. There are looks in general that are not appropriate, which have nothing to do with texture.
5. Not a lot of exposure in local community
Believe it or not, not everyone is familiar with blogs and YouTube #gofigure. This is usually the vehicle in which many natural hair events or celebratory soirees are announced.