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Curly Nikki

Manifesto of a Former Self-Hater

By January 27th, 2021101 Comments

Manifesto of a Former Self-Hater

From Curly Nikki – Sometimes Hair is Just Hair – A Follow-Up

“Relaxers reinforce the fact that black women are perceived as ‘ugly’ compared to other races.”

“Perming for “straight” hair is the number one self hatred action still going on by Black People today.”

Blanket statements. Generalizations. Shots fired.

I read these statements on Curly Nikki, and a strong fury pulsed in my chest. As I read the comments, this fury increased. The cosigning on his views was apparent. Now let me say, I understand what I THINK was the point of his views – that women should embrace their natural because it “exudes confidence.” To be frank, do I think natural hair = confidence? No. And furthermore, I am disgusted with the plethora of women and men who feel the need to place emphasis on the confidence shown by wearing one’s natural hair by expressing their thoughts on the lack of confidence they feel is displayed in straight hair.

It is true, many people DO look down on women who relax or straighten their hair. The high and mighty natural haired sista with a fro that can block out the sun, proudly toting her fisted afro pick (you know you have one) and afrocentric jewelry while she blasts Common and Bilal on her Evo (no, not iPhone, she isn’t a sheep). She smirks slyly at women with relaxers on the subway while in her head she says, “You wish you had the confidence to be me.” But is it confidence, or projection?

I truly do not understand why it needs to be so black and white, or cut and dry. If you have natural hair, you accept yourself, if you have straightened hair, you do not. I will admit, that there are SOME black women with straight hair that truly do hate their texture and will never be caught dead without a relaxer, which is sad, but often, you need to SPEAK with these women for them to reveal themselves. You cannot look at someone with a relaxer and call them a self hater.

In short, this type of mentality is just as damaging as people thinking natural hair is unacceptable for the workplace or in society. When someone says, “Some people have hair too nappy to be natural,” natural haired women riot. But when someone says, “Women who have relaxers don’t love themselves,” natural haired women…clap? Swoon? Hurrah? To love one, why do you have to hate the other? If the world ever shifted, and natural hair was the norm, and all the women with straight hair were looked down upon and ridiculed, where does that leave us? In the same place we were before.

The most ironic detail of this conundrum is that most women who are now wearing their natural hair previously had a relaxer, or frequently pressed their hair. So what does that make you? A hypocrite? Oh wait…no, it makes you enlightened. My apologies, my sista. Of course, oh Enlightened One, when you were a child getting your hair relaxed, you obviously knew about civil rights history and why relaxers were invented. You knew that black people started straightening their hair in order to attempt to fit in with white society. What a clever child you were. For the record, I found out about the history of relaxers well…after I decided to stop relaxing my hair. I never grew up thinking my hair was “less” than another races, I just knew it was work (which it is as a result of my incredibly thick hair, whether it is relaxed or natural).

So why all the talk of self hatred and conformity towards women with relaxers? Is it because you formerly hated your hair? Is it a bitterness due to the fact that natural hair isn’t the norm? Or are you just being a bitch? **I mean bitch as in a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman, or someone that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant – DO NOT THINK I AM CALLING ALL OF YOU BITCHES.**

I have heard some people say that you cannot love yourself if you are using harmful chemicals on your hair and ultimately damaging it. Yet…you can dye your hair and still be considered natural, and most will not bat an eyelash. Even if they do not want to call you natural, most will not call you a self hater. But get this, believe it or not, lifting dye actually removes the eumelanin and the phaeomelanin from your hair and possibly ruptures the disulphide bonds that hold the fiber of your hair together (depending on whether you are bleaching or not). Although it does not alter the curl pattern of your hair, it does alter the structure (I read a comment on CN that said that permanent dye only “saturates” the hair strand…girl…please). Furthermore, since we are talking about hair damage, when was the last time you heard a group of natural haired women questioning a woman who used heat to blow out her hair and make it look kinkier (still altering the natural pattern), when we all know that blow dryers damage our hair by blowing open the cuticle and making it more susceptible to breaking and dryness? Good luck finding that one.

Now, let me clarify. I do not want my point lost in all my sarcasm (sorry, I feel a certain kind of way about the statements at the beginning of the post so my snarky went with it). I realize that as young girls we usually come up with the idea that “straight hair is pretty” through the media and our environment. I am not referring to little girls. Personally, I am not for relaxing someone’s hair until they are old enough to understand a) What chemicals are in a relaxer, b) the possible side effects (of relaxers or heat), c) the history of relaxers, and d) the proper way to care for their natural hair (because let us be honest, if you do not know how to care for your natural hair, relaxers seem to be a LOT easier). Also, I think that women who relax and chronically straighten their hair should take a moment to think about why they do it. Is it out of habit? Because it’s easy? Is it a preference? Or is it because they truly are ashamed of their natural texture?

To all ladies, natural or relaxed: No matter what people say, or imply about your decisions, the important thing is that you are at peace with your appearance. Do not stop getting relaxers because you think you have to or you look like a self hater. Do not struggle and secretly hate your natural hair because you need to be down for the cause. Do not get a relaxer because someone told you that your hair was too nappy, or you “need to do something with it.” Do not be upset because the woman next to you has a relaxer, wig, weave, natural hair, blue hair, pink hair, or no hair. The only person you need to be honest with is yourself (and you certainly do not need to listen to any man who feels the need to go on a tirade about hair…*eye roll*).

Weigh in Divas!

Then after this, we’re gonna agree to disagree 😉


  • Nikki says:

    hair politik is correct. The fact that we're having this very lengthy dialogue across continents and countries, proves that it is not, never has been and most likely never will be 'just hair'.

  • Liz C. says:

    Awesome post! So true! My hair is natural and shoulder length. I wear weaves. I wear blow outs. I wear twist outs. what the *bleep* does is have to do with any one else on how I wear my hair?! I have friends who's real hair I have NEVER seen, because they wear weaves and they are some of the best people I have ever known. Of course some people don't like their natural texture, but SO WHAT?! Why should black women try to go natural if they don't want to? SO WHAT if someone is 40 and have never seen their natural hair? That is their personal choice. Accept people for who they are, not how they wear their hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    SO – I WAS THE COMMENTOR WHO SISTA GIRL QUOTED IN THIS ARICLE! How shocked was I to see my comment mentioned… Yes, I said permanent hair color saturated the hair with color. It does, does it not? I don't really appreciate how my honest comment was taken out of context and used to "bash" women who are passionate about their God given hair, drenched in sarcastic opinion to make your point. I see your point, and I will respect it without any irony. Is that not what you complained about OTHERS doing in your article? There is a nicer way to say things, indeed 🙂

    All of our points are valid to US, but it'd be easier to perceive a pure, core message without the typical snap-your-neck attitude. Let's just pause with that, please. I was simply stating that we tend to compare oranges and lemons. Yes, they are both citrus fruit but they are NOT the same thing! Dying your hair black, for example, does not give you straight hair nor does it rearrange the pattern of molecules in your hair subsequently loosening a very tight curl pattern. Nor, does it contain sodium hydroxide. It's not "good" for your hair. I'm aware. And, yes, hair dye alters your hair during processing to adhere color, yes, it alters your hair and so does a perm, but to get blasted with a snickery "Girl, please" is a bit harsh for stating a true fact… We weren't discussing hair dye, we were discussing PERMS.

    I agree with MONI and HAIRPOLITIK and MR SUMNER, among others. Some of us are in denial, and some just don't have an issue at all, we all have different experiences that mold our train of thought. Me, myself, I will always be in agreement that the pro-natural message needs to be amplified!!! And I'm not even touching on the varying degrees of naturality, or even skin color. My only issue is with women who are so scared of what others think, so scared of the kink, so scared of the whatever, so scared of not being 'pretty' that they fry their hair at the first site of kink – AND I said that AS WELL in my comment(s). I said I hoped women would at least try natural. See what's there. Don't just cover it up and freak out when it shoes itself. Get to know your hair and if you still can't deal, at least you are fully AWARE or your choices. We have 40 year old women who have NEVER seen their hair in it's natural state! If that is not self hate I don't know what is. Women who spend all their money on "pieces" and keep patronizing a stylist who leaves them with chemical burns on their scalp for slick hair. Women in general need to free themselves more from the bondage of cosmetics, clothes, etc. Kim from RHOA is a slave to her ish. It's sad, in any color. I am a slave to shoes and I need help. LOL. I'm working on it.

    And yes, there are brunettes who have been bleaching blond forever. Point taken. There is alaways a comparison to make to water down the validity of a controversial point… yet and still. Oranges are not lemons and this IS a BLACK CURLY/KINKY HAIR LIFESTYLE BLOG. Peace 🙂

  • Asea says:

    SO – I WAS THE COMMENTOR WHO SISTA GIRL QUOTED IN THIS ARICLE! How shocked was I to see my comment mentioned… Yes, I said permanent hair color saturated the hair with color. It does, does it not? I don't really appreciate how my honest comment was taken out of context and used to "bash" women who are passionate about their God given hair, drenched in sarcastic opinion to make your point. I see your point, and I will respect it without any irony. Is that not what you complained about OTHERS doing in your article? There is a nicer way to say things, indeed 🙂

    All of our points are valid to US, but it'd be easier to perceive a pure, core message without the typical snap-your-neck attitude. Let's just pause with that, please. I was simply stating that we tend to compare oranges and lemons. Yes, they are both citrus fruit but they are NOT the same thing! Dying your hair black, for example, does not give you straight hair nor does it rearrange the pattern of molecules in your hair subsequently loosening a very tight curl pattern. Nor, does it contain sodium hydroxide. It's not "good" for your hair. I'm aware. And, yes, hair dye alters your hair during processing to adhere color, yes, it alters your hair and so does a perm, but to get blasted with a snickery "Girl, please" is a bit harsh for stating a true fact… We weren't discussing hair dye, we were discussing PERMS.

    I agree with MONI and HAIRPOLITIK and MR SUMNER, among others. Some of us are in denial, and some just don't have an issue at all, we all have different experiences that mold our train of thought. Me, myself, I will always be in agreement that the pro-natural message needs to be amplified!!! And I'm not even touching on the varying degrees of naturality, or even skin color. My only issue is with women who are so scared of what others think, so scared of the kink, so scared of the whatever, so scared of not being 'pretty' that they fry their hair at the first site of kink – AND I said that AS WELL in my comment(s). I said I hoped women would at least try natural. See what's there. Don't just cover it up and freak out when it shoes itself. Get to know your hair and if you still can't deal, at least you are fully AWARE or your choices. We have 40 year old women who have NEVER seen their hair in it's natural state! If that is not self hate I don't know what is. Women who spend all their money on "pieces" and keep patronizing a stylist who leaves them with chemical burns on their scalp for slick hair. Women in general need to free themselves more from the bondage of cosmetics, clothes, etc. Kim from RHOA is a slave to her ish. It's sad, in any color. I am a slave to shoes and I need help. LOL. I'm working on it.

    And yes, there are brunettes who have been bleaching blond forever. Point taken. There is alaways a comparison to make to water down the validity of a controversial point… yet and still. Oranges are not lemons and this IS a BLACK CURLY/KINKY HAIR LIFESTYLE BLOG. Peace 🙂

  • Kevin Sumner says:

    I can't believe how much of an issue my facebook status is! My views of natural hair is definitely a result of first-hand experience. I grew up just like the next man, thinkin that long, straight hair is beautiful. Not to mention, I also thought that light-skinned girls looked better than dark-skinned girls. I really had to be enlightened. I had to ask myself critical questions, "Why do I like light skinned girls? Why do I like long straight hair?" The fact that sentiment perpetuated through the minds of each and every one of my friends was a serious problem. When I first got to college, the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, wore a straight up 'fro. Then I began to examine why her look was so radical, when that was the way that her hair natural grew? At some point, someone told us that our hair was ugly and we believed it. Man if we didn't believe it, relaxers would not exist. Our hair is beautiful, why do we feel the need to change the texture of it? Yes, I do understand wanting the change the style of your hair, but relaxing your hair is changing the TEXTURE of your hair, why is that okay?

    I'm really perterved that by saying that perming your hair is a form of self-hate, I receive so much flack. My ex-girl friend got bashed by her grandmother got for not 'doing' her hair during family gatherings. Why was her grandmother tellnig her friends that "She looks much better when she DOES HER HAIR…" To me, that's BS! If I make a facebook status about that it would not have generated nearly as much of a response? Why is that okay? I got one hundred and something comments on my fb status when I called out black women for getting perms…

    Think about that. If I said that black women need to do their hair, that natural ish is just a fad and that nappy ish is not acceptable would I have ended up on The thing is, most of my friends don't care how your hair is.. As long as their attracted to you, then its ok. Most of my friends have the same distored image of beauty as everyone else: Pretty light-skinned girls with long straight hair. That's BS to me. I like my sisters with their hair the way that God designed their hair to be. If that's nappy, then it is what it is. I love it! Why can't we just be who we are?????

    To everyone who is offended by my comments, I'm sorry. I don't take it back at all. Get offended and write blogs about the guy who said "You look good for a dark skinnned chick"….

  • Betty "CC" Gray says:

    I find it hilarious that this is still an issue with people. I have/had a perm since I was 7. My mom told me she did not know what to do with my hair. It was very long and very thick. I kept the perm all through adulthood basically because I hate doing my hair and at the time it was easier for me. Because of the unknown, I never ventured into having natural hair. I had no idea how to take care of it. Now thanks to wonderful websites on how-to's for black women's natural hair, I am 5 inches in the process of going natural. Now I feel like I MAY know what to do with my natural hair. My 15 y/o daughter has decided to have natural hair as well and we're taking this journey together. So far so good.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 10:59pm: LOL that was exactly my point – I don't think hair is just hair but it has different meanings for different people…I said that multiple times in my post and in the comments…I'm not into placing people in groups.

  • Anonymous says:

    love it Brownlady…who will address this if we don't because it is real…that is why the man from Sesame Street had a song written just for his little girl.

    He made a song for his own little girl and I am sure he is helping countless little black girls to not have to deal with this as adults…because they will be so secure in

    themselves from the affirmations from that song as well as love from other blacks (be it mom or dad or sister or aunt or teacher or pediatrian) WHO DECIDED TO EDUCATE and UNDERSTAND their hair.

  • BrownLady says:

    If you are not a hair "fanatic" and you are over this petty debate, then it seems to me that the solution to your problem is very simple…STAY OUT OF THE CONVERSATION.

    That being said, I agree with HairPolitik…I'm passionate about this subject because there are tons of little girls that will deal with these REAL issues and if we don't address them who will???

  • Anonymous says:

    To be honest ITS JUSYT HAIR to me the reason i say this is because it’s not important in the slightest. I know about are history and the struggle we went through to be accepted. I find it very strange that my race of people pick each other apart over whose relaxed and whose natural honestly do us as black women find this important really. We come into this world alone were going to die alone are we relay going to spend are days on this earth fighting with each other over hair really? Am so sick to the back teeth of us black woman saying it’s not hair it is just hair, all we need to do is wash it take care of it and style it as we choose and that’s it. I don’t know what’s wrong with the United States but I live in England and do you know what it’s just not that serous, am 24 and natural and no one cares that’s the way I like it.

  • Anonymous says:

    "The most comical thing about the young mans article is that doing hair is an issue he will never have to deal with."


  • Anonymous says:

    I was natural as a child but almost always wore my hair pressed or braided. It was "easier" to manage that way. Although I've grown up hearing, "You have good hair why is it always braided?" as well as "Girl you got n@GGa naps!" I eventually got a relaxed because I didn't want to leave the house with a fresh press and come home looking like I stuck my finger in a light socket. I wouldn't say that I hated myself or wanted to be white(although I think alot of hair-straightening initially developed out of a "need" to better fit Euro standards of beauty). And I don't feel that I love myself more now that I've been natural for almost a year. I just love myself in a different way. It's always a good feeling to accept yourself the way you are–but the truth is for some people relaxed is the way they are. Some were relaxed at a very young age by mothers who were relaxed at a young age themselves. I definitely think its a generalization to say that these people hate themselves because that may be all they know! I think that the fact that we are quick to relax without thinking of the reasons why shows that we do have a negative perception of our hair in its natural state as a whole–ideas that have been perpetuated and passed down through generations. There is too much evidence to support that to dispute, imo. However, just because the greater part of the whole has hair, skin or whatever kind of issues does not mean that every individual who relaxes is doing so because they are perpetuating some kind of self-hatred. If that was the case, anyone who makes any changes to themselves is doing the same. The truth is, nothing is permanent, not even relaxers (you can bc and start over)! Everyone has insecurities, most about their outward appearances. Yes, it's sad that many of us as a whole struggle with hair issues and that's not anything we should ignore, however blanket statements and generalizations are not going to get us anywhere. All relaxed women are not poor, misguided, uninformed slaves to chemicals just like not all naturals are nazi, sista soulja, black-power types. I think the sooner we learn not to generalize or judge, and hell even to have un-insulting adult-like debates about things the better off we all will be. There will always be something to disagree about!

  • Anonymous says:

    i definitly am not ignoring the problems. But these are problems WE create. Because we are insecure and we project them to each other.

    Hate and Judgement got us here/ Its not going to solve anything

    They are actually people dying, while we fighting about hair. I just volunteered this afternoon so to read this saddens me.

    btw what racial bias that persist in our society
    are you specifically mentioning?

  • Anonymous says:

    Kimgirl50 MLK was one man and one speech. The struggles of our ancestors did not begin or end with him. I get what you are saying, but wanting to infuse sunshine and starlight into hard issues doesn't make them go away. I think our ancestors were far more concerned about actually having an opportunity to live, survive, and thrive without the tyranny of a racist system that regarded them as chattel. Black people have a lot of issues and I agree we can be our own worst enemies, but that does not absolve one bit the past and PRESENT inequities of racial bias that persist in our society. Again, ignoring it doesn't make it go away. As a previous poster said, racism is the real monster here at the heart- both inter-cultural and intra-cultural.

  • Anonymous says:

    Relaxers make our hair break off and our scalps itchy and they are just gross. If you want straight hair than blowdry and flat iron it. There are ways to protect it temporarily, and although it make take some of us longer than others, it's better than a relaxer. Just don't do it everyday. if you want hair that is healthy, long or if you just want hair, you must let it rest and just be what it is sometimes. I think that going natural is the beginning of finding our true selves. I love it and it is spiritual to me. I feel that it is helping me find strength in other facets of my life. I would recommend every African American woman go natural. It is truly a great experience and I will not tell any one else what to do unless they ask me. And when they ask me about it or if anyone is curious, I will tell them everything I know so far.


  • Anonymous says:

    p.s i think her hair is aweeesommmee too!

  • Anonymous says:

    i feel as if people honestly are trying so hard to hold on to these painful feelings instead of the appreciating the live we have now. Why dig up our ancestors turmoils when they fought for us not to have them. Why tear each other down, instead of love and understand each other flaws and all.

  • Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight, the few chosen hair goddesses have now decided that hair is not just hair. Really? I think the writer of this blog is a hypocrite. Practice what u preach! Hair has different meanings to different individuals which is why some ppl spend hundreds of dollars on products to get that perfect curl, moisture etc (hidden as a PJ) and others are simple and get the basics.

    I think that something is seriously wrong with a lot of black ppl sometimes. The obsession abt hair for some never ends, permed or natural. Companies and the neighbor next door are making millions off of ur obsession. Look at all these PJs. All the new scientists and obsession abt organic stuff (disguised as healthy hair). If minerals, sulfates etc were that bad we'd all be bald right now. How many of grew up on vaseline and had long healthy hair. Come on sistas. Wake up! Hair shd just be hair for a lot of u cuz at least u'd be richer and wiser.

  • Anonymous says:

    correct me if im mistaken but didnt someone say

    "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character….I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

    history of a community, and family DO impact ones present decisions but they do not decide.

    Once again people give power.

    Times changes, People evolve and grow. Governments rise and fall. You can not have a 1965 mentality in 2010

    The only people holding black people back are black people

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous 8:31 a.m. I know what you mean about the double booked appointments for the relaxers. I would spend 4 to 5 hours on touch up days. And forget about holidays. Dang I was a junkie. LOL! Anyway I began to daydream about what it would be like to not relax anymore. I remember one time when I mentioned that I wanted to start pressing again, the comment was almost like your hair needs to be relaxed, (because the pressing won't last). Fast forward from my last relaxer in May 2009, and I have never been freer!

  • Anonymous says:

    P.S Elle I luv your hair! You're a cutie tootie!

  • Anonymous says:

    …and Elle I see your point. You are right we can't look at another woman and know why she relaxes her hair. But you know sometimes we are not even honest with ourselves about why we do the things we do so if we asked that woman we still wouldn't be in a position to really know the answer. She MIGHT hate herself and be in denial or she MIGHT just like the way a relaxed doo fits her face! We don't know and yes we shouldn't assume. My issue is how we bury our heads in the sand whenever the uncomfortable history of hair straightening pops up. Then everybody runs for cover as if all the really sad and bad reasons why don't apply to them. It may not, but then again…

  • Anonymous says:

    No our ancestors did not fight for it to be just hair,eyes, and skin! Those people were fighting inhumane oppression. Let's not trivialize their plights with that post-racial America bullcrap please. I certainly don't equate hangings with being able to sing "I'm not my hair." To believe the history of a community, and family do not impact ones present decisions is extremely naive. No it should never hold you back. Wearing natural hair is an extension of not being held back by existing biases imo. If that doesn't matter to some sistas that's cool, but if it does then that's all good too.

  • Anonymous says:

    @BrownEmber – No, I agree with you. I'm not living in an idealized fantasy world, I am well aware of the perceptions that many have about black women's hair. That is why I think women should really ponder why they are relaxing and/or straightening their hair. But you should also realize that many women, especially now, didn't even know what their natural texture was…so how could they hate it, especially if it wasn't their choice to relax their hair when they were young? All I'm saying is that you cannot LOOK at a woman and know why she chooses to relax her hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    **sorry used wronq display name lmao

    people give power to words,items,etc.

    you learn from history not let it hold you back.
    stop making your parents mistake.

    our ancestors fought so that it would be JUST hair,skin,eyes.

    let it be.

  • Anonymous says:

    people give power to words,items,etc.

    you learn from history not let it hold you back.
    stop making your parents mistake.

    our ancestors fought so that it would be JUST hair,skin,eyes.

    let it be.

  • Alicia James says:

    Tell it. BTW, ElliePixie, I discovered your blog and You Tube channel the other day and I like your take on some issues.

  • Anonymous says:

    Important points:
    Your truth is your truth: a different perspective does nt mean someone is lying to themselves
    History:I did not live during those times so why do you think my decisions that are made today has everything to do with the thought process of the people of yesterday…
    Projection: people are telling us why they decided to go natural…it is interesting how their reasons are being dismissed if it does not fit the preconceived thoughts you have…


  • Ebonediva says:

    Well said Mona.

    This has been discussed countless times. I have the "heard it all before" attitude. Yes, I am pro-black. Yes, I was a "straight hair" whore, relaxer every 6 weeks. Yes, I grew out my hair for health reason and mostly because of personal preference.
    Move on people–can't make everyone happy!
    I am not my hair.

  • Alexia says:

    I think the thing with natural women is that like you said it's more projection than confidence. I think they have to convince themselves that they are beautiful and above everyone else by putting down or hating on others. It's an insecurity to me. They know that in society they are not the norm and so desperately want people to understand that instead of being different they are above the norm. It's all pretty sill to me. If I ever decide to go natural I will never forget my relaxed days and start acting like I've been enlightened since birth.

  • Anonymous says:

    It was interesting to see the post that the gentleman made. Not really sure how it made me feel but I definitely did a "what? with a scrunched up face and my head twisted to the side" For me it was that reaction because it made no sense. I really loved my natural texture pre perm and my mother put a light perm in my hair because the humidity where we lived killed any kind of roller set or semi press she tried to give me so that when I was a teenager I was not still rocking two braids. And to help as I played sports A LOT. That being said, I agree that we all have a right to our opinions. But where I disagree is that it is an opinion by a person who as a man did not have hair type issues as a child. No will he ever have to spend any amount of time, past a barbershop, to get his do done. So how can he even have an opinion? I think that's what makes it all a bit…hmmmm what's the word..questionable of his intent to even comment in the first place. If you prefer and adore natural hair. GOOD FOR YOU my brother. No love lost. But I don't view you any different then the man who perfers his lady to rock a straight mane (real, borrowed or otherwise) But to claim self-hate as this writer states is a very bold statement that truly is unfounded. But maybe he did a study of women of color and found that 500 out of 500 really had self-esteem problems. But outside of talking to anyone to back up his statement, perhaps it was a rant better left to his on social network. Either way, love yourself natural, love yourself permed, love yourself as the weave queen. But as the writer said, love you for who YOU CHOOSE to be. Everyone else can ultimately kick rocks. 🙂 And we agree to disagree.

  • Star says:

    We have to be careful & not let the comments that ppl make about natural or relaxed hair offend us! Ppl are entitled to think the way they want, regardless of if you feel its ignorant or not. Just like you may have reasons or evidence for their statements being false, they too may have their reasons for not agreeing with you. I got my first relaxer when I was 12. I did because I got tired of getting my hair pressed and because all my friends hair looked so cool and I wanted mine to look like theirs. While I never as a teenager said that I hated myself or my hair while I was perming, I still talked about ppls hair if it wasn't smoothed & straight & thought it was nappy. We sometimes do have to ask ourselves "Why Am I Relaxing My Hair?" Everybody has their reasons, I know mine at the time I was, was because that was all I knew. I learned how to take care of my relaxed hair, and never really knew much about caring for my natural hair. Although I didn't relax til 12, before all my mom did was wash,condition, grease & press my hair, & I knew I didn't want to go back to that. Wearing my hair in its natural state in twistouts wearing it curly, that didn't occur to me until about 3 yrs ago. If we're going to get on relaxed & natural hair then we might as well get on the naturals whom spend tons of money or get obessed with trying to obtain the "ALMIGHTY CURL". Some of us become disappointed with our hair if we can't achieve a curl instead of understanding that all natural hair does not have a curl pattern. This even makes some naturals rivert back to relaxer. Again like India Arie says, "Good Hair Means Curls & Waves, Bad Hair Means You Look Like A Slave". We can't lie to ourselves & get offended when one screams out self hate because in our community we are drenched in self hate. We have been told our looks, skin, hair & all is ugly. So anything too dark, too nappy we stray away from & look down upon. Would we tell a very dark skin person that they need to humble down if they walk around with an aire and to stop thinking they're better than lighter skin ppl? So why knock naturals for walking around with confidence.Not to say that the very dark skin person haves the right to look down upon others, because noone does nor should. Its just that that person knows the prejudices they face in a socitey that says their skin is too dark & that they aren't beautiful/good enough, so instead of sulking and hating themselves relishing in low self esteem, they decide to walk with their head held high & let the world know that they think & are beautiful. Bottom line everyone wants to feel accepted & you can say all you want to about not caring what others think but truth is WE ALL DO at some point in our life. Rather if its by our love ones or perfect strangers we all want to be desired. Yes, naturals may pump themselves up a bit but we have to because we aren't the norm, relaxed ppl don't get looked down upon & are more accepted. Not making excuses because some naturals can go overboard & aggorance is a ugly thing, but theirs nothing wrong with taking pride in what you have naturally. We're trying to make a point by saying, yes my natural is beautiful and I'm not ashamed of it and will rock it despite of what the norm is and what society says. Anytime you step out the box & go against the norms and trends, you gonna get ousted. Some ppl don't understand change & being different & natural hair does stand out, it always has. We can't always go crashing on relaxed/natural hair & opinions one may have rather they or negative or positive because in reality blk hair, or even blk ppll in general have always been controversial. We all have our opinions/beliefs so lets respect them even if we don't agree, we can't always scream ignorant.

  • Unknown says:

    The projection theory is a valid one. Perhaps many of the woman crying conformity do so because they all too clearly remember their own insecurity issues. If that's the case though…wouldn't they know what insecurity looks like better than most?

    Personally, I've never had a perm…so no hypocrisy here lol. I'm looking at the issue from a completely objective standpoint. And objectively? There is waaaaay too much evidence out here for anyone to deny that people in America have issues with blackness. Black Americans are not immune from those issues.

    I know we've all seen the Tyra episode where the idiot black mommas projected their issues with black hair right onto their daughters. I'm sure many of us know about the infamous Clark doll experiment that sparked a lot of the civil rights litigation in the 50s and 60s. I remember reading an article from an ancient Ebony mag where two adult female black journalists debated the pros/cons of natural hair. I read that article as a kid and even I know that this grown professional woman was seriously disturbed.

    Those are just a few examples of GROWN woman (not just girls) who have deep issues with their natural hair. MOST (not just "some") black women (well young adults) with perms I know wouldn't be caught dead wearing their hair as "nappy as I do".

    When I read posts like this…I feel like the author is ignoring realities because the idealized imaginary world is nicer to live in (I say that totally without malice Elle!). Sure we all wish that black women didn't have to struggle with desires of conformity. But they do…and they shouldn't even feel badly about it. We've been conditioned to have those issues.

    The only way we're going to get to the point where it's safe to assume that any black woman on the street wears a perm simply bc she wants to(no strings attached) is by discussing and calling out the women who do perm for conformity now.

  • Anonymous says:

    WOW, I am so mad! (EllePixie here, hey!) I wrote this long butt response and then blogger had an error so it got erased. So ummm, Cliff's Notes:

    – Thanks everyone for the comments, my blog has a different tone than Nikki's so I thought (more) people would be offended. But, for the most part, I was being facetious.

    – @HairPolitik: Agree with you that it isn't just hair, for women of any race, and especially black women. If it really were just hair we wouldn't freak out and cry when we get bad hair cuts, or women wouldn't sit at home talking about how her man will leave her if she gets a bad dye job (I've seen this). And, thank you for the compliment! 🙂

    -@Anon about caring what men think: Yea, I'd say most women do care what men think, but seriously, if a dude is going to leave you because of your hair, he's not ride or die…so pass on that. Men often feel the need to comment on women's appearances (hair, clothes, makeup, diet, body, tattoos, piercings, etc), yet often, if we say anything to them we're nagging or "trying to change them." I just can't get down with that…but I do see your point, definitely.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with @Tif. For some of us, it is just hair because we didn't grow up being told our natural hair (which some of us did have until adulthood or longer) was just fine. I have plenty of friends who have never had a perm, or who didnt' get one until adulthood, myself included.
    Just because you were hurt or damaged growing up doesn't mean that I was too.
    Racism is real, but it goes much deeper than hair. A person who hates you because you are black doesn't hate you less b/c you are lighter or have your hair straightened.
    And as I read these same comments in the numerous blogs, it seems that all of the insults come from men and your own BLACK families.
    Shouldn't it be coming from the non-black people if they are really STILL the source. It's like some black people passing down some toxin that white people don't even know about anymore. Seriously, I'd liken it to blaming the white person at work for slavery.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bronze Trinity I love your zen middle path approach lol and I agree with you 100%.
    My only concern is that while everybody is stewing in their camps, there's a lot of unity lost and miscommunication. But alas that is life I suppose. I'd add another camp- the going green crowd (my peeps whoo hoo!) for whom natural hair is an extension of the other ways in their life that they are avoiding harmful chemicals and not encouraging environmental degradation. That camp is pretty large and growing imo.

  • Elegance says:

    I think that we should all just agree that there are at least 2 camps when it comes to natural hair. One camp (that I belong to) thinks that relaxing hair was done to fit in with White people and is a form of self-hate. For us, going natural was a transformation that also involved learning more about our African roots, questioning where our standards of beauty came from, and learning to accept what we have been given. We think hair is more than just hair and it makes a statement that we did not have the courage to make before. These are die-hard naturals who vow to never relax again.

    The other camp (from what I have observed, I might be wrong) has women who think it's just hair, an accessory, and it doesn't have to make a statement. In this camp women sometimes straighten their hair, don't think there is anything negative about relaxing, and might do it again in the future. In my opinion, many of these women are following a fashion trend and might not be natural 10 years from now.

    There is actually a third camp. These women went natural because the chemicals where damaging their hair or it was too expensive. They may have some of the same opinions as the women in the other two camps. I think they are less likely to relax again compared to the second camp because they know the damage it does, but there isn't a deep shift in the way they think about natural vs. straight hair. So they may use heat to straighten.

    So now everyone can get on my case for trying to pigeon-hole everyone into categories. But the point I'm trying to make is that women have gone natural for different reasons and these are the three I have noticed the most. Because of this, sometimes arguing is a waste of time. The young man who wrote the previous post is obviously from the first camp, my camp and thinks about natural hair from an afrocentric perspective. The writer of the current article is not from that camp. He is right and she is right depending on what camp you come from.

  • Twitchy says:

    lol Wow. So now it's the "it's just hair" group? There isn't a group. I find it funny that so many of you want to slap the hands of those saying everyone that's relaxed isn't being true to themselves and then turn around and tell those who think it's just hair that they're clearly delusional. And I know I'm paraphrasing, but I'm still at work and I'm sneaking in to comment yet again. But I digress…

    I didn't grow up with these notions of nappy hair being bad and needing to have bone straight hair because it's more professional looking, ect ect. I really didn't know this struggle existed until I got to college. I was naive to a lot of things because they just weren't issues in my childhood. My eyes were opened to a lot of things during those four years concerning myself and being black in America, but that's a story for another day. My opinion is and will always be that it's just hair. I think we as a people have more deep and hurtful things that we need to deal with than the hair issue. So sue me, I think it's just hair. I wear my hair all sorts of ways. Straight, curly, weaved up, braided up. And when I'm not wearing my hair (i.e. I have it in braids or a quick weave) it's because I'm way too busy as the only misdemeanor attorney in this county with a 100+ case load that I just can't wake up and do my hair every other day or be bothered to retwist my hair to make sure the dreaded bed head doesn't ruin my pretty curls while I'm sleeping.

    So I get it. I know there's a hair struggle. I see it all the time. I read about it, I come across it on the hair boards and blogs. Believe me, I do. Hair is an issue. I'm saying it shouldn't be. Just like race shouldn't be an issue either and it clearly is. But if you ask me which issue I think is more damaging and needs to be addressed in a more alarming way, I'd say the race issue because all these other sub issues (and I think that natural vs. relaxed is a sub issue of a much larger problem) are a spin off from that in my opinion. We take care of the monster, we can get rid of the nightmare all together.

  • Anonymous says:

    Judging by the passion in everyones words on this topic, it proves that "hair is not just hair" – look at all the emotions it brings out of people. This is something that is deep rooted in us that goes back in history… As for me, I am natural now for almost 2 yrs, I did it because I was tired of relaxers, my last relaxer in 2009 made my hair so limp that I couldn't style it, plus for a while I wanted to "get to know" my real hair, reinvent myself, and look different at the same time. Sometimes I find it difficult to manage, but overall I'm happy with it, I'll admit it does make me feel a bit more "liberated" – but that's just me at the present, who knows I may decide to get a relaxer again in the future… But anyway, I don't think there's anything wrong with relaxers, weaves, wigs etc… do whatever makes you feel good about yourself…

  • Anonymous says:

    My last comment. I have watched several mainstream popular hair blogs and websites go down the tubes over the years. They were literally destroyed by banters about how folks should wear their hair. I have discontinued my membership on these. And every year new boards come up and I'm finding that I would just like to get pictures and tips and could care less about the arguments: because they are getting old; all this does is take up valuable space where people can show their hairdos. And no matter how beautiful your board there are always new ones where people don't bicker. Or you don't have to worry about an interview statement sparking debate. You know many other people of the diaspora and different ethnicities view boards like this and it is pathetic that we show this negative side of ourselves; we can't seem to disagree without being disagreeable and name calling. So for me I'm not sure. I'd like to visit boards blogs and websites where this bickering is put to rest. Perhaps the website owner should just state her mission and objective and what she wants this board to be and put it out front and set up a discussion area where folks can get personal about any comment in reference to good hair or bad hair(LOL..of which there isn't any)
    I'm tired; it's embarrasing and the argument is as old as dirt. Been going on since Madam WAlker. Or perhaps the website owner wants it to be this way. Fine that is her choice and I respect it; but personally I'm going to start supporting sites where all this argument is not promoted on its front page.

  • Anonymous says:

    The most comical thing about the young mans article is that doing hair is an issue he will never have to deal with. I don't entertain opinions or advice from folks who have no experience or expertise on the topic. He has spent way to much time and energy focused on the issue. I wonder if he has other hobbies.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh Yippee now we can all love ourselves and get back to working on our communities…we are not our hair. Sick of these discussions.

  • Anonymous says:

    And Elle Pixie I agree no woman should HAVE to do anything to please a man, but the opinions of our mates do matter. In one of the posts on here, I suspect many of these same readers applauding you were also questioning whether a natural with undefined hair as pictured could actually get a man or a job so yeah its' not "just" anything.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you Hair Politik. This article might have been interesting without the snark and vinegar.
    If this is the trumpet the "it's just hair" crew wants to rally behind mmkay then.

    Nothing is "just" anything, but everyone is different and the extent to what something matters to YOU does not apply to everybody.

    For me it's about health, and yes anybody willing to sit in a chair and burn holes in their scalp is doing self harm. If I eat a gallon of ice-cream, I'm doing self- harm. If I drive without a seat belt then I'm doing self-harm. Let's not try to normalize acts of self-harm because they are "convenient". Am I enlightened, um no…but I'm acting working in my life to minimize harmful behaviors in my life and that's not something to be ashamed of because it makes other people examine their own choices.

    I don't care what another sista does with her hair, but don't spit on me and tell me it's rain.Relaxers are harmful- physically, and for SOME (not all- I repeat NOT ALL) psychologically.

  • bkKinksnCurls says:

    Right on HairPolitik, it certainly is not JUST hair or "going natural" would not even exist.

    Growing up I heard all kinds of things as a brown-skinned, long-haired relaxed child: "I wish I had hair like yours" (everyone, including some white folks!), "You're not allowed to cut your hair" (mom), "I'll hurt you if you ever cut your hair" (said playfully by a girlfriend), "Your beauty is your hair" (this one from a random stranger at the salon, a woman of at least 60). My entire adolescence involved people associating my entire beauty with my hair follicles. This "conditioning" doesn't just go away just because I'm an adult now. So now that I'm a year into transitioning and looking forward to my BC in a couples months, it IS a big deal! The fact that at 26, I'm now only JUST seeing what my natural texture is IS a big deal. And for some newly naturals they're discovering it in later in life.

    Don't get me wrong, one transitioning woman's revelation is not another relaxed woman's "self-hate". No one should be judging ANYONE else. Just as I wouldn't want life-long naturals to look down on me because I'm only now transitioning or that I'm not rocking a TWA off the bat. I say, live and let live!

    When I see a relaxed/weaved/or wigged sister, I don't think she's self hating, I just wonder to myself what her natural texture might look like, out of curiosity and what were the reasons she's chosen this route. You don't know the reasons why people do the things they do. You can only ask politely and sincerely, and hope they see you mean no disrespect but are merely curious. NEVER assume. And then, respect their right to do what they choose to do with THEIR OWN hair. You're not the one who has to maintain it, they are.

    To each, his or her own! Whether I'm part of a movement or not, I don't know. I just know I'm tired of sweating under dryers and picking at chemical burns. I think the best thing naturals can do is rock their gorgeous textures out in the world and that will be enough to inspired the relaxed sisters who are so inclined to make the change themselves do so. Keep your assumptions to yourselves.

  • AishaSaidIt says:

    "afrocentric jewelry while she blasts Common and Bilal on her Evo (no, not iPhone, she isn’t a sheep)" LOL!!!!!! OMG that's me. Awesome article.

  • Franki says:

    Also –

    There's a difference between talking about the way society treats black women and how that affects the choices we make on a grand scale, and hating on individual black women. The former is an important conversation to have. The latter is just petty and catty. When you start to apply arguments to individual women without asking the women themselves, you're overstepping your bounds and moving to the petty place because you're making it about you and the insecurities you think they have. And if you're going to make it about you, then you need to stick to talking about your own struggle.

  • MsNellaBella says:

    I agree with the author that when we look down on another woman's hair, we are projecting our own insecurities. For many years I wanted to rock my natural curls, but I was taught growing up that kinky hair would hold me back professionally. As a grown woman, I know now that is far from the truth. When my fellow sista is working her hair and outfit, whether she is relaxed or natural, I throw a compliment her way. We are all individuals and we define our own beauty.

  • Franki says:


    The moment you start to hate on someone else for making different choices than you, regardless of the reasons behind those choices, you become the one with the problem.

  • DblDee says:

    Black people can be some of the most hypocritical group of people at times. Still battling the Crab Syndrome. Just because you are natural doesn't mean everyone else has to jump on the band wagon. I go through many hair phases: natural, relaxed, color, long/short. ..That's just me. When I was natural a BLACK woman had the nerve to tell me that I wasn't "Real Sista" because of the texture of my hair. What type of crap is that? When I decided to wear my hair relaxed I have to deal with "rolling eyes and slick remarks"…Whatever!! Kudos to the sista that wrote this you hit the nail on the head. Remember ladies: **Do You** Your hair does not determine your sense of pride.

  • LL says:

    For the folks saying "it's just hair", I find it hard to believe that most of you think so. Look at this site, forums, etc. Girls are spending not only a bunch of time, but a lot of money focusing on their hair. If you only think it is just hair, wash it condition it, and go on about your day.

    I am not a natural nazi, I went natural because I just didn't see the point of having a relaxer. No, not everyone who has a relaxer
    "hates" themselves, but their is a reason for feeling like you can't "deal" with what comes out of your head. Link it to whatever you want.

  • Anonymous says:

    Willit said it best in the last sentences:

    I really don't care how the next person wears their hair as long as they rock whatever they are rocking because they want to and not because they feel they have to.

    My feelings exactly!

  • Willit says:

    To be completely honest….I went natural because I saw it on someone and I liked it, I saw it on my sister and wondered if my hair could do that, and now I see it on myself and I love it. I really don't care how the next person wears their hair as long as they rock whatever they are rocking because they want to and not because they feel they have to.

  • HairPolitik says:

    Whoops! My bad y'all I see that Anon 9:06 get's credit for that vegetarian quote. She/he said exactly what I've been thinking for a while now.

  • HairPolitik says:

    JustTrena: "It's like if you tell someone that you're a vegetarian. Then you get comments back about how they could 'never live without meat', or they love their ribs too much to give it up, etc. etc. Some people take whatever you tell them about yourself as a personal attack on their lifestyle. Maybe it's a lack of confidence…"

    @JustTrena I couldn't have said it better. When I read a lot of these posts and comments I have to stop myself from asking where are all these mean naturals that bash everyone that straightens their hair. I stop out of respect for the diversity of experiences out there- just cuz I didn't encounter it on the regular doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I know they exist (especially in the instance of the Facebook guy in the first article) but I seriously question the ARMY of MEAN BLACK NATURAL Beasts that warrants this response. Sometimes I think a natural just walking into a room full of sisters with straight hair makes folks uncomfortable because THEY feel self conscious about their styling choices and are buying into the stereotype that naturals are radical and that their life's mission is to convert them so they can go to natural heaven. I mean honestly, if that relaxed sister didn't have any insecurities about wearing her hair straight or what she herself thinks that means about her identity, then why would it matter what anyone else said…but we could ask those questions all day. Point is that when I was relaxed, even I wondered why I LOVED my hair straight ALL of the time and couldn't stand to let my hair GO BACK. So instead of going deeper with these questions, I started deflecting my fears onto other people…that's right THE MEAN NATURALS, lol.

    Lol uh…thanks @Tif and the "It is Just Hair Folks"… but I wish I could take credit for the class and colorism that resulted in a hierarchy of hair types in our community…oh wait a minute…I don't and I can't. But I feel you. It should be "Just Hair", but it's not. I wish it were too. But if saying it made it true, then pigs could fly and fish could talk. No matter what you say, that's the history of it and we are products of that history. I didn't make it up, I'm just acknowledging it truthfully. I think that until we honestly talk about it, it will never go away. Why do you think I could easily write about the girl with the long hair being the "IT" chick or the "I look pretty now" gleam in my eye and easily apply those experiences to CN readers? I don't even know you but I can guess that you have had at least some of those experiences. Why? Because there is hierarchy that's still in full effect. Period. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. So everyone that wants it to be just hair…we have to do the work it takes to get us there. That doesn't make me, you all, or relaxed Beautiful Black Women bad people. It is what it is.

    @EllePixie…the main reason I'm commenting again is because I forgot to mention how FIERCE FIERCE FIERCE your red curls are. Love it! Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Unknown says:

    @HairPolitik "why do we continue to lie to ourselves about the truth?" – Exactly!! It's NOT just hair, or else naturals wouldn't have been (and continue to be) made fun of. The amount of times I've heard perm girls say negative things about naturals is exhausting. The amount of times natural hair is the "Before" picture in beauty ads is disappointing. The amount of times natural hair is seen as "unprofessional"? Geeezus please!! Let's be real for once. There wouldn't be a "movement" if there wasn't so much resistance in the first place. It is NOT just hair. Never was. We see through the crap of people who say they're colour-blind and don't see race, so too should we see through the crap of the "hair-blind". Do what you want, but just be real about it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bravo, I love this reply to that article. I compliment Nice hair styles, straight, curly, kinky, weaved or a wig. Long, short, bald, or asymetrical cuts, if they look good and I like it, they get a compliment. Hair is hair rock it how you like it. I went natural because it was breaking off and getting thin and I knew it was the relaxers doing it. I rarely put heat on my hair, never blow dried and had a ritural that I stuck to and adjusted when the seasons changed but my hair was getting weaker, thinner, and breaking, and I went to a stylist! What took the cake was the 2 inch spot at the top of my head of broken off hair. I wasn't self hater when I relaxed it was just all I knew, and i gave props to the naturals I did see. I have been told I am to nappy to go natural , that I should never cut it short, keep it straight and so on, I never listen and did what I wanted to do with MY HAIR. Thats the key it's there hair they can do what they want to it. Some ladies (and men) may need to look inside themselves and it will come in their own time and they will make their own decision. The information I get from the hair blogs and sites, are what get me through this transition this time(second time I went natural, had no knowledge the first time). So BRAVO to you Girl, and I love you picture your hairs cute. 😉

  • apaine says:

    i agree, to a certain extent. i however DO believe it takes a certain amount of courage to "go natural" because it takes you away from not only your personal norm but the norm of society, your family, your mate, your employer… there's confidence in loving 100% of yourself mentally spiritually and yes, PHYSICALLY right down to the texture of your hair. that being said, i do not think that equates to permed women NOT being confident in themselves. a fresh perm/flatiron can make a woman feel super confident. just watch the way they walk out of the salon! head high, hair blowing in the wind… lol! i do agree with the writer that we should all know our natural texture AND know how to care for it before we do ANY chemical process including color. i totally get her point. but she could have done it with less 'tude as it put her on the same level as his artical in the attitude department.

  • Ash says:

    Thank you for sharing this article. I 100% agree! I felt the same way after reading that follow-up article… I began getting my hair relaxed when I was too young to understand the damage it can cause to my hair and health. I stop relaxing 5 years ago when I was 20 years old simply because I wanted more healthy hair and saw the damage it was doing to my hair. I was always told, and developed the belief that relaxers made my hair more “manageable” and easier to maintain. Self-hate was never apart of the equation. I was just ill informed and had no knowledge about how to wash, condition, preserve, or style my natural hair. I knew NOTHING about my natural hair (I didn’t even know how it looked). Although I stopped relaxing my hair 5 years ago, I’ve just started learning about natural hair care (for the first time in my life) one month ago, when I accidently discovered the natural hair community. I’ve been wearing wigs because it was the only way I knew how to preserve my natural hair (keeping it French braided under a wig). BUT! Thanks to all the information and tips I’ve received from the natural hair community via blog, mess board, and youtube (plus my own research), I’ve finally learned how to wash, condition, preserve, and style my natural hair.

    Like I said above, self-hate was never apart of the equation. It was just a lack of knowledge that I (and many black women) experienced.

    Thanks again for sharing this article.

  • Hyspin says:

    THANK YOU you have made my day.

  • College Girl says:

    i went natural because my hair lost 4 inches in 3 years after moving to the States. I planned to relax once my hair grew out, then realized that i looked fine (if I do say so myself…and I do lol) with big hair. And i knew i kinda like my hair relaxed after washing it 3 times (ie straight but puffy). So i'm natural because i like big hair…period.
    Those who claim to have seen the light by going natural…please grow up I mean really.

  • Sharmer says:

    I completely agree with every word in this post. Mr. Kevin pissed me off as well, and I personally thought his opinion was about as relevant as bird poop. So glad someone decided to blast the men and woman who are militants and think that they are somehow better than others because of their natural hair. I myself am now done with perms, but I damn sure dont appreciate someone who doesnt even know making generalized statements about why I was relaxing. He had a LOT of nerve.

  • B says:

    I get so bored with the politicking around natural hair so I was excited to read this manifesto.

    I had relaxed hair for over twenty years. We started when I was 10 because my mother thought it would be easier to manage, and it was for a while because I could not care for my own natural hair at the time. I didn't do much better with relaxed hair but I stuck with it.

    I had poor self-esteem issues as a teenager which had nothing to do with my hair (everything else though – skin, weight, glasses etc.). I grew out of those issues and became what I thought of as a beautiful woman (relaxed hair and all). I decided to go natural simply because I was curious as to what my hair would be like. No movement-joining, no return to black, no nothing. Simple curiosity.

    I transitioned over a few years, switching from full-strength to a texturizer to chemical-free because I wanted to get to know my hair over time, and learn how to deal with anything other than stick straight hair. 3 years later I chopped when I had about 6 inches of growth and I am a happy natural 16 months later.

    More me? Nope. Enlightened? Not really. Just comfortable and still beautiful.

  • Sabrina R Perkins says:

    I think some relaxed women are FEELING naturals are looking down on them just by being NATURAL. A lot of women are no longer giving into the hype that our hair needs to be more mainstream and choosing to wear it straight outta their heads.

    I see how you say coloring is just as bad as relaxing and it may be but other races color their hair. Other races DO NOT chemically alter it to look more mainstream to fit into certain arenas whether it be Corportate America or the like.

    There are numerous ways to love yourself and naturals have found another way to do so. If relaxed women are threatened by that it is not our fault….

  • Twitchy says:

    I still think it's just hair. I also think that it's not, just hair, because people won't allow it to be just hair. WE make hair politics.

    I'm not tired of talking about it. I'm not lying about my history when I say it's just hair. As a matter of fact, I submurged myself in it, got a degree in it because I love my people and I didn't want anyone else telling me about my history. I wanted to know for myself. I know there's some deep rooted issues in the black community ranging from skin and hair to religion. And I love to talk and debate about those issues. It's like…I dunno, it's a passion I guess. But…I still think it should be just hair. But I recognize that it's not just hair because people won't just let it be.

  • Shakirah says:

    Oh! And@hairpolitiks…~ stands and applauds ~

  • Shakirah says:

    Moni and justrena, thank y'all. I agree.
    I witnessed both extremes and then some. I've had ppl tell me nappy hair is an ugly mess, I've had ppl assume I hate women with relaxers just bc I'm proud of my natural hair, (along with ppl assuming I'm anti white bc I'm pro black ) . All in all, ppl make too many assumptions, and you know what they say about when you assume…
    For me, my natural hair fits my personality and lifestyle. I like straight styles too, for me that's what wigs are for 🙂 i would not relax ever again simply for health reasons.

  • Anonymous says:

    To me it does not matter whether a sista is relaxed or natural as I always say, "do you."

  • Anonymous says:

    When are we going to stop worrying about each other's hair? There are more important things going on in the Black community than who's relaxed and who is natural. Let's focus on those things then we can waste our time worrying about someone else's hair.

  • Courtney says:

    I don't like people judging me for the different categories I belong to, I try my best not to generalize others.
    Most of the time I speak in terms of, "Well MOST…blah blah blah" or "SOME blah blah blah" instead of just saying, "ALL blah blah blah."

    I started rockin' my natural hair because I was tired of relaxers and I wanted a new look. I'm happy I started wearing my natural hair and I hate I didn't do it sooner.
    I have no problems with women with relaxer hair, provided they are not trying to make me feel bad because I have natural hair. So far, no negative comments. If anything a lot of them tell me they're jealous and wish they could go natural.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting. Like others, I'm exhausted by this debate and am starting to question all of these naturals who live and die by how much they love their curls. Really? Having made the decision to go natural on a whim–and having never felt one way or another about my hair other than I was tired of seeing it break off–I really don't understand this kind of fanatical feeling about hair. I think that there are a lot of people out there trying to convince themselves that they love this "journey" who would full on relax their hair if there was a safe effective way to do it. I'm always shocked by how many hits the forum topics named grow long, flat irons, straightening methods, etc get compared to others. Doesn't that say something about how people really feel?

    And @HairPolitik: it *is* just hair. Seriously, it is. Yes, there's history and pain and culture wars associated with it, but we are fortunate to be able to spend this much time talking about it and playing in it and buying products. There are people who would gladly trade whatever issues (real or imagined) people have with their hair for the chance to either be healthy, wealthy, or free enough timewise to have such trivial issues.

  • Unknown says:

    Hair Politik. You are so on point. I read thru much of what this article had to say and shook my head. We live in a society where we ARE conditioned to believe certain things. If we are lucky, we push past that. But some won't even accept that as fact. They have no idea, the power of marketing. This goes to african-american hair. It is not just hair. For me it's just as big a part of me as my legs. It is not for NO REASON that even the media has embraced natural hair-suddenly. My husband just counted the number of commercials HE saw with women with curly hair versus straight. People SHOULD dig deeper. Just as they SHOULD educate themselves on the chemicals in a relaxer, the side effects… the history. But the reality is- THEY DON'T. AND they WON'T. I honestly don't care what people do with their hair. I doubt the majority of people care. This all seems like fanning the flames of something that really isn't that big. At the end of the day- it's YOUR hair. It's no different than smoking cigarettes as far as I'm concerned. If that's what you do… do you.

  • Anonymous says:


  • JustTrena says:

    …WOW!! And HairPolitik is RIGHT ON THE MONEY also!! Girl, you said a mouthful of truth right there now!!

  • Ms. Overproof says:

    Well said. @ Sandy K – I agree wholeheartedly. Hair is an accessory and when it looks good it makes you feel good. It is also a personal choice as to what makes you feel good. Shooo I was in Homegoods the other day and saw this sister rocking a MEAN BOB, not one hair of place, pin straigth and laying well behaved and her entire look was fashionista chic, I wanted to follow her home…LOL. When you look good you feel good and that promotes confidence in my book. Case in point, today I KNOW I look a hot mess. Did an aloevera treament lastnight and used the natural plant and didnt realize there were pieces still in my hair til this morning as Im getting ready to go to work, I cant wait for this day to be over!

  • JustTrena says:

    Anon at 9:06 said it best…
    "Anonymous said…
    Y'know, it's like if you tell someone that you're vegetarian. Then you get comments back about how they could 'never live without meat', or they love their ribs too much to give it up, etc. etc. Some people take whatever you tell them about yourself as a personal attack on their lifestyle. Maybe it's lack of confidence, maybe it's wanting to tear you down. People are people. That's just how they are."

    That's it in a nutshell…and for the poster who's concerned about being told to "agree to disagree", I'm sure that means "let's discuss".

    Have a great day ya'll!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't think you need to be so extreme. We all know that medias are setting standards in terms of beauty. And to be proud of something that is not considered "not" mainstream is a way to fight these standards. Because to validate a different beauty you have to find grounds to make people love it. I don't think it's a race problem because it's the same around big sized figures with the big is beautiful slogan. Some big sized ladies diss on former big sized ladies who chose to go on a diet or to get a by pass surgery. I don't validate those types of comments but I guess we have to be more intelligent and be aware of the fact that this lack of tolerance is a consequence of the whole media thing and its beauty standards. I went natural because my hair was breaking and care was expensive. My family wasn't that supportive and told me I was crazy and I should get a perm right away because I was not pretty at all….
    The common point is the willing to give someone a complex? And we're so used to that, us being black and woman for so many reasons, so why being upset by the natural/relaxed one? Unfortunately, that's how society works

  • Butterfly3000 says:

    Thank you Britt
    I'm ready to move on from this debate too. I love EllePixie's hair but I found myself skimming through the article and not reading it entirely b/c the topic is becoming exhausting.

    My first BC natural experience dates back to 1998 and my third BC in Oct. 09'….may not be my last??? Who knows. Its my hair, my choice.

  • HairPolitik says:

    I just don't understand why people who openly acknowledge that a DEFINITE bias still exists towards straight and loosely curled hair are openly marked as being radical and mean spirited– I'm shocked to see this in the natural hair world.

    Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the "You Hate Yourself" Brigade fatigue. I get it too, Believe Me! But at the same time, I'm equally tired of women and men going around saying, "It's just hair?" Are you kidding me? When was it ever just hair? It's not even just hair in the White House (Barack is clean and if you want to make Michelle appear militant just put a fro on her head on the cover of a magazine). Why do we feel the need to lie. Honestly, I don't usually use such strong language, but when we all grow up with the stigma attached with having kinky hair or know someone that has, and we know that it's still not considered "good hair" to have, and we know that the girl in high school with the straight or wavy hair down to her behind was considered the top-notch chick, and we naturals, most of us formerly relaxed, know that most of us had that "I look pretty now" gleam in our eyes after we got that relaxer, after all of that recent hair history, why do we continue to lie to ourselves about the truth? There is some serious self hatred going on in our community and not just a little bit. A WHOLE LOT. I get very passionate about this, not because I want to make relaxed folks feel bad, but because I can't stop thinking about all those little girls that continue to suffer behind closed doors because we secretly perpetuate this bias and continue to lie in public and say it's all just hair.

    With that said, I TOTALLY get that everyone that wears a relaxer doesn't necessarily hate themselves. Up until a year ago, I was relaxed and had tried to go natural a couple of times before. I stayed relaxed, although I wanted to go natural, because I didn't know how to care for my hair, it was what I'd always done, and I was afraid of what everyone else would think of me. But I did want to go natural and took pride in the Afros I saw pass me by. "You go girl, I would say!" Now, when I wear extensions or occasionally straight styles there's nothing more irritating than someone screaming you hate yourself…especially a man! I'm thinking to myself, brother if you only knew…and he's usually the self-hating type that will only date someone of a certain skin tone which is hilarious…but I won't go there, lol!

    I think at the end of the day, what I'm hearing when people say, "It's just hair" is one of two things: 1) I'm tired of talking about this issue and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and 2) It really is just hair. While there is no wrong or right in those two statements, there certainly is some delusion. You can't take our history out of context just because it's convenient. Saying "it's just hair" is the equivalent of every white person saying, "it's just skin" and we live in a post-racial society now that we have a black President. Yeah right! You know better…deep down inside you know you do.

    So, each person will have to go on her own journey. I'm not saying attack relaxed beauties, I'm saying just stop saying "It's Just Hair". It's Not!

  • Anonymous says:

    In general, some women have difficulty with appreciating things/people that are different. It's almost as if complimenting others that wear their hair differently detracts from an individual's own appearance. If you are truly confident in yourself, appreciating and/or admiring the differences in others would be a non issue. – Lisa

  • Britt says:

    Man…this debate is WACK!
    'm really happy that some of us have become enlightened and liberated by becoming natural, and maybe that's a plus for you because all of your life you felt like you were in the dark..blah blah blah…and I find it rather hilarious how "educated" some of us naturals have become, you'd think the online natural community is full of doctorate prepared chemists…

    I grew out my hair because I was looking for a new stylist (my old one moved out of town) and didn't trust anyone with my head full of thick relaxed hair…hence 2 yrs later, I'm natural…I don't like being associated with "the movement," nor do I pick and choose who's worthy of conversation based on hair…it's so silly..

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    Finally! Someone who makes some damn sense! I swear the "natural vs. relaxed" is just another way for some women to assert their perceived superiority. Which is so pitiful, because if you have to continuously put down others so that your views are paramount then obviously something is amiss. *subscribes to Elle's blog*

  • Stacy says:

    *Standing O* Clap Clap Clap

    about time someone made it very clear!

    Thank you!

  • fuzzypuff says:

    I wear my hair natural because I'm cheap and lazy. Once I graduated from high school and momma stopped paying for my monthly hair appointments, I had to figure out something. Before going to college I cut my hair down to 1 inch. Haven't looked back since, and that was more than 7 years ago.

    If I see a sister wearing a fly straight style, I tell her. Same goes for a sister with the perfect afro puff that I have yet to perfect on my own head. I like hair, period. Straight, wavy, curly, kinky, it doesn't matter. I feel as if women (black women in particular, MY OPINION!!!!) have a hard enough time complimenting one another / being positive to each other in general, and to throw in a hair bias just adds more drama to the pot.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't care how people wear their hair but I find that many naturals in the online community seem to. It is almost as if someone else's hair choices reflect badly on all naturals in their eyes.

    I wish naturals would stop:

    – Measuring how natural people are.

    – Being newly natural and preaching against relaxers and straightening as though they've just graduated in black history 101.

    – Telling other naturals how to feel about their hair type or texture

    – Pronouncing that because something holds true for their hair, it must hold true for all naturals. Just because you can detangle in 15 mins and it's easy, you enjoy it, doesn't mean that others can but they just haven't found the correct way, allotted the time or taken the how to be a perfect natural class yet.

    – Drop the preaching and judgements. It does none of us any favours.

  • Samantha says:

    I put most of my sentiments on this subject on my blog (linked in my name) but I agree with her point. She shares many feeling that I have as a young adult who has made the decision to stop relaxing. I did it for me because I wanted to. Point. Blank. Period. What anyone else thinks or does with their hair -unless we are discussing it specifically- is none of my concern, and hopefully none of theirs either.

  • Anonymous says:

    Its interesting that we were told to agree to disagree.

    Not that I am disagreeing, I actually like the point, but being told to agree? Hmmm…

  • Kell says:

    In my opinion, judging someone on their appearance be it hair texture, skin color, eye color, etc., is sad and displays nothing but ignorance on the part of she who is judging.

    I just had dinner last night with a dear friend who relaxed her hair 3 years ago after being natural all her life. She did so because she was not able to care for her hair without her stylist (who is wondeful btw). NOT because she hated herself. She's physically and spiritually gorgeous. We laughed at how I wish I had known about sites like CN before she decided to relax her hair and she agreed and mentioned the "movement." I didn't go natural because of any movement. Quite frankly, I didn't know one existed. I was newly unemployed and touch-ups were expensive and I had already begun to stretch it 3 months in between touch ups anyway. And I was sick of my hair breaking off. As a child I had hair almost to my waist and I wanted that back. End.of.story. I am no more Afrocentric or ethnic than I was a year ago. It's just hair. As long as it's neat and healthy, then I'm good with it.

    People comment and compliment and I appreciate their appreciation. I get more compliments now than when I was relaxed and usually on the days I don't think it's cute. It's more effort to do my hair, but I never did anything with it before…now you can't tell me I'm not fly! Some days I love my curls, other days I don't, but I love myself and that's that.

  • Moni says:

    To be honest, I found this article **almost** as harsh as the original (though without the "male telling women what to do with their bodies" factor). As my mama said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Between the stereotype of the "soulful" natural with her Common and Bilal (isn't this just another version of assuming you know who/what someone is based on her hair) to the profanity, the initial tone of the article is also inflammatory and continues the "blanket statements" and "shots fired". I think the authors of both articles need to take a step back and wooosah.

    There are several key facts that should be acknowledged that both articles ignore or minimize, depending on their perspective (in fact they underscore the whole "it's just hair" debate). Fact One: There is very little you can tell about who a person is based on her hair. Fact Two: Self-hate in various forms permeates the black community, whether you're male or female, relaxed or natural, whatever. It may be preferring light skin, or curly hair, or yes, disliking your natural hair. Until we acknowledges both of these facts and have an honest and open conversation about how and why they can both be true and that there are individual and societal factors at play on both sides, than it'll just be more of the same judgmental attitudes and name calling on both sides.

  • Anonymous says:

    I went natural because relaxers got waaay to expensive and I stopped flat ironing it because I got sick of running in the rain. I fell free with my hair everywhere. If being relaxed is someone's thing who am I to look down my nose at them… We all have our reason's… SN: Your hair color is gorgeous!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Y'know, it's like if you tell someone that you're vegetarian. Then you get comments back about how they could 'never live without meat', or they love their ribs too much to give it up, etc. etc. Some people take whatever you tell them about yourself as a personal attack on their lifestyle. Maybe it's lack of confidence, maybe it's wanting to tear you down. People are people. That's just how they are.

  • Pecancurls says:

    I meant to write "Do you —- whether relaxed, natural, weaved up, wigged up, etc. 🙂

  • Pecancurls says:

    Here, here, whether relaxed or natural we all want to be respected as individuals. I am 15 weeks into my transition because (a) I wanted to shed some pounds and intense work outs and perms are hard to maintain and (b) I got a really bad burn with my last perm in Sept that left me reeling and wanting to give my hair a break. Do you whether relaxed, natural, weaved up, wigged up, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    "I grew out my relaxer because my edges were starting to break off after getting my hair relaxed for over 18 yrs……I don't think it is fair to judge people unless they are asking for your judgement."

    took the words right out of my mouth 🙂

  • bludini1 says:

    In life you will find extremists, period. Die Hard curlies as well as Die Hard women who relax, both who have very strong opinions. The gentleman in the article didn't offend me because all it was, was an opinion, that's it, not fact, not the holy grail.
    It boggles me that we continue to draw these lines and separate ourselves. Why can't we just have healthy conversations about hair?

  • Anonymous says:

    :clap: :clap: :clap:

    I'm so tired of black folks hating on each other. There's always supposed to be one group pitted against the other for completely insignificant reasons.

    I haven't relaxed my hair in years, but when I did it was because I didn't know what else to do with it. NOT because I hated myself or didn't want to be black. I just really did not know how to grow out my natural hair texture or what to do with it once I had it.

    I understand that there are some sisters(and brothers let's be real) who go 'natural' for reasons deeper than hair. Good for them. But not everyone straightens their hair out of self hatred or to be white or goes 'natural' on a spiritual quest to get back to the motherland.

    Let me ask ya'll something – when was the last time a white woman was accused of "self hatred" because she DARKENED HER SKIN and curled her hair?!?! I've never seen that happen.

    We really need to learn to love ourselves as a people. Which includes loving sisters who perm it up, weave it up, use doo gro and pink oil, bleach to yellow orange, only use shea butter and berries, free from locs, etc. One "grade" of black is no better than the other. One's hair style or product of choice does not make one "down for the cause" nor does it make one an "uncle tom." The only way you can determine this is through actions and how we treat each other. And if you're hatin on your brother/sister because you don't like their hairstyle it doesn't make you more self accepting or more loving of your people. It makes you look like a hater.

    It's funny that I have never witnessed as much hatred against women who chose to be 'natural' by women who were "self hating"(by relaxing)as I witness by women(and men) who are 'natural' and supposedly love themselves MORE against women who relax. Time to look in the mirror at something other than your hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I grew out my relaxer because my edges were starting to break off after getting my hair relaxed for over 18 yrs. And I was sick of my hair stylist over-booking appointments (with her money-hungry behind!). It was not to join a natural hair movement or to be more afro-centric. I totally agree with your comment….to each it's own! All of my friends have relaxers and I still compliment them on their hair styles. Me being natural does NOT put me above any of them or anyone else. I can only say that being natural has worked well for me and my pockets :o). I don't think it is fair to judge people unless they are asking for your judgement. Making generalized comments only bring conflict, and we don't need all of that. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but understand that it is just that.

  • MzFluffy says:

    Sandy K,I agree with you, totally. It is so sad that we are still going backwards. Hate is Hate! I feel that we naturals ( and I am guilty of this) think we have prove to the world that we are relevant and we are proud of natural hair. However, sometimes too much pride turns into arrogance, and then arrogance into snobbery. We can't allow Hair, a non living substance to continue to seperate us. I will admit I have bumped fists with other naturals I see(even strangers on the street) , and talk down to my still relaxed friends, telling them to love their natural selves. But how quick did I forget that I was once Miss Dark & Lovely, that would not go 4 weeks without a touch up.And I remember not Once, when i was dividing my hair into four, and putting on my gloves,and mixing my magic potion, NOT ONCE, was I thinking "boy I hate my natural hair". I was just thinking Ima be fly as hell. Same feeling I get now when I am about to take out my twists for a fabulous twist out. So when did my hair become so political, you say? I have no idea, but atlast Hair is Just Hair. Lets just all get along!! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I can only speak for my reasons of going natural: I like big hair. End of story.

    I was motivated to go through with it after a stylist burned me significantly with a relaxer. That's where my facts end.

    I can only speak for me. I like the statement regarding you have to speak to someone to determine if they are relaxed because they hate their texture. And to not judge a book by its cover.

    It's comments like "I truly became me when I became natural" and "I am no longer denying myself" that causes a stir. It implies that with a relaxer you are denying yourself and that you don't know who you are.

    It's not that serious to me. It's hair. Judge me by my character, not my hairstyle.

  • Sandy K. says:

    Took the words out of my mouth! I was so appalled with the article that the other gentleman wrote. Its extremely ignorant for someone to throw everyone into the same boat and I was personally offended by what he said and I've never had a relaxer. Generalizations are never acceptable in my opinion and black women do not need some random dude to tell them how to feel about themselves. Plus I don't know how a beautiful thing like wearing your own god given hair texture has lead to women (and men) using it as an excuse to tear other women down to build there own confidence.

  • Crystal says:

    IMO, although i wear my hair natural, I don't have an issue with women wearing relaxers, etc. It's personal preference. I know many women who went natural to " join a movement". I did it because I wanted to wear twist. It's not as big to me as some make it. It's still hair. Still an accessory. When my hair was relaxed, I rocked it out! And I rock out this natural too. Do I look at women crazy who relax, no. That's them, it's not changing one strand on my head.

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