by Chelsea of Curly and Young

I recently received this heart wrenching message from a young curly in distress. At some point or another we have all felt a little low about our hair be it straight or curly. However, the pressures to conform are made worse when persons go out of their way to insult your decision to go natural. This young curly has agreed to let me share this in the hopes of helping others who are experiencing the same thing as her.

Hi. I think your idea for a curly teen blog is great because it’s a lot harder for us teens to handle the rude comments people make. Like yesterday, for example, while I was at the library, this girl with straight brownish hair said “How do you live with dry, hideous hair like that? Do something with that ugly pile of mess on your head” and I was left speechless. My sixteen year old brother came out of nowhere and replied “Yeah, her hair looks really bad like 99% of the time” and they both started laughing and continued to make fun of me. I just walked away. I haven’t talked to him since then. He’s also the main person who pokes fun at my hair, besides my eight year old brother. My mom even makes fun of my hair occasionally, and she relaxes her hair and wears extensions and says it’s to “make her look more Native American”. I usually try not to let that kind of stuff bother me but I couldn’t help but cry at the end of the day because I have enough trouble with my hair and I’ve been laughed at because of my hair since I was about six. Also having my own brother laugh along with some rude stranger just really hurt. And to think, some teens have to deal with that kind of stuff everyday, whether it’s about their hair, clothes, opinion, lifestyle, etc.

I am really touched and saddened by your story. I have heard many stories but yours is truly something else. So here’s how you could’ve handled it and how to handle it if God forbid it should happen again.

  • When we experience such things we need to learn to deflect. After my cut many persons had alot to say but after ignoring them they quickly became bored. When people are so blatantly rude I’d suggest the side eye and the ‘I’m better than you thus, I will not even reply to your comment’ stare. It usually stops them in their tracks.
  • Also you could try to divert the topic of the conversation away from your hair so that you are no longer the focus of attention. At times like this bringing up a new topic or reminding someone of something that was funny or that they had to do etc will not only shift their focus but also make them aware that you are not comfortable with the conversation.
  • Also, BE CONFIDENT!! Clamming up, starting the waterworks or not standing up for yourself is the equivalent of giving them the ok to say such hurtful things. When persons ask you why you wear your hair a certain way a simple “because I want to” usually suffices. Respectfully stick up for yourself or if you are shier simply walk away. You do not have to stand there and tolerate rude insults. Persons can insult the wind when it comes to me because I do not stick around to hear it.
  • Lastly explain your stance. Tell persons why you went natural in a clear and concise manner. Tell them how harsh relaxers are and about alopecia (hair loss) from weaves and wigs. Many persons ignorantly insult you but once you explain your stance they may find it hard to continue and argue against such good reasoning. Once in class I explained to some of my friends all about my decision to go natural and they were surprised at the information I had given them. After that I received very few “Why did you cut your hair?” questions.
How do you handle rude comments?