by Dr. Phoenyx Austin via DrPhoenyx.com
Hi ladies! I’m still in the Cayman Islands shooting my TV spots. And yesterday I also had a blast hitting the airwaves on Radio Cayman. It was a really fun show where we discussed hot topics in culture and dating/relationships. And of course, the subject of hair came up.
Since I arrived on this beautiful island, several women have inquired about my natural hair. Natural hair is actually a rarity here- so I’ve kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. I even had local woman tell me how much she “loved” my hair. But right after giving me that compliment she also added “you look like you have that ‘good hair’- so you can pull off that style.”
In the Caymans (as well as many other West Indian and Caribbean countries), there is a very Eurocentric standard of beauty. I’m from Panama, and the same issues exist there. And what you observe are many women who try their hardest to have the straightest hair and the lightest skin. And they don’t only rely on relaxers and “staying out of the sun.” Sometimes women even resort to risky things like skin bleaching.
It’s a sad reality that even in 2011, many black women (in the US and abroad) are still struggling with self-esteem and identity issues. And as far as hair, it just makes me wonder how long it will be and what it’s going to take for all black women to come to place where “good hair” simply equals “healthy hair.”
Want to leave a question/comment for Dr. Phoenyx Austin? You can find her on her blog, Facebook fan page and Twitter.
Totally agree with the commentor who mentioned this issue as being "the elephant in the room"
Racism and the consequences on its victims – people of color whether yellow, brown or black – is global so that attitude among its victims is expected.
I have typical tightly curl corkscrew curls mixed with kinky hair that does not curl. I find it hilarious when people insist I have good hair. Also, I have a friend that uses the term good hair – she sounds so stupid.
To further explain somethings, I love blogs such Curly Nikki (articles posted have helped me alot) and others but it's important for every person alive to find within yourself activities, hobbies, or new careers that bring you enjoyment! We all love hair and how it can enhance our features, but it's important to not obssess over it or other people's problems with it. Sites like are great to read and do research from but not everyday.
I believe it's best to not get offended by compliments or criticisms however you handle the "good hair or bad hair" take back your feelings and emotions. It's not easy to always do but I think it's something that we all learn how to after a while. I have been natural almost two years now, have very supportive people in my life that love me from head to toe and really those that have said things negative about me there not a factor in my life and do not know me. I've given back to my community and am growing a wellness business. I am just not all about myself and things on the outside, and if I'm meeting people who are all about needing someone to look a certain way in their presence on the outside, I don't waste my time around them there not someone I'm looking to attract in my life and keep around.
I may not call it 'good hair', but it's the hair I want – thick, thick and thick and BIG! It's also the hair I don't have! Good hair may now mean different things for different people. For me it doesn't mean curly, or easy to comb, it means big and thick and lots of it! My hair's cool too lol.
Yep I live in Jamaica and 'nice hair' and skin bleaching is an everyday thing. Those who have 'nice hair' wear their hair naturally, those who don't live in weaves and wives and relaxers. Guys go for girls with 'nice hair', and the rest of us, well, we're just the rest, unless you have long hair. However, I do think there is a change where natural hair is being a bit more accepted. People call me empress, even though I don't wear an afro.
You'd be surprised how common skin bleaching is. Even my aunt did it and I never knew.
@ Jeannette You make some valid points, however, having grown up in Trinidad I can seriously say that some Americans do have problems. If this were not the case, the constant requests and challenges for President Obama to provide his birth certificate would not surface. In regards to the Eurocentric looks, please talk to the professional athletes who practice this religiously in their quests for mates, even going as far as mailing rings, SMH. And please don't forget, before Dr. Martin Luther King, there was Marcus Garvey. While there were civil rights marches here, Caribbean nations were demanding and obtaining their independence. There may be talk of race relations in America, but it's often sugar coated.
Also sadly America is not that progressive when it comes to allowing females to be national leaders. I grew up being aware of Dominica's Prime Minister Eugenia Charles. Since then Jamaica has had a female prime minister, and Trinidad currently has one. That will be the day when we have a female African American president, or a female in general. The tea party will be on the rampage.
The term "Good Hair" annoys me…from the movie to the phrase itself because it's another form of discrimination and fragmentation within the black community. I am currently trying to convince my mom to go natural by showing her youtube videos or blogs and I cringe whenever she exclaims "oh she has good hair, show me someone who doesn't have that texture" I literally just cringed just typing the words because her ignorance is baffling and honestly hurtful. Eurocentricism has definitely left it's mark on the African American community.
I am surprised at how people often say, "Oh, you look like your hair is "good." Even with members of my own family. I was trying to talk with my sisters about going natural and they were like, "My hair is to nappy." I was like our hair is not nappy, it is curly. I can't believe how we have bought in the European standard of beauty. It is disheartened at times. Smh.
I've actually heard this my whole life. My mother's family is from the US Virgin Islands and even though she, my grandparents, and all "The Aunties" (which includes uncles and great-s) are dark as they come AND natural, my two sisters and I are half Portuguese and they always wanted to touch our hair. We got scolded for going outside in the sun "Why you wanna get dark like us when you so pretty?" and we were constantly being told that we had "that good hair, soft like Great-gramma Octavia" which strangely enough made me wish I had kinky afro hair because my full black half sister wore her hair in puffs and was almost as dark as The Aunties and was allowed to play outside and didn't have people always trying to brush her hair. But none of us ever relaxed out hair, just ironed the life out of it (Well I did twice)
I have kinky/coarse hair and when it is put in braides, twists or straightened I've been told that I have, 'good hair' and that I can pull off natural hair. So yes, it is a compliment but it also divides us naturals as if someone who doesn't have a certain natural hair texture, theirs is not good enough. When people make statements like they don't realize they are putting themselves down and yes, I agree that many Caribbean and West Indians have a very Eurocentric standard of beauty that it's sad because the things that come out of their mouth is outright self-defeating and many don't realize it. They think that American's have the problem and although there are race relation issues in this country, at least we are aware of this and speak out about it. When I hear those good haired comments, I know that they are not saying that my hair is healthy. They are saying that I have a certain hair texture that is better than someone else's because of it's texture and the bottom line is we ALL have it, people just have to know it and realize it.
@ Anonymous 2:30 AM.. Thank you, finally somebody is being real!!! Hair is not that serious to get angry with someone for just paying you a compliment.. As I said I have alot of friends from 3c to 4c and ALL OF THEM, get that "GOOD HAIR" compliment for relaxed sisters. I believe its because those relaxed sisters don't know what their own hair can do and haven't seen their own natural hair in years, so they determined we are natural cause our hair gots to be GOOD.
All hair types have their own beauty and character which makes all look like "GOOD HAIR".
Now accepting a compliment for what it was, does not make a person insecure, that shows a person does not have so many hang ups that they cant accept one little compliment.
And the girl from Trinidad is right. I am from Barbados and the majority of women have locks and natural hair. I wear my afro loud and proud to work.
So please Natural sisters, lets just enjoy our hair and stop putting so much politics and division into it. 🙂 Stay Beautiful Ladies, inside and out!
This is Good Hair comment for all time gets to me. I am very dark skinned with wavy & curly texture ha
@ Anon 8:19 p.m. Thank you for clearing up the good hair scenario in Trinidad. I remember Trinidad as having a mix of hairstyles and a good number of ladies I encountered when I was growing up wore short afros.
Also, @ Anon 1:49 p.m. clearly Fluffy hit a nerve for you to comment twice. She does speak the truth though. When I have received the good hair comment, I would smile internally, but also try to put the person in check in a gentle manner. It is an ego booster, but of course for many of us, (judging from these comments), we want to err on the side of being PC.
i have what most black ppl consider to be "good hair" ( 3c curls and waves), and on one hand i take it as a compliment because i love my hair and i take care of it & i know it looks good, but on the other hand the only people who say it to me are people with coarser/kinkier hair than mine, and i feel like sometimes they use my hair texture to discredit my hair growth and progress like i dont have to put in any effort because of my hair texture…i was talking to my friends the other day and they're both natural with 4b-ish TWAs and i straightened my hair and ppl were complimenting my length and one of my friends was like "but you dont have normal hair, you got that spanish curly hair" like that was the reason for the compliments and my length…
I just wanted to clarify or bring a different perspective to the comment "in…many other West Indian and Caribbean countries, there is a very Eurocentric standard of beauty."
In fact it is the opposite. On the islands of Trinidad and Tobago natural hair is common. We have female ministers with buzz cuts, braids, dreads and straight hair. We have an East Indian Prime Minister and we even have male ministers/senators with dreadlocks.
Locs are abundance and is worn by all races. In addition cane rows (what Americans refer to as corn rows) are the preferred hairstyle for young girls in primary and secondary school.
Both men and women change hair style and colours often. It is not uncommon to see a woman with dreads one day and the next straightened hair.
We are a pretty laid back people. All shapes, colours, sizes and all hair types.
Much love to everyone on this blog.
Anytime I receive the "good hair" comment I find myself minimizing. Rather than saying "thank you" (which would only perpetuate the misguided belief)I try to say something that builds up that person's perception about their own hair texture. It doesn't make me angry; it makes me a little sad that Black women are still categorizing each other this way. We have enough to deal with from outsiders and don't need it from our own communities as well.
It's funny but I'm told my hair is full, beautiful & healthy from other naturals. Then from non naturals I get the "good hair" comment or a "See you can do that because your hair texture is different from mine, so you can do that." That bothers me a lot but I REALLY HATE IT when ppl ask me if its all my hair or if I have a text. When I respond nicely no and how I just twist and take them out they have the nerve to give me a look like, yeah right, you lying. That annoys me, but lack of education about our hair is the cause of the ignorance that are possessed in our community as well as the world.
I've heard it since the 60's. I always tell people "we all have good hair, the only bad hair is no hair" (if you're trying to maintain a head of hair)
Before I was a "healthy natural" all I did was try to cover my hair up with braids or weaves because it was dry and didn't stay straight when I flat ironed it. During that time my mother was constantly trying to persuade me to get a relaxer but I never did because I figured if my hair was falling out/not growing while natural a chemical cocktail wouldn't fix it. Now that I know how to better care for my hair and it's growing fast and has a curl pattern neither she nor I knew I had shes been saying I have "that good hair". *rolls eyes* I just don't respond because to me it's not a compliment and I know she won't listen if I try to tell her why. I also don't want to hurt her feelings by pointing out the obvious fact that my hair has always been "good" but SHE simply did not know how to care for it when I was growing up.
I went natural after seven months of transitioning. So many people have said to me, "you can do that…cause you have good hair," when I promote going natural. I blame it on ignorance and acknowledge that I was pretty ignorant myself at one point in time. However, I do not get offended. I use it as a teachable moment. It gives me a chance to explain to people that anyone can have good hair if they learn how to manage it and take care of it. I have a friend whose hair is super course. She rocks her natural and her hair along with her style are amazing.
For some reason, whenever anyone has said , "You have good hair" to me, it makes me laugh. I'm not sure if it's just that the person who says it is just a funny person to me in general OR if its that the actual comment is funny to me. Perhaps it is just the way I think about things. I don't know.
A part of me feels sad for them that they make such distinctions, but I realize that this was just something they were taught. I have never become angry with them. In fact, I usually say thanks, explain to them that they have good hair too (no bald persons have ever said it to me, lol) and then go on to talk about the funny things people say to each other. We usually end up having a good laugh. Never had hot words with anyone about this.
On a side note, I once had a boyfriend who COULDN'T grow hair and was totally bald. One day he ran his finger through my roots and said, "Time for a perm, eh?" I just about fell out and couldn't get, " +*&%^#$, PLEASE, at least I can grow my own" out of my mouth fast enough!! Never heard anything else about a perm after that! LOL
So tired of this topic. Enough said. Let's move forward.
I think we have all heard the good hair comments time and time again. I would just like to know for those who have what is considered the good hair would they be just as likely to go natural if they had hair like Macy Gray rather than someone like Mya. In my opinion, people with wavy loose curls are allowed to wear their hair out and no one thinks nothing of it. Would Beyonce be as famous as she is with a tight kinky fro rather than a loose wavy weave?
Can someone please explain to me why people get offended when someone tells them they have good hair? It's supposed to be a compliment, and if the person saying it have a complex, that's their problem. I've never understood why people get so offended. Call me ignorant, but I seriously don't get it. Really, someone please explain this too me.
I cringe when I hear it used in refrence to texture. I've been told that I have "good hair." But its because my hair is very thick and healthy. I hope I don't offend anyone, but anytime I hear the phrase, its typically from someone who is less educated, less culturally aware, not well-traveled, less experienced, from/live in small towns, country, etc. Sorry, but if you think about it, that's probably true for many of you.
As a lot of the ladies have been saying, I don't really see that as a compliment (not an insult either). There is no such things as good hair. To me good hair is healthy hair so when people say you have good hair I say all hair is good hair. People give me looks like "giiiiiirl. yeah right." But, that's what I believe.
Everytime someone says that about my hair I cringe, like for real my bf has seen me do it. And most of the time its accompanied by a eye roll. Its such an old mentality thats instilled in us that Im not surprised when I hear people use it, I just wish they could come to see the hair is just hair. Everyone puts their own value on it true enough but at the end of the day how can the way your hair grows out your scalp be "bad" 0_o It truly baffles me sometimes
I am not offended by the good hair comment. I just respond that everyone has good hair and I add that the person making the comment has good hair as well. If I am close enough to the person I explain that they can grow their relaxer out as well as long as they are willing to take the time and use the right products for their hair.
Sometimes they counter the argument with asking how often I got a relaxer, which was every 3 months. Some comment that I did not need a relaxer in the first place. I explain that no person "needs" a relaxer, we all just need education on how to care for out kinks and curls.
This is a timely post as I had the same comment this morning. It is hilarous to me because I have type 4a/4b hair. It is not curly, it does not do wash n goes. It is what most people consider "bad hair." I told this family, that I have afro textured kinky hair and it looks good because of grooming/styling. I think of it as an opportunity to educate others who think that kinky hair is limited to only afros and short hair. My kinky hair is good because it is flexible. It holds styles for at least 1-2 weeks. It complements my features. But, I do not have good hair in the curly type as opposed to kinky categories. I am not bothered by these statements anymore because I used to think that because my hair was kinky and my sister's hair was curly, that I was destined to have short broken hair with limited length potential. Now that I know that those assuptions were based on my ignorance of black hair care, I care a lot less about my texture or anyone elses.
I'm commenter ANON @1:49… as an addendum to my comment [now that I;ve seen other commenters speak about growing up with the idea of good hair or bad hair…] I never ever carried that notion. I have 4 sisters and 1 brother and just the other day [after a suspect comment from an Asian friend re: whether or not we had seen Chris Rock's "Good Hair"], my siblings and I spoke about how we never grew up in a household that idolized or preferenced certain hair types or skin colors in anyway— I grew up in Brooklyn, went to prep school here in NY– was around an array of black people and around my fair share of people who aren't black and never once thought about, wished for, and frankly [perhaps, my memory fails me?] never even heard neighbors go on and on about "good hair" vs. bad or "light skin" vs. not. So it's really disturbing to me when people like Fluffy assume that this twisted form of self- hate is standard amongst all black people. It really, truly isn't. Common? Maybe. Standard? Absolutely not. Nothing makes my heart sink more than comments like that, which to me are the same as "good hair" comments– my heart sinks a bit [and my mind gets confused] each time I hear them spoken.
I've heard the "you have that good hair" so many times. As well as "you can pull off the natural thing because your light complected." I think it's a real shame that we still have this issue with hair texture and skin color. It's a tough thing to overcome so much history on these topics. The European standard of beauty has done a number on us. But it's not just those of us from African descent, it's other ethnicities as well. A good friend who's from India says this exists there too.
@Fluffy…. eh, don't place your insecurities and hang- ups on others. If some of us have responded that we feel bad/strange/upset because of the "good hair" comment I'm going to go ahead and presume the comments are from those of us who truly are disturbed by the implications [both personal and social] of said comments. I know for one that I can understand that when someone says "good hair" they INTEND it as a compliment and that makes me feel positive; the "good hair" comment, on its own, does not.
It makes me uncomfortable when I hear that comment. When someone says that I have "good hair" it's usually in a crowd setting; which makes me feel as if they are putting me on the spot. Because when you say I have good hair, that means you are saying that people who don't have hair like mine have "bad hair".
Recently, while having a conversation about going natural, a woman said to me, "Your hair looks like it is better than mine." She has very thick, sandy-brown relaxed hair. It is gorgeous, but she seemed very curious about going natural. She is discouraged because she thinks that her hair is too "difficult." I have been transitioning for over 12 months and my roots look very wavy, but that is due to the deep conditioning and the flat twists that I put in after washing my hair. I explained this to her and also mentioned that I was never considered as having "good hair" when I was a child. All I heard was "nappy" and "unmanageable." My hair is in "good condition" now because I know how it responds to certain products and styling techniques. Still, she was insisting that my hair was "better." I swear, many of us (black women) don't realize our own beauty. We are so unfamiliar with ourselves and it's sad. I include myself in this because for the past year, I have just gotten to know what my natural hair can do.
I don't get offended with the term "good hair." I actually just respond that "well cared for hair is good hair." What I do find kind of offensive is the assumption that women who are not european but abide by a eurocentric standard of beauty have self esteem and identification issues.
In my opinion, hair is just hair. We all try to take good care of our hair whether it's permed, natural, or weaved-up. The term "good hair" is mostly something that African Americans have used for so long because we have always been made to believed that every other race has prettier hair than us. When white people talk about beautiful hair they are usually referring to the style rather than the texture. I get more compliments from them than my own people because we as blacks are just still confused as to what beautiful hair is and confused on the fact that hair is just hair.
I get so tired of correcting people when they tell me that. I used to try to educate, but it's become so redundant that I just say whatever and move on. But I really like what Blssd1980 said in her comment. That to me sums it up in a nutshell!
Yes, I have heard that "good hair" comment many times from family and friends, even my mom, at times. The twofold issue is that I'm also light-skinned (yellowbone, redbone, whatever). So, because of that, assumptions are based. When I told people, including family, that I was going natural (I'm fourteen months transitioning), I was told that it will be easy for me because I don't have "nappy" hair and that my hair's good.
In all honesty, when I was younger, I grazed with some strange pride that I was an exception; but, now in my thirties and having garnered tons of life experience, it makes me wince.
The "Good Hair" comment always gets to me. I am dark skinned with wavy & curly texture hair. When I grew up in the late 70's and early 80's, I was told often from family members, friends, and even strangers (YOU HAVE GOOD HAIR). I guess being a dark skinned girl without kinks made you have good hair. I disliked the comment and I would respond with a question "What is bad hair?" I usually get the dumb look stare. Good hair is healthy hair. It doesn’t matter what texture your hair …….healthy hair is good hair. I am over 40 and still get comments (You Have Good Hair). As I was growing up with my lighter skinned friends, the comment from them would be even harsher (Where did you get that good hair from girl?). I guess it wasn't the norm for dark skinned girls to have a nice texture healthy head of hair. Thank God for my MOM for taking good care of my hair.
Where I'm from, "good hair" (pelo bueno) is straight/slightly wavy/straight at the roots with soft curls at the ends type of hair. curly hair is just that, curly, and "bad hair" (pelo malo, it's actually called that) is anything on the "kinkier" side. Growing up with mostly 3c, some 3b hair, my hair was never considered "good"… it was curly, not quite "pelo malo", but not "pelo bueno" either. It really messes with your self esteem as a child, even though my mother took excellent care of my hair, I always looked beautiful and my hair was down to my butt, seeing other girls be told that they had "pelo bueno" meant that my hair just wasn't good enough… Unfortunately, my mom's influence wasn't enough, and as soon as I had control over my hair I relaxed it and became obsessed with straightening it.
I'm so glad I found the natural hair community! It gave me the strength to do what I've wanted to do for a while – be natural again, and be proud of my hair and fall in love with my hair, and to understand that healthy hair is beautiful hair.
I can't stand the "good hair" mentality, whatever it may refer to (straight, curly, anything BUT kinkier textures). I don't necessarily take offense to it, but I try to educate. The more we educate, the better chance little girls (and grown women like me) will have to be proud of their HEALTHY hair, their beautiful hair, no matter what texture it is!
Well, I guess I have kinky hair, and I love my tiny spirals…I really do. However, since I do have that kind of hair, I completely understand the term "good hair." Now, like most black families, we have array of different complexions and eye colors and hair types so my family never ever used that phrase. BUT I know from kids at school that those with "good hair" had hair with looser curls or waves or shiny, silky hair. I just understand it. Not saying it's right.
I've been natural for just 5 mounts, and a few weeks ago, this woman that I've worked with for the past several years (who is not natural) asked me, "How do you get your hair to curl like that? Or do you just got that good hair?" Okay, I was shocked!! I have never been accused of having "good hair." I was always one of those "other" girls. So I said, we all have good hair. You just have to use the right products for your hair."
In my opinion when women use the phrase "good hair" they just might have some self esteem issues that need to be worked out. I hear this phrase all the time literally for as long as I can remember what changed is how I respond to that remark and thats because I learned what good hair actually is. Good hair consists of healthy hair and has absolutely nothing to do with the texture. However no matter how I respond to the question women still in the end say "your hair is better than mine." I just hope one day this phrase is used how it is suppose to be used…
To the commenter above saying it makes people feel good to hear the "good hair" comment, if I am being real, when I was younger and before I knew any better, I thought of it as a compliment.
However, now it really and truly irks me at times and at the other times it makes me just feel uncomfortable.
Also what contributes to my dislike for that comment is my two sons. My 8 year old son's hair is kinky and is in a low cut (b/c he wanted it to be just like his dads, he had dres for a while) and my younger son has long hair with what I'd call a 3c/4a combo. Already people are starting in with the ooohs and awww and good hair comments over my little boy. And my older son could be right there. And I don't want feeling poorly b/c his hair is not like his brother's and thinking that his brother is more favored than he is.
So no, there is no part of me that feels good when I hair people say those words. It is just plain annoying and frustrating, b/c I know that for the most part, there is nothing that I can say that will change their minds.
It can actually be quite frustrating to hear that term.
The thing is whenever I wasn't cutting my hair, I had long hair as a relaxed head. (well, it was longish, between apl-bsl). I've always been told I have "good hair". However, now that I am natural, since my hair is so fine and fragile, I can't seem to get over the APL hump.
So whenever I do manage to get to BSL or MBL (God-willing), I already know my family and friend will not contribute it healthy hair habits. In their eyes, the only reason I will have gotten to those lengths is because I have "good hair". Doesn't matter that I've been at this same length for like 2 years. Well dayum, thanks for poo-pooing over all the hard work I've been putting into my hair.
I get the 'good hair' comment alllllll the time and it just shows to me how much the person who says it hates their own hair…and has let society take over their thoughts on beauty…
I doesn't bother me…it just slightly upsets me…
and when people say it to me..I just say..so do you…or thankyou…and keep it moving…some people will always be ignorant..all you can do is try to educate them!!
You all are lying just a wee bit, don't you think? We could talk about how much it offends us and all that, but deep down it gives our ego a jolt to hear someone call our hair "good hair". Come on… be reall ladies!!! Stop trying to be politically correct for a minute and be absolutely real.
We buy all those defining gels and do all these curl defining styles for people to compliment our hair, so why act like we offended about the term. Truth is when I was young, I thought my hair was bad, cause anytime my mother combed it I broke combs. Also when i was relaxed my new growth would seem so hard.. Thats why i was so surprised when i finally decided to go fully natural.. My hair was so curly, and wavy (especially with the help of gel).. I couldnt wait to show off my natural curls, that i didnt know i had.. And i basked in the new compliment i got of having " GOOD HAIR"..
I have alot of natural friends with all different textures from the curliest to the kinkiest and all of them have had that "GOOD HAIR" comment based on a certain characteristic their hair had on a certain day.
So in my conclusion all hair is Good Hair.. So I am NOT offended by the statement, I actually bask in it, especially when the comment comes from relaxed sisters.
BTW- I am from the Caribbean and trust me the natural movement has caught on like wild fire here.
I agree that the concept of "good hair" and other biased standards of beauty are annoying, but the truth is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While we can try to change the way the world recognizes true beauty… the only thing you can change–and what truly matters–is how YOU view what you see in the mirror every day. Once you have found your own beauty, share that love with others. Actions speak louder than words.
I've only been natural for 2 months, I could buy a new car if I collect a dollar for each somebody say oh you can do this natural thing because you got that "good hair", I just soaked my hair for 5 hours in heavy duty DC, it's well taken care off and it's healthy!
one guy even ask me if I was mixed or something
NO! I am not mixed, and Yes my hair GROWS! sheesh!
I soo dislike the phrase "good hair". I wish it would die along with all of the color issues that exist in our community.
I am better than I was, as I no longer feel the need to lecture strangers, especially since they think they are paying me a compliment. I simply share the idea that my hair probably isn't much different from theirs, and most others of us. I have just taken the time to discover & define my own beauty and what does and doesn't work with/for it.
I still get upset when I hear the 'good hair' comments and I hear it a lot. I tell them 'good hair is healthy hair' and depending on the situation, I'll go into the origins of the 'good hair' belief system. But usually there is no point. They don't hear what I am saying anyway. I'm trying little by little to change peoples' views.
I've only been to Panama once to visit family and I was so suprised to see the straightened hair. As hot as it is down there and as much as it rains, I just knew that most people would be natural. Boy, was I wrong.
I get the good hair comment all the time and my response is, if it's growing,it's good hair. The "type" matters very little.
The whole good hair mindset does sadden me, but I cheer myself up by thinking about how the mindset is slowly changing and the definition of beauty and beautiful hair is expanding bit by bit.
I saw a t-shirt in New Orleans when I attended Essence Festival 2011 and it read: "Good Hair: Hair that is kept in good condition. Texture is of no importance."
I'm not offended when someone says you look like you have "good hair". I just respond so do you, we all do.
When someone tells me I have good hair, I just say, "I just take care of it, and I've learned how to take care of it and I take the time to do so." I also let them know that just about anyone can do the same thing to their hair if they take care of it. I get a little offended when people tell my son that he has good hair, because I don't want him to have to deal with the biases in this world. I just brush it off though. People from other races even love his hair, and they just say he has beautiful hair, which is more acceptable in my eyes. Anyone can have beautiful hair, it's in the eye of the beholder. But "good hair" seems to have a certain category which is stereotypically fine, wavy/curly, with very little kink in it.
From other people's reaction to me: when I slick my edges back into puff and get those waves = "good hair." Not that I termed it that way, but that is why I put the gel in it. Too have a certain look, all I can say is THANKS.
To me, there is no such thing as "Good Hair" in the way people view it. Good hair, to me, is healthy hair, but to most, it's about the texture when comparing to people like Halle Berry, Amerie and so on. I hear it all the time when my daughter and I are out. Yes, she is mixed with Chinese and Cuban, so the first thing they notice is the length and texture of her hair commenting on how she has that "Good Hair". I don't get upset because i know i work hard at making it healthy, so technically it is good, but little do they know, its ALOT of work to manage, detangle, deep condition, keep moisturized, etc. At face value, her hair looks like she can wake up and go, but i know better.
It's very sad that this phase exists, but it started at the beginning of time and unfortunately i dont think it will ever go away. Society has put a stamp on what is "good" and it hits all over the world. I visited East Africa, and it saddened me to see all the women who had so much trauma from bleaching their skin and over processing their hair. I BC'd right before i went to Africa thinking that it would be more embraced there then here in the USA. Unfortunately, it was a shock to many to see me where my hair natural. I was definitely not expecting that at all.
People everywhere still use this phrase– black or not; caribbean or not; and an expectation of Eurocentric standards of beauty certainly permeates nearly every community everywhere– Asians, Latins, and even within White communities themselves. That being said when I hear the phrase "good hair" I am not offended at all. I suppose in some twisted way it's supposed to be a compliment. The phrase does make me sad about the level of ignorance and self- hate that exists. I think it's important that while we all try to fix these issues we also accept that for the time being, people will use language like this and not know or understand or care as to why it's important to think differently. I'm not sure it's productive to let our feathers be ruffled every time something offends us– the solution is to fix the issue rather than to become undone by it.
I don't know if the "good hair" thing will ever end. The truth is that "good hair" is the hair that is considered not on the "kinkier" end of the natural hair spectrum.
As much as we like to pretend that it's not, it's true. It's the elephant that won't leave the room even though we have acknowledged his existence and told him he is not welcomed here.
It's like the black guys that say they don't like women with natural hair. Please, yes they do! What they mean is they don't like "kinky" natural hair! Or natural hair that isn't "good hair". (Unless it's long)
Now I can see I'm going off in a different direction than that topic so I will leave it at that.
The "Good Hair" phrase…being honest with myself, it bothers ,me alot. Because it always implicates that if its not that standard its bad. I always brush it off, but it does get under my skin. "Good Hair" to me, is the simple fact that I have some. That its healthy…