Natural Hair Snobbery
Natural Hair Snobberyphoto credit: Le Coil

I received an email from an anonymous texlaxed reader who has concerns about the tone of some of the articles and spotlights featured on CurlyNikki and similar natural hair blogs. She feels that the Pro Curly attitude can sometimes result in exclusivity and that while we embrace our curls and empower and encourage one another, we simultaneously leave other women feeling left out or even worse, bashed. She gave me permission to share some of the key points in order to generate discussion.

Anonymous writes:

…Here is my concern about being PRO curly, which I notice on your site but is absolutely in no way specific to your site alone – it’s the insistence that being natural is your ‘God given anything’. Really, really? Seriously, why does God even have to be a topic when it comes to hair? From what I learned in school (yes, I went to Catholic school) the only thing God Given is your right to free will. The right to do as you please as an individual.

If it’s okay to say that I want to wear my hair in it’s natural ‘God Given’ state, then that’s fine, there’s no problem there. However how many of these same women who comment that they want to rock natural curls due to God also wear makeup, nail polish, deodorant and other factors that are not 1) natural or 2) or by any means God made/given? How many of any of these women are living a truly ‘natural’ lifestyle by any means? It’s irrelevant because my point is not to call anyone out; it’s just to point out how ridiculous we’re allowing something as simple and minute as hair to suddenly dictate our lives, views, opinions and apparently friendships in some cases. I feel that this is really just another way for us women to bash one another and yet again really put on a front of ‘I’m better than you because…’.

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I’m not a natural, currently – I have been natural several times in the past. That doesn’t make me love your site any less, but dag sometimes it almost makes me feel unwanted. I’m not relaxed, I’m texlaxed, to you it’s probably no difference because yes my hair is chemically altered; but so are those heads who have applied colored. I am not someone who wants/likes or envies straight hair – I never have. My only one true desire all my life has been to have long hair, so imagine my happiness to see that this information exists and it’s easily available to help all women have HEALTHY hair. Why does having HEALTHY hair also have to be a battle of the ‘naturals’ vs ‘the others’?

Please note I will continue to use the word ‘natural’ in quotes when referring to hair because unless you are living a 100% Natural life there really is no need to pride being ‘natural’, especially not in the name of God. That’s my opinion.

I love that your site promotes and preaches embracing women with curly textured hair, but on another note it almost seems to condemn women who do not fit in that clique.

Anyhow, I will still continue to peruse your site because honestly I really like it and find it to be one of the best hair blogs/communities online; but with that said it could still be a tad more embracing.

What do you think? Weigh in!


Edited to Add:

After reading the above email, the comments below, and the responses to her article The Accidental Texturizer, guest blogger Kat responded with the following:

Hi Nikki,

Wow! There’s so much to say, since the article, “The Accidental Texturizer” went up. I want to clarify a few things.

1) I embrace and respect all aspects of Curly Nikki. The content, the atmosphere, the readers, the comments, the Woman…Can we get a big soul clap for Nikki?!!! She has done an incredible job here to be inclusive, objective, engaging and open to alternate points of view. Nikki also writes from a place of wanting to address issues of us not having the highest esteem, and building that in a safe environment.

2) With that said, I am honored to have written something that is sparking conversation. That is my job as a writer, to flip different ideas around… Even those that may not be 100% shared by everyone. I think that the post by “anonymous” should be respected as her opinion, as should my guest blog. I stand behind my opinions which is why you see my name next to the title.

3) I think most of you would agree that the topic of our hair is for better or worse, a thorny subject. We’re obviously passionate about it, to all be having this multi level and textured conversation.

4) My relationship with my co-worker originated from hair talk. So we shared that, and yes I was saddened because it was something that we shared, and at a critical point in me learning about this hair, I had lost a buddy. We tried to fight the fight together and guess what… it was no longer for her. I only felt a certain way because she was “clearly not comfortable with her new state”. She was my buddy. We kept each other motivated.

5) I am not really one to care about who relaxes or whatever. When Jill Scott permed, it didn’t diminish my love for her. She’s still my girl and I will always be a fan. I don’t know her personally. My coworker, I knew personally.

6) Finally, I do say at the end of my piece that I myself had even thought of going back. That I even questioned why it (her choice) bothered me so. I however, made the choice for me that staying on my journey to natural hair was the way to go.

So I hope this clarifies a few things. I also want to thank Nikki for doing a tremendous job. She’s helping to spearhead conversation. Truthfully, if we can’t say what we really think, then who’s being close minded? We’re here to have hair talk in a real, fun, safe way.