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Curly Nikki

Superiority Complex- Food for Thought

By January 27th, 202166 Comments
Superiority Complex- Food for ThoughtDo we, as naturals, put ourselves on a pedestal?

Candice, a beautiful reader writes:

Here’s some food for thought:
A friend of mine mentioned to me that having natural hair doesn’t make naturals more black than women with relaxed hair. It also doesn’t means that women with relaxed hair don’t love themselves. This friend of mine felt that naturals tend to act more superior than people with relaxed hair, as if naturals look down upon women with relaxed or artificial hair.
When my friend mentioned this to me I was in complete denial, but later noticed that when I see someone with natural hair I feel happy and proud of them. I feel as though we share a bond that unites us not only because its not mainstream hair, but because we both have accepted our exotic features and flaunt them off to the world, which takes alot of strength and self-acceptance. I also noted that when I see someone that has relaxed hair, The first thing I do is imagine what they would look like if they had natural hair and I ALWAYS secretly wish that they would one day accept the authentic rare curls that sprouts from their scalps.
I personally don’t think I’m more superior than women or men with relaxed hair and I don’t feel that they are any less black. I am natural, so I’m relentlessly trying to open people minds to the idea of it, since there are so many misconceptions about our hair. I do feel confident because I have accepted every part of me and that confidence may radiate to others who cannot relate to it, as superiority.

Thoughts, opinions?


  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with many of the sistas that have posted. Yes I can see how a person that perms might come to that conclusion. But it is a misperception. I might look like I am have a superior attitude but in all actuality I am just really happy, comfortable, proud, content, enthusiastic, charmed, and in awe of my natural hair. So yeah when I see other natural women/ppl I am proud of them ten fold but that is because we get ridiculed or talked about for daring to be different and not embrace the conformity that undoubtably causes physical and mental abrasions. I love all you nappy, kinky, natural, coily women and men out there but of course I love the permies too!

  • Unknown says:

    You can't tell a person's personality just from their hair, however it may be valid that some women feel that way. On certain sites, other naturals were answering my questions. However,as soon as I put up a pic of me with relaxed hair, the same ones who said talk to me any time didn't seem to respond as quickly or at all. I kind of feel like they hadn't because my hair was relaxed.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think some of the "pedestal effect" comes from a lot of other naturals getting negative feedback. Because in many areas our hair isn't really the "norm" certain folks say really stupid things and we react to it. Granted, two wrongs certainly don't make a right, but I can recall countless relaxed beauties telling me "Girl, your hair would look SO much better if it were relaxed."–WTF???? Who asked you?

    As for me, I never lashed out due to my family loving, respecting, and embracing my freedom of choice. Many women in my family (including my mom) have relaxers, but are firmly against the kiddie perm (a WHOLE different topic altogether), so I wasn't give the option to relax until I was 15. In high school, I made the decision not to relax, not for any type of political statement, but because I found new, chic, and unique ways to style my natural hair. I felt that my curls were a unique outward reflection of my inward beauty. Neither my mom nor any other family member ever made me feel a certain way about keeping my hair in it's natural state. So, in return, I respected their decision to relax. All in all, it's about choices. I think if someone is old enough to understand and embrace all aspects and consequences of their hair–positive or negative, natural or relaxed–then it's really no big deal.


  • Anonymous says:

    Y' all are crazy! What difference does it make? relaxed hair was first kinky. No body is better than the other. you are the only race that is easy to polarise. look at what you focus on. The day you learn to come together and respect each other no matter what, is the day you will earn others respect. Untill then we will keep laughing at u. Oh she is too light skinned oh she is this and that. How about yes we are and will be? and it does not matter?

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, I'm a curlykinky natural as on JUNE 09!!! And I must say that I love my hair as a natural, which is something I could not say as relaxed woman. But although I don't look down on those who do relax, I ABSOLUTELY feel this overwhelming sense of pride when I see other naturals esp. in I think it makes it even more awesome because being natural is something that we've allowed other races to impose a sense of self hatred toward our own hair, but now many of those people and their offspring spend hundreds- thousands of dollars to manipulate their hair to look like ours does naturally. I look at it as a revolution, through the years I see more and more women taking that plunge and actually embracing it. I feel that one of the main reasons that naturals are so proud (some seemingly exuding a sense of superiority) is that they/we feel PROUD that we are able to take care of our own hair w/o becoming dependent upon chemicals or hair stylists. That is a sense of empowerment, to say the least, but also most women who experience becoming natural also begin to notice other things about themselves. It's like I've improved my hair, and now I want to take care of the rest of my appearance: mind body and soul. A trickle down experience that I can say has been worth ever bit of the journey. So I'm proud when my relaxed friends/family look at my hair and think/say to themselves or out loud to me that I've been thinking about going natural. That's music to my ears…especially when my hair isn't what some small minded people would think of as "good hair"…I'm 3c/4a…and I love my versatility and wouldn't trade it for the world!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    it seems as though this friend was insecure within herself. im a new natural and I am proud of my own self-acceptance of my natural hair but to go as far as to say that i look down on permies is ridiculous. This is my own path that I have chosen and I dont expect millions of people to be on my same wavelength.

  • Coffey says:

    To each her own. I've been wearing my hair in its natural state for a little more than 10 years. I do recall the reception I received from women who wore their hair relaxed or weaved was very chilly and I was met with perplexed looks. My best friend, who is from the south, got an even chillier reception and was chided by her relatives, who were wondering when she was going to relax her hair again.

    So the knife can most definitely cuts on both ends of the spectrum. This is a way of life that works for ME, and I definitely think there's power in wearing my hair in its natural states… esp. in the workplace, on job interviews, in the dating world, and other scenarios of the like. However, I don't think I'm superior over anybody or their personal choices… just like I don't perceive anybody w/out my hair texture or type to be BETTER THAN I am.
    I really we wish could (collectively) somehow, come to some sort of reconciliation with the hair and skin issue. It's time to make peace with ourselves and with the splendor of our unique beauty, and stop letting outside sources and various opinions dictate how should or shouldn't look.

  • AAW says:

    I was looking at a collection of pictures of myself recently within the two years and I laughed out loud at the varying hairstyles: relaxed, chopped to a pixie, colored to a very bronze color (my most gutsy move), The very big chop to cropped look, grown-out curly (my natural texture) for many months which really showed my rebellous streak of hair, straightened, back to relaxed. Not once did I think I felt more "black" with a particular hairstyle just a person who gets bored easily. Also, grateful to have a strong head of hair that could be that versatile.

  • AshaHue says:

    I really, really, wasn't gonna touch this one, but I will admit the behavior of SOME (though certainly not most) naturals towards those that relax just irks me to no end. There's all this talk about how "freeing" it is, and how glad they are that they "finally love themselves" (using quotations, because these comments are from actual conversations I've had with people). Great for them. I'm glad they got over the self hatred & made peace with the fact their parents didn't love them the way they were born or whatever issues they had. However, I was blessed with parents that loved me, and my hair, the way it was, and my decision to rock it natural or slap some creamy crack in it was my own choice (that being said, my Daddy FLIPPED out when he found out I put perm in my head, lol)- no self loathing/hatred or a need to "free myself" involved. It's HAIR.

    It is presumptuous for some naturals to assume that those with relaxed hair suffer from the same self hatred and insecurity that chained them when they were relaxed. Could it just be, maybe, that the newly natural person is remembering all the pain, self loathing & insecurity they had when relaxed & are projecting what they felt on to said person? Simply put, just because you had self identity/loathing issues when you relaxed doesn't mean ALL that relax have those same issues. Maybe the relax girl isn't projecting…maybe it's you.

    Some people honestly like having straight hair or feel it's easier for them to deal with. Some people honestly have self hatred issues & perming is their way of dealing with it- however, sneering at them at making them feel worse about themselves is probably not gonna help them transition, folically or mentally. It should be just as offensive as those with relaxed hair making degrading comments about naturals. Both are unacceptable, & as much hatred as we as black women get from everyone else….sheesh.

    I personally love wearing my hair out curly- I find cowashing immensely relaxing, I love the softness, the texture, the way it feels in my hand. I also love the occasional press- the way it lays flat to my head, the way it slowly curls and reverts back to natural (ok, I like that as long as I didn't just finish getting it pressed, lol). I probably won't do a chemical process again because I like the variety. Simply because I don't wanna. No other reason. If I change my mind, then hey. All it takes to go back natural is some scissors.

    I've been natural for some years (honestly, it's just hair- I couldn't tell you how long it's been because I've never cared, but I think a lil over 10 yrs) after having a perm for some years (maybe 6 or so?). I've had a texturizer & a 'S' curl, weaves, braids, micros, I've dyed it, henna'd it…I've done just about all I can think of to it:) The great thing about it all- I've loved myself throughout it all.

    I love meeting other naturals when I'm out & about- except those that go into a diatribe about those that use chemicals. I sincerely think that both are fine (yes, you're putting chemicals in your hair, but unless you're a peace loving vegan farmer that buys no harsh chemicals & cleans the house with lemons/baking soda/ACV, you're ingesting something with chemicals/doing something bad for your health. Everyone picks their own poison, so to speak). I'm much more concerned with a person being a peace with who they are.

    Sorry for my rant, but as a natural that's tried it all (but experienced none of this "freeing" I hear others talk about- maybe because I was free to begin with) nothing bothers me more than watching another natural attack someone with relaxed hair (it bothers when the "crack" head attacks a natural too, but since the Napzi is usually the one proclaiming to be so much more enlightened, I guess I hold them to a higher standard).

  • MariSol says:

    I've worn my hair natural since I was at university, because I couldn't be bothered to keep up a relaxer. Later I started wearing my hair short, because I couldn't be bothered to mess with it at all. I've had braids, weaves, I've texturized, and been totally natural, until recently when a family member texturized my hair and I stupidly let a hairdresser flat iron it the same day. Now I'm in transition, and I'm actually thankful for the experience. If none of this had happened, I wouldn't have finally learned to appreciate and care for my hair, at the ripe old age of 35. Having said that I marvel at what a political-social quagmire black hair is. I've always been a bit alternative and not really fussed about hair in general, and I've been amazed at all the impassioned attitudes I've found during online research, on both sides. For me the best reason to "go natural" has nothing to do with my blackness or lack therof, but my desire not to purchase and use ANY products full of petrochemicals, parabens, copolymers, and other harmful ingredients that are all toxic to some degree, and can be harmful when used on a daily basis. Why would I, as a free-thinking, educated woman want to pay to poison myself, especially when there are all-natural alternatives?

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that this is a difficult topic to address. Its like talking about being a parent with someone who has no kids. Women with relaxers that have never been natural cannot begin to concieve of how it feels to be natural. It is such an overwhelmingly freeing experience. It changes your perception of yourself and takes you to a whole new level in terms of how you feel about your beauty. Compliments on your hair take on a whole new meaning when you are natural. These are just things that a relaxed person cant relate to. I dont think that as a natural I feel superior but I do feel like a born again christian; Im so happy with the decision I made and the way it has impacted my life and I share those feelings(when appropriate) with women who still relax.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that there is something to be said for the legacy of attitudes regarding hair. I had my first relaxer when I was 7 years old in response to my mother's desire to keep my hair manageable when I was taking a daily swim class. She grew up in an era and a place (the South) where Black folks were indeed treated as if they were sub human, so assimilating was a deeply ingrained way of life for her. For me, relaxing had less to do with being unfomfortable with myself and my natural hair, but more of a habit that began in childhood. I liken my transition to natural hair to changing religions after practicing a certain faith throughout your childhood: You tend to believe what you beleive because you weren't exposed to anything else and in some cases, you were taught that what you believe was the only way. My exposure came over ten years ago when Oprah had a show about women and their hair. It was there that I learned about the caustic properties of chemical relaxers. After that, I began to hot comb and flat iron my hair to transition out of the relaxer and my curiosity about my natural texture became stronger. I am proud to be a natural simply because it is a part of me. No more, no less.

  • naturallyme15 says:

    I think that CurlyNikki's friend(s) was simply defending herself. I don't think that she made that comment out of nowhere. She probably heard negative comments from naturals and felt the need to respond.

    Notice, I've been natural all fifteen years of my life and I don't understand how naturals who made the transition feel that they can bash women with relaxers when they were in the same boat. It doesn't make sense to me.

    I know a lot of people commented and said that they are confident. Same here. However, there is a difference between being confident and being judgemental and I feel that both naturals and women who relax are judgemental towards each other.

    Don't naturals defend themselves when women with relaxers make ignorant comments about them and their hair?

    I think CurlyNikki's friend(s) was doing the same.

  • V dot says:

    It's late in the conversation but I felt compelled to reply. I have been natural for 17 years. And I have seen first hand the superiority complex that some naturals have. A friend of mine who had locks for 12 years and a fro for 3, recently relaxed her hair again. I think it looks great. But she got such flack from other naturals who think she has 'fallen into a trap' or is 'going through something'. And this isn't an isolated incident: I have heard comments from naturals re: the sista who is not as enlightened or evolved b/c she still relaxes.

    I really think it's just…hair. Some people want a straight look. And whether it's because they truly like it or b/c they are trying to conform to a more Euro standard of beauty is not my business.

    I truly dislike when folks ask me why won't I flat iron my hair (which I do, for times a year, for fun) or relax it or 'do something to it', so I simply cannot get with looking down on someone for choosing to straighten theirs. It's their hair, they can do what they want with it.

  • Unknown says:

    Ich don`t think so. I hesitated when i read this first and slept over it to be open and fair and imho woman who prefer to wear their hair au naturell can be as disrespectful or kind as any other human being on this plant. This has not necessarily to do something with having natural hair. The thought which did not left my mind is: " hmmm..interesting…if i am proud of what god/godess gave me and i talk about it this makes me arrogant/trying to be superior??" Just loving what grows out of my head makes other people feel small? My hair must have superpower!! And a Maya Angelou poem is with me all the time i think about this issue…
    "Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room."
    From my own experience in other fields of life i can say that often when someone said to me i was arrongant or acting superior that this person wants to keep me silenet for a reason. Being proud of my hair should not offend another person. If it does it may have nothing to do with what is on my head but what is in the other persons head…

  • max says:

    i admit that i am guilty of this.
    sometimes when i'm talking to friends or family members who relax when it's clearly damaging their hair – or just don't take care of their hair in general – i have an internal smirk because i think of them as just not being as enlightened as i am. but then i immediately catch myself because that line of thinking is ridiculous and divisive.
    i also sometimes find that i look at the texture of my hair as a point of pride. in my social circle, most of the women rocking their natural hair are light-skinned biracial women with quote-unquote good hair and i occasionally feel proud to be counted among them even though i don't look biracial (i'm half indian/half black but just look black) but then i have to check myself AGAIN because to me so-called good hair plus $2.75 will get you on the bus – it's a genetic accident and not something to feel superior about.
    seeing the beauty in all types of hair and respecting people's right to make their own choices – that should be a point of pride.

  • Natural Fields... says:

    I think the perception came from the feelings and expressions of naturals. For many people the transition to natural was accompanied by a mental shift. At some point on our natural journey we realize that we love our natural hair but had been socialized to hate/resent it. we had been taught that it was bad, unmanageable, and something to hide with a relaxer. So because we feel…enlightned…for lack of a better word, that may make permies feel as though we are saying that they are still unenlightened and therefore inferior.
    When i was permed i would have defended my "style choice" all day long but it wasnt until i went natural (actually a year into the process) that i learned to love my hair…thereby accepting that i hadn't before.

    i just look forward to the day where all women, relaxed or natural, learn to love their nautral hair. Its not something to be ashamed of, to cover up, etc. and when you choose to straighten it really is just a style choice. But, do i think our culture is at the point where a relaxer has nothing to do with a disdain for our natural hair…no.

    Just like with white women, a huge majority that color their hair go blond…now is that simply a style choice or can it be becuase in their culture blond hair is considered more beautiful? despite the total damage it does? if it were simply a style choice i would think the color spectrum would hardly be as one-sided as it is (meaning just as many of them dying their hair brown, as blond).

  • Anonymous says:

    I (Anonymous @ 10:59) meant to say:
    I agree with posters above who stated that some women with relaxers may be perceiving confidence as superiority (there is a difference). Superiority would be thinking that you're better or are more important, etc. Confidence is freedom from self-doubt and being sure of yourself.

  • SewAmazing says:

    Let's see, it just hair. Your innerself should define you, not your outterself.

  • Afroqueen says:

    Black naturals deserve to be on the highest pedestal there is. It takes immense self confidence to accept some part of yourself that your community and perhaps even your own family completely rejects.
    Black hair is unique amongst all the races and just happens to be the hair type of the original people placed on this planet – remember according to science all people are descended from the african Eve. So it is something incredibly special to have this type of hair, and blacks have been taught to hate and malign this unique racial feature.
    And it's the only one that is unique in fact – there are races darker than us – australian aboriginals/some south indians etc, people with similar noses and lips, but african people are the only ones with this beautiful curly/coily/kinky hair.

    To love and accept this feature whilst all around you have been mentally subjugated to revile themselves takes great mental strength and deep inner confidence, that can seem like arrogance to those with weaker minds.

  • Natural SKin Junkie says:

    I have definitely encountered a holier than thou attitude or should I say a sense of non acceptance by natural sistas and relaxed sistas alike. I am all natural, sometimes I wear a fro and sometimes I wear it straight. It just depends on what mood or what look I am going for. What happens ? My relaxed sistas criticize my "nappy" hair when I wear a fro and want to know when I am going to do something with that mess ! And by the way, my fro rocks !!! And when I decide to flatiron it or use DIVA SMOOTHE which straightens hair with honey and all natural ingreidents, then my natural hair sistas ask why I am not emmbracing my self and why don't I love my natural hair. I LOVE MY NATURAL HAIR !
    Was glad to meet it after wearing a relaxer for 30 years. What I love most is the VERSATILITY and the freedom to be what I want to be. I love options ! So I rock my options when I want and to heck with what others say or think. I love it when I look in the mirror and see what ever hair is staring back at me.

  • Jadeite says:

    I was never really into relaxing and weaves even when I did wear them. I always felt like they, along with 15 layers of makeup and a consumer addiction for everything gucci were all in hiding who we really were. Being natural, I don't look down on my still relaxed sisters. I just want more of us to accept who we were born as, because modern society has fooled us into thinking your original self is unacceptable, with not only includes relaxers and weaves, but over-consumerism, body insecurities, and plastic surgery.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with posters above who stated that some women with relaxers may be perceiving superiority as confidence (there is a difference). The individual who made this statement seems to be projecting her feelings onto the natural, seems that she is just making an assumption. Making generalizations about any group of people is very dangerous and ignorant. You know, people can think whatever they want to think, because no matter how hard you try there will be those who think ill of you.

    I constantly hear stories both online and in person about the struggles and slack naturals get from mainstream: Your hair is ugly, you need a perm, etc.
    I feel that it's essential for a natural to have a shield of confidence and assurance around her, because the negativity can surely break her down. Kudos to the women who wear their natural hair with confidence it can give others permission and inspiration to wear their hair natural too.

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    p.s Im guilty of hating weave. I dont think Im better than those wearing fake hair. If I see it all the time on one person (or just too much of it), I feel bad for them. Seriously, I get a little sad. Like, "why, just why…"

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    i remember the first time i walked past another natural. we gave each other such a simple look that was so powerful. that made me want to run into other naturals. i don't care if the next girl is relaxed as long as here do' is looking presentable for outside (i.e not stickin all over her head as if she rolled out of bed n' went). i see beautiful looking relaxed hair sometimes even if the owner of that hair doesn't see mine the same way… oh well.

    i used to be so confused however to know that some relaxed women try to use products that are "natural as possible" when they're laying something much worse on their heads how ever often that they are. I had to check myself though. I may have been too critical of that and decided I don't care one way or the other. I just gotta do me. I do not feel superior to ANYONE. That is not possible. I am proud of myself for making a healthier choice and I do like having someone to relate to.

    I don't have my fist in the air yet, or my have pick laying up in my head, nor do I plan on doing those things. I do know one thing: I am waiting for the day when nappy/curly/highly textured/coily hair is the NORM because hello, it's in us all. the Good Hair opening is going to be a trip. I say I can't wait but im not sure if Im ready lol. LOVE Chris Rock. When is Halle gonna cut off her hair for that alleged movie? hmmm.

    Moral: do you. For a short while, I used to care too much b/c I was new to this lifestyle. After so long, we realize that we should just carry our confidence and lead by example. Whoever wants to join, c'mon! I'll teach you about Curly Nikki and my other blogs that I must stalk 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with alot of the comments that i have read. I think its insecurity that makes sisters with perms feel like just because you love your natural hair you think you are better. I dont have a problem with sister with relaxers or weaves, hell i wear my hair straight once in a blue moon and i like the versatility of my natural hair. I just cant imagine altering my hair permanently. Well i tell you the documentary "good hair" is going produce interesting dialogue within the black community.

  • Anonymous says:

    Honeysmoke said it! I agree 100%. When you have to dissect what you “think” someone else is thinking, then the problem lies with you.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry but I’m really tripping on the argument questioning the women who “claim they want to be how God created them”. No disrespect but what a crock! When did God make funky underarms? I’ve never once spelled a baby with funky pits! lol Sometimes we take things a little farther than necessary to prove a point. Yes, God DID make some of us with rosy cheeks, red lips, bushy brows, but I get the point, however, deodorant is part of hygiene, the pulling of wisdom teeth is usually done avoid future problems, etc…but if waxing my brows was causing me to go bald, was damaging my skin, was PROVEN to be toxic, I would like to think I would see that stopping waxing would be wise! lol …too far, man.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm muslim, so this subject is very close to my heart. I no longer wear a hijab(head covering), but I refuse to perm my hair because it is against our religion. I don't feel or think that I am better compared to anyone with a relaxer. I have noticed that women who do not relax their hair have strong,thicker, and longer manes. I am also very tired of sterotypes that black hair doesn't grow, a myth that is a straight lie beause all the women I know have hair almost down to the middle of their backs. I don't see the purpose of a perm, so I will never apply one to my hair. I feel sorry for women who think it's okay to apply a chemical on their scalp that smells like burning acid! I read once on the back of a perm box that children shoudn't be around when the perm is placed on your head! why would apply something with such a danerous warning to your hair. I also don't get the weave obession in our black community. I've always had long thick hair, so I guess I will never understand.

    How can you claim your hair is natural if you put a texurizer on it? you've chemically changed your hair, that means you are no longer natural. I'm not the one to judge.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think, somewhere in their subconscious, those who straighten their hair by any means wish they had the confidence to wear their natural hair. And that's why those who have the confidence to do so are often perceived as superior.

    ^^^^ SPOT ON! How about Women with relaxed hair make the assumption that women au natural feel superior because of their own insecurity. They see & sense the liberation & freedom that black women get when they embrace their natural hair, that is not accepted or heralded by mainstream society, which takes alot of confidence & pride. I think for any other race 'hair is just hair' but for black women it goes deeper than that because it touches on the issue of conformity & nonconformity.

  • honeysmoke says:

    Imagine what we all could do if we could get past the comparisons. If you think I'm uppity, or superior, or whatever, that's on you and that's about you. As for me, I'm going to keep on doing my own thang.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, Debora here from The Netherlands

    I have been following the discussion on the subject of superiority for a while now. (I love this site by the way.) I’m in my thirties and I have never used any chemicals on my hair. My grandmother had a bad experience with chemicals and always said that she regretted doing this. She was a mix of native Indian and Afro (South) American and she had long curly hair.
    Although it wasn’t a conscious decision I decided that I would leave my hair as is, until I got a steady job. After a while I got so many negative comments on my hair that I decided to keep it natural, because I wanted to be a rebel. I must say that 10 years ago I wasn’t really doing anything special with my hair and my mom was a great help.

    Now, you would think that the negative comment I got where from people I didn’t know, but no, I got comments from family members. My mom had to defend me. Like I had committed a murder.
    Now I am experimenting with new hairstyles, my hair is long and healthy and natural is in. Now everybody wants to know what I do to my hair.

    It’s not that I feel that I’m superior. I feel that I knew something that others didn’t OR DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW. It makes me feel smart maybe………………………superior. OK I admit it!!!!

    Sometimes I do catch myself looking at someone with relaxed hair and I feel sorry for al that beautiful hair that didn’t get a chance to grow!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am at the very end of transitioning (about 1 inch of permed ends left, and only in the middle of my hair) and I have to say that I think the majority of the natural women that I meet, follow online or view on fotki have a superior air about them. Some are just genuinely excited and surprised by how happy they are being natural. But most do have a "why mess with what G-d made because it's perfect" frame of mind. Why is that superior? Because we mess with that G-d made all the time. We wear make-up (um, CONCEALER anyone?!) and Spanx and have no problem with that. G-d made acne, but no one balks at using Proactiv, or wearing braces or bleaching teeth. I'm not naive, I realize that many (perhaps even the majority of) relaxed women have racial identity issues and are ashamed of their hair, but guess what- they're still black. Can someone even be less black, even if they really want to? No. And can't someone just like straight hair? Like how some people like big hair, or more conservative hair or a mohawk? What if it truly is a preference? That's exactly what it is in my case. I am not going natural to prove anything to anyone about my 'blackness' or because I have something against the idea of relaxers. It was just a lot of damage to do to my hair without a great benefit (I am NOT skilled in hairdressing and as long as I'm going to put it in a bun everyday anyway…). BTW, it turns out that my hair really is damn near unmanagable. EVERY hair dresser I've ever been to has said that they cannot imagine dealing with my hair on daily basis (and that was with a relaxer!!). Thick, unresponsive to moisture, multi-textured. And for all of you who are getting ready to respond, "exactly, that's what makes being natural an amazing life-altering, eye-opening experience" good for you. But I'm not a fan of the time, effort and quite frankly the results, (for ME only and specifically, and no I wasn't expecting waist-length silky ringlets, just some friggin' moisture retention and the breakouts were a nasty little surprise) and I'm entitled to my opinion too. Just like any other woman- relaxed or natural.

  • Queenofthe4s says:

    I don't think that being natural makes me any better than the next chic, but I do think it takes a fair amount of balls to walk around looking so far outside of the "norm." 4a and a TWA?? LOL…it can take some getting used to.

    I try not to push the natural route on my friends…matter of fact, I just gave two of them relaxers last week 🙂

    People can take self-confidence the wrong way sometimes…

  • B. Reed says:

    I ITA with the first Anonymous responder.
    Like Candice, I do love to see and also feel proud to see a woman who wears her natural hair. Just because there are so very FEW women who wear their hair natural. And to do that in a society who has told us our hair is "ugly" and unmanagable (and still tell us for that matter) takes some courage. I don't think I am superior to the ladies with relaxers by no means because I used to be there. But the fact you MUST get your hair relaxed every 6-8 weeks is a complex that definitely comes from somewhere.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think naturals can be a tad judgemental. I am also wondering how does one assume that a person has relaxed hair just because it's straight? I haven't had a relaxer since 04 but I sometimes wear my hair straight. Someone looking at me may just assume it's a relaxer. Does that mean I'm not natural? Just because a woman wears straight hair doesn't mean she's back on the creamy crack. For those who feel superior do you really really wear your hair in it's natural state? Let's keep it real "natural" is nothing added, including hair products to "enhance" our curl pattern. I don't know any "natural" who just gets up, wets their hair and goes out the door. Every natural I know have product junkies lurking within them. If we truly accept our hair in all it's natural glory, then why do we try so many products? We do "twist n curls", we shingle, we do lots of things that aren't "natural". What is someone judged us as not "loving ourselves"? Hair is hair, and whether it's straight or curly we should just want our sisters to have HEALTHY hair. For me that means no chemicals and minimal heat. It doesn't mean I can never wear my hair straight again for fear of trying to emulate white hair. It means I'm free to be versatile. That sistah you may be grinning at in solidarity with, you know the one with the beautiful curls? Well she may be texturized…. That's why you never judge my appearance.

  • Chez Cerise says:

    I'm transitioning myself but I do not understand when people say they want to be the "way that God made them" and "If God wanted me to have straight hair that's how He would have made me".

    God made you w/ funky underarms. You wear deodorant.

    God made you grow wisdom teeth. You get them pulled.

    God made you with bushy eyebrows. You wax them.

    Did God make you with rosy cheeks and red lips or is that blush and lipstick?

    Do you have any tattoos or ear piercings? God did not make you that way.

    God made us naked but you clothe yourself everyday and people in the US seem to shun nudity.

    I can really keep going but I think I made my point…

  • AlongCameStacey says:

    I'm relaxed. I don't get all the power that women give to their hair. I don't see how using relaxers or being natural came to define your degree of blackness. It's asinine.

    I don't relax my hair because I have a "colonized mind." I relax my hair because I feel like it. It really is that simple. I don't see anyone judging the white woman with bone straight hair that opts for a curly perm or even the white woman with curly hair that opts for a relaxer. I have seen people try to jump down the throats of white men/women with locs but the same people think it's cool for asians to get afro perms. Huh? When did one group of people come to own a certain type of hair or hair texture? And again…. Why do people care???

    Even within the natural community people lose their cool over hair typing, with some 4's envying the 3's. Then you have a natural with platinum blonde hair and no one says a word. Why is one permanent chemical better than another? Now I hear that some naturals and relaxed heads are opting for the Brazilian Keratin treatment, complete with Formaldehyde, as an alternative to Sodium Hydroxide. Everyone clamors over the dangers of Sodium Hydroxide but go to your tube of toothpaste and read the ingredients. If you use one of the major brands like Crest or Colgate, amongst others, you should have a seat. Yea… There's a reason your toothpaste comes with a poison warning. I think when you start to break these things down you begin to realize that some people will pick and choose what information to use so they can position themselves where they want to fit in the world (or rather, where they want to fit in their world).

    I subscribe to lots of hair blogs, relaxed and natural, because hair care is hair care is hair care. I had to unsubscribe to a couple of natural nazi sites because sometimes discussions turn into unprompted xenophobia towards women that relax. I have a degree in sociology with a minor in black studies so believe me I know my history and at times I've known it better than some of my natural counterparts. Believing yourself to be "more black" because your hair is chemically unaltered is the exact same mindset that makes the person with the darkest skin in the room believe themselves to be more authentic then the "yellow" person in the room. "Cuz they're probably mixed! Right?" It's ignorant.

  • BekkaPoo says:

    Some people confuse pride in oneself with superiority.. especially if they are feeling inferior themselves!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the writer. I don't feel as though I am superior but I feel proud of my natural sisters. I think its special not being mainstream. AND yes I compliment every naturally curly I see!

  • Anonymous says:

    Having been both relaxed and natural I can say that there are some relaxed women who judge naturals and there are some naturals who judge relaxed women. Sad part is, neither group is truly free because both groups focus on their hair entirely too much. For both groups, the "self-righteous" element is usually just a thinly veiled mask of insecurity .

  • Ishea says:

    I agree with this. I'm only transitioning but it's hard not to feel superior in some way… relative to hair that is. It's like the entire mainstream culture is against having natural African-American hair so you almost HAVE to psyche yourself out, throw yourself onto a pedastal and say that you're fabulous!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm still transitioning and I can say that I have never felt like i'm superior to anyone, but I have encountered more insults in this stage of my life than any other time. So I will say that people look down on me for going natural, and the people with weaves and relaxers are put upon a pedastal..but that's just from my experiences…

  • Anonymous says:

    Olivia you said it girl. ITA

  • Alicia says:

    I wouldn't say I feel that I am better than relaxed ladies, cause it's just like society to find anything like shades of color and Natural hair type or being relaxed to divide and conquer us black folks. I do however look at them and hope that they will be enlightened as I have been and one day embrace there natural beauty. Many of us were not fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy our natural hair, our hair were permed before we could come to enjoy our natural beauty all in the name of managebility. Shamefully many of us don't even know what our natural hair texture is, it's as if we were born with a perm. I sympathized because it's not their fault and we cannot forget that most of us had that shoe on not so long ago, until we became educated in natural haircare. I do look at them and wonder what they would look like natural, but to each his own, you never know, they might see a beautiful natural lady and be inspired to go natural. So it's best not to have that superior attitude lest you hinder a sister from converting, lol. I know I was one and probably I should say I still have one foot in the door since I am only transitioning and still have my relaxed ends, I still remember the days when I would prefer to where a scarf on my head than let anyone see my new growth, now I am impatiently waiting for them to get longer and wearing them proudly.

    A onced relaxed lady…

  • KeetaRay says:

    My opinion on this is "mixed" – I have only been natural for 9 months (and LOVE it, might I add!) so I can relate to how many relaxed women feel b/c I, too, USED TO feel the same way. But the whole point in ME going natural was acceptance of myself in the way I was created. So in THAT respect, I do feel stronger because why not wear the hair you were born with? It definitely is a woman's choice, though. I just think as a whole, black women should be educated and informed about relaxers and think about why they get them and be truly honest with themselves. Because truth be told, my 4a hair is VERY manageable, in my opinion. You just have to know what does/doesn't work for you.

  • GG says:

    I think this is a timely subject to address..for me personally since I have not been natural for that long. I'm just so passionate and excited about it that I think I annoy my relaxed friends sometimes. I, too, see women with relaxed hair and picture them with natural hair. I've always loved hair care, whether it's relaxed or natural, so I try to make sure that I'm not too biased. I know many relaxed women who have beautiful hair and me deciding to be natural does not make their hair any less beautiful. I think the superiority complex can definitely go both ways though. It's all about healthy hair, whether it's relaxed or natural, in my opinion.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with K. it's pointless and too time consuming for me!

  • Anonymous says:

    If a natural has had a relaxer and choose to BC or transition to natural hair she has no right to think poorly of women with relax or chemically processed hair. Now, with a woman who has been natural all her life I could see the pedestal affect.

    I love seeing healthy relax hair, if it is taking care of; who is the natural to tell the woman with relax hair "you should go natural" now if it's damaged then I can see that point.

    The there always going to be good hair vs bad hair in the natural community! I see it. Natural vs Relax & light skinned vs dark skinned – I truly believe my people need to wise up and face the fact we are all beautiful regardless!

  • clarahallow121 says:

    I don't think that's true, but ever since I've become natural, I've noticed my self-esteem go way up, and that's just because I think I look better myself, but I don't think of myself as better or worse than any other person. I like myself better with my natural hair but I totally agree with K. we focus on hair period way too much. I don't like that people don't go beneath the surface to learn more about it instead of focus on just the look of it.

  • K. says:

    I think that the superiority complex goes both ways. I am not naturual yet (transitioning) but I know of natural women on & offline who get TOLD to get a relaxer and receive unsolicited negative comments about their hair regularly. On the flip side there are some natural nazis out there – especially on Youtube (lol).

    I think we focus way too much on hair regardless of it's state. I have decided that I will not be doing that anymore – I wish more sisters would too.

  • Anonymous says:

    I definitely don't feel that I'm superior. I truly understand why people relax their hair. Many times they do it cuz it IS more manageable. It does not make you stronger when have more time and flexibility to keep up with natural hair. And a lot of times people don't have hair like yours. My hair is extreemly kinky, way more kinkier than most naturals. I found it harder and harder to deal with my hair the longer it got. It got to damn near impossible at only six inches no matter what products I used or what I did. I couldn't even finger-comb! I recently texturized my hair, and it looks fabulous and defined for the first time in my life. I can even see the curls. Does this mean I gave up? HELL NO! I just could deal with that hair for the life of me…

  • b. says:

    In agreement with Cygnet. Thanks.

    I also agree with the last paragraph from Anon 11:57am (Aug 6). Yeah…sometimes the ppl saying these things are "haters." Too bad for them! I self-assess sometime to make sure that they aren't telling the truth…

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm Currently relaxed and am transitioning mainly to try something new, i may relax again, but i like to switch up my look. and i find it a bit sad that your hair should determine what kind of woman you are and "how black" or confident you are. Its also a bit sad that its mainly found within the black community and we all tend to put eachother down constantly. Its worse enough that we get it from other races. I appreciate hair no matter what it is, natural, relaxed,red, pink or however and as women we have a choice. I know many caucasian, spanish females that actually do get chemical hair procedures and its rare if not ever that another caucasian or spanish female will tell that person that they are less of a woman or not confident in themselves because of that fact. I feel that judging someone on the way they wear their hair is whats ignorant, its the same as having someone judge you for the color of your skin. Didn't we all learn to never judge a book by its cover. I really looked up to a lot of you women.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can't stand that saddity attitude about being better (or rather 'blacker') than someone else because you have natural hair/relaxer hair. I wish more black women would wear their hair in its natural state.

    My opinion has already been stated perfectly by Jessi. B, especially this part right here:

    "My relaxed friends have made the same "I'm no less black than you," claim… but I mean, they say it. Not me. lol. I think, somewhere in their subconscious, those who straighten their hair by any means wish they had the confidence to wear their natural hair."

    'Nuff said. Nice post CN.

  • Anonymous says:

    I understand that judging one’s “blackness” or “better-ness” by hair is not right but what’s wrong with putting ourselves on pedestals!? We all, natural, relaxed, or whatever, SHOULD lift ourselves up and if that makes someone else feels uncomfortable, then…too bad!

    And I feel the same way about wondering what a sister with relaxed hair would look like and wanting them to try their natural hair but it’s not to put down what she has already, it’s just a normal reaction when you feel you have information to help someone, especially health-wise. I feel good about my natural hair, and I want to share that feeling!

    Not saying there aren’t naturals out there with that attitude of being “better and blacker” but personally, (and I’m sure I’ll probably get bashed for saying this but), when a person makes comments about what someone else is thinking i.e., “they think they’re better because she’s natural” or “because she has long hair”, etc… or in whatever way, it’s because maybe subliminally, THEY feel that way themselves.

    *Trena is getting off her soapbox now…

  • Anonymous says:

    Agree with Jessi B. Very well put!

  • LovintheBlessin says:

    My biggest issue with relaxed hair is the ignorance. Not saying that relaxed women are over-all ignorant, it just bothers me that women are ignorant of what their hair really looks like. Many women haven't been natural since childhood, and since hair changes after puberty, they really have no idea what their hair looks like. I don't have an issue with straight hair, clearly, almost all of my black friends straighten my hair, but i do sometimes feel sorry for women who don't know the potential their hair has. If that's superiority, so be it, but I truly do feel as if I have a certain enlightenment that lifetime relaxed women don't have. I don't act any way about it, and I don't want to be vilified for what I think you know? Just like I don't like the color red, and I won't do anything to someone wearing red, but it's my choice whether or not I like it.

    Does that make sense?

  • Hue Reviews says:

    I don't think there is a superiority. I think that there is something freeing about going natural that comes out. I don't look down on women who relax their hair. I was there once before. But, for me, I'm happier with myself as a natural woman than I ever was with relaxed hair.

    I do think there is a since of unity. I've noticed that other women who have natural hair also will look at me and smile as if to say "one of us". I think it's going against the norm. Much like people with tats see when they see someone else with tats.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… I guess I'm one of those people that thinks "it's just hair". I don't think that natural hair is better than relaxed hair any more than I think long hair is better than short. I've been natural for 10+ years and the only reason I switched is because I realized that perming my hair was a battle that I wasn't winning. My hair type never really "held" a relaxer. The curl would always revert. I didn't even have to do a BC – I just stopped relaxing and eventually it reverted. But if i was one of those folks who has healthy, relaxed hair- I might've kept it. My opinion of myself did not change when I went natural. Now, from time to time I have been stereotyped as someone who was maybe more prideful. Which, I actually resent. My hair says nothing about my views of the world, or of other people. It drives me nuts when people make assumptions. The only thing it says about me is "I like my hair".

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to wonder the same things about myself sometimes, but hey, let's be honest. It boils down to self-acceptance. There is no logical reason for women to alter their appearance in any way if not ultimately for the opinions of others, who may or may not have our best interest at heart.

    If we're enough in love with ourselves to take care of what we have naturally, and to accept it, and others don't/can't… what can you do? My relaxed friends have made the same "I'm no less black than you," claim… but I mean, they say it. Not me. lol. I think, somewhere in their subconscious, those who straighten their hair by any means wish they had the confidence to wear their natural hair. And that's why those who have the confidence to do so are often perceived as superior. Hopefully, the love for what's real will return to us all…



  • Cygnet says:

    Natural V. relaxed, thin V. thick, dark v. light, in all of life there are these either/or categories into which we tend to put things. And it seems to be human nature that if you see a divide, and you see yourself as being on one side of it, then you will find that you and others on "your" side have a range of additudes toward those on the other side of the divide.

    Sometimes these attitudes can actually be a sort of quiet self-confidence that to another confident person on either side of the divide is not threatening, even correct. But if someone on the other side of the divide sees your attitude and reacts negatively to it, is it because the other person is expressing their own insecurity, or have you confused being confident with superiority and arrogance?

    We need to be careful to know the difference between being confident and being arrogant. A confident person can appreciate and celebrate her choices, even be the inspiration for someone else seeking to embrace those choices, without looking down on, disregarding, disrespecting, and alienating those on the other side of the divide from her. Arrogance and superiority complexes, however, hide an internal need for others to approve of you, so much that you lord it over other people in a "I'm better than you" sort of way that is off-putting.

    We embraced being natural because we believed it was a better, healthier way to treat our hair and bodies. It's understandable that in the enthusiasm some of us feel over the results that we would want to spread this joy to the world. However, there are enough us on this side of the natural/not-natural divide who are struggling that those of us who have found our way cannot afford to be arrogant; these are the ones whom we may actually lose as they become so discouraged by their struggle that they return to using chemicals to tame their hair.

    Remember, you draw more flies with honey than with vinegar. Hair is as individual as the head it's on. While healthy hair is always superior to unhealthy hair, the things another person does with her hair are not, and should never become, the hill you're willing to die on.

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel that women with natural hair are look down upon. Our hair in some fields is still considered unacceptable. I don't go around touching relaxed hair, but for many natural sistahs our hair is like the 13th wonder of the world that I have to touch and ask 100 questions. I feel good about myself because I no longer allow my hair to define me, I don't need to pretend anymore. When natural hair is accepted I will let go of my defensive state when it comes to my hair. I don't understand a perm, why don't you just flat iron your hair if you want it straight? I've been natural for seven years and I love it! I have the length and the strength that my hair never had when it was permed. I will never go back to the lies that society tried to sell me in commercials, magazines, and even black owned beauty slaons.

  • b. says:

    I feel a lot like the OP (original poster). I embrace and enjoy my natural hair and the natural hair of others. I mean ALL natural hair, whether it's loopy curly or coily like mine or stick straight. As long as it's clean and styled in a flattering way it's great.

    I *have* encountered (moreso online than anywhere else) ppl with the "holier-than-thou" mentality. There's a phrase that is associated with such folks, and I had to assess myself some time ago in regards to this attitude. I think as natural hair becomes more mainstream, more people will drop the self-righteous attitude and live peaceably. Just like there will always be women who snub any woman with natural hair, there will always be women willing to reciprocate the hate from the other standpoint.

    Many of us fall in the middle. (I do when I'm not careful.) We aren't trying to "hate" on someone, but we assume too much sometimes about a person's motive for keeping straight hair. Sometimes, they just want it straight. Sometimes, it's no more complicated than someone who decides to wear super-short hair — a preference. You never know…the woman you assume is a "weave-a-diva" may be transitioning or flat-ironed for a change of pace.

  • Anonymous says:

    I may offend some people with this comment, but this is my truth-I do think I am stronger (maybe not superior) to a woman who opts to wear relaxed hair or a weave. And, that makes me proud. Once upon a time I had relaxed hair and wore weaves. I would shake my 4a hair that was chemically treated to be 1a around just like the white women I would see on tv. Then one day, I woke up from the madness and chopped all of that 1a hair off. I wanted to see who I really was and what God had really created.

    Some black women tell themselves they relax their hair so it will be easier for them to manage (I know I did). But, I say they relax their hair because they are ashamed of who they are and what God created. Natural hair is not hard to maintain when you know what you are doing. In addition, if God wanted a black woman to have type 1a hair, God would have created her that way.

    Do I think a black person is any less black because they relax their hair; no. Do I think a black person has assimilated in the "American" culture when a black person relaxes their hair; yes. Read the Willie Lynch Letter. And, that's my truth.

  • Lo says:

    In general I am very 'to each, his own…' And I don't feel 'blacker-than-thou' but um, did you all see the preview for 'Good Hair'? What they put in relaxers can dissolve aluminum!! Transitioning from a relaxer was just a swift kick – why was I putting something that caused chemical burns on myself? madness! Plus, for years I had the mindset that I NEEDED a perm. Madness again! I think something a lot of naturals overcame was the concept of Good Hair (you know, the type that can STRAIGHTEN easily) versus Bad Hair. I think that this is something to be proud of. That being said, do all permies have that complex? Of course not! And vice versa. Lord knows I love straight hair too and need a new flat iron, lol.

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