by NaturallyChelsea via NaturallyCurly
As you embark on your journey, it is inevitable that you will encounter that one individual, or a few, who feel the need to tell you exactly what they think of your natural hair. When the comment is positive, it’s all good, but when misconceptions and rudeness are thrown at you, it may be hard for you to come up with the right words to say, as the attack may have taken you by surprise or you may just be a soft spoken individual.
So we here at NaturallyCurly have the perfect 4 step strategy that will stop those individuals in their tracks — without making you look bad!
1. Don’t Preach
Short of the online community, I know no one else who is even remotely interested in the deep racial and social history of natural hair. It just isn’t that important to most people. To you, this is a huge battle that you have overcome, and you may feel that you are forging the way for those who will come after you, but please, for the love of curls, keep all of this to yourself.
If someone tells you they wish you would go back to relaxers or inquires about when you plan to straighten your hair, do not use this as an opportunity to go Martin Luther on them and give them the “I have a dream” speech where you state that relaxers should be abolished. In a room full of people that know nothing about this issue, you are going to look silly fighting for a cause like hair.
2. Concisely Explain
This is by far the most important. For so long, people have come to expect seeing you with straight hair, and now it has changed. It stands to reason that some of them might be confused and will want to know why you aren’t going with the flow anymore. Explain that you did not have a falling out with your stylist, are not changing sexual orientation, religion or anything else drastic. Without going deeply, simply explain your reasoning and goals, be they that you want longer, stronger, healthier, bigger, curlier, or more dramatic hair.
3. Brush it Off
Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, get emotional. I truly believe that there are people in this world who say things to get reactions out of people. They live for the thrill of breaking others down and get truly excited if they can make you cry. So why give them the satisfaction? Even if they comment about your hair type and try to drum it into your head that straight hair is best, learn to display the art of not caring. After you have concisely explained your position, anything that your tormentor says afterward should be met with a blank, nonchalant stare, a shoulder shrug and a “Whatever.”
4. Keep it Moving
Now that you have explained yourself and managed to navigate your way around rude comments, you need to divert the attention away from you. Don’t leave yourself open for more probing and taunting. The longer the convo revolves around you, the more opportunities people will have to think of questions to ask and things to say. By slyly diverting the conversation away from yourself, you minimize the chances of being placed in more awkward situations. Also, it lets your tormentor know that you are through with the conversation.
I hope that following these steps will help you to avoid awkward situations and make transitioning or being a newbie a tad bit easier. Peace, love and happy curling!
How do you handle rude comments?
I've looking for optional beanies or other accessories to wear with my twa. Any suggesstions
Oh,I got a look that can " cook a stone" specially for people like that. The ones with the most to say are the ones with the least self confidence anyway. A woman of color who rocks her curls in their full and luscious glory is seen as avant garde and cutting edge and mucho self assured. That can be disconcerting to someone with low self esteem and as a result the "crab-in-a-barrel" syndrome tends to manifest. I have had cause to point out to anyone with more lip than sense than to criticize my coiffure that since I never seek their beggarly opinion or assistance with any other area of my life,that I am unlikely to require their opinion,or hold said beggarly opinion of my coiffure in anything less than utter disdain.
This is a great post.I think it will be very usefull to us. I read it but I need some thing more to know about this. How can I know about this.
As soon as my co-worker walked in she made a comment, "you must have went to the gym." I did go to the gym last night, but that has nothing to do with why I'm not pressing my hair. Then she said "I'm talking about your hair" when my manager thought she was referring to something else. My co-worker is still getting relaxers and she is always been a low-key hater. It hurt, but I'm over it.
I'm glad my mommy supports my decision to be natural. She BC'd a year ago and inspired me to continue when I was first transitioning!
We share natural hair tips all the time. I even reap the benefits of her product stash when she finds something else she wants to try 🙂
It's hard not to preach, sometimes. Even when I get a positive comment, I want to tell others about how important this is to me. In the past, family members have said negative things. I mostly ignored it, but sometimes I had to put them in their place and remind them one way or another that it's my hair and they don't have to like it. I try not to throw insults back…
I am so glad I have never received a negative comment. I have seen what may be perceived as funny or curious looks but no one has had the courage to say anything negative and I get quite a few positive compliments. Just last night the nurse in the hospital that put in my IV said to me "girl your hair is so thick and wavy I thought it was a curly weave'. I explained to her that it was a twist-out, as she touched it and remarked that it was so soft. I took no offense to this for a few reasons. I know this person and we have mutual friends/family. She is often my nurse when I'm in the hospital. And I'd just allowed her to put a needle into my arm, it doesn't get any more invasive than that. But honestly I don't know how I would react if someone made a negative remark about my hair. I have had someone say something negative about my daughters hair, my nephew in fact, and I had to explain to him that it was rude and that all women were beautiful and should be respected.
Someone once made a comment about a bad hair day before I found Curly Nikki, YouTube videos, etc. I just explained there were more to come as I attempted to work with my natural hair, so he might as well get used to it.
Sometimes my youngest child will voice his father's sentiments (dad would never say this to me, but to the kids) – to just get my hair relaxed again. I simply say "No".
"oh well, that's your feelings" **Shrug** then walk off.
I usually just laugh! I love my natural hair as much as i love my skin so need to be concerned with their opinions!!! if my hair is enough for someone to judge me over, they probably someone I don't want to know anyway!! 🙂
Honestly, I just brush it off and tell those rude commenters "hey, I love my hair this way, and it allows for healthy, flexible hair!"
Oh I preach when it's necessary to because some people are far too ignorant. Sometimes it has got to be done.
I tell them that my bible says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I say "As flattered as I am that you find the topic of my hair so fascinating, I can't help but wonder why it matters so much to you. I am happy doing me, so you be happy doing you boo!"
Only black folks say negative things to me (with the intentions of hurting me).
When I first went natural my mum used to complain ALL THE TIME, it was awful, she would embarrass me infront of everybody at family functions, work and even church (forced me to leave church and go stand out in the corridor till i could make myself 'presentable'). It was so disheartening, I kinda had my sisters on my side and they would ask my mum what was soo wrong about my hair and she woud say "it always looks messy", so one day I did my first blow out and squeezed my hair into a bun (using loads of booby pins) to look 'presentable'. Do you know what, she still complained!
Thats when I knew the real meaning of 'haters are going to hate'. It's not that she thought my natural hair was messy, she just didn't like natural hair at all, and couldn't get past that initial dislike to ask me why I was going natural or any other kind of question.
Luckily, i'm at university so while i'm there i rock my fro as usual, but unfortunately any time i'm coming home i have to get my hair braided to keep my mum of my case, it's been this way since I BC'ed 2 years ago! it's sad but's it's the only way i can stop all the rude and hurtful comments
I don't have a hard and fast rule. If I feel like saying something that others would characterize as all "Malcolm X" then I do. If I feel like just saying "everyone's journey is different, then I do". But, I never think it's silly to demand respect or stand up for how you feel if you think it's worth exerting the extra energy- no matter how the other person reacts…you can't control that. But, I will say that I try and use a bit of compassion, since there are so many ways in which I am ignorant and continue to say hurtful things everyday. If it had not been for my experiences, I'd be the one frowning down naturals. So, it's all in love.
This is going to sound strange but I look at them, laugh, and move on. I have figured out my happiness does not depend on ignorant folks. I have an inner joy that I use to deflect stupidity. I just shine it back at them as though THEY are the joke and move on!
I've never encountered anyone bold enough to say anything negative about my hair to my face. But I've caught people staring (and not with admiration). I stare right back for a second or two (just so they know they got caught)and simply smile and walk away (so they know they didn't steal my shine)!
In the beginning I felt like I needed to explain myself but now I ignore it because no on has to explain their hair practices or choices to me. I still get negetive comments or backhanded compliments but I just take it as a matter of opinion which is what is really is.
I refuse to get on a soap box unless someone genuinely wants information or is interested in my journey and not looking to sell their beliefs
Kindly explain to them that your choice to wear your hair in a particular way is not swayed by their opinions.
I don't know what it is with people and hair that makes everyone think their opinions matter over another person's decisions. I had to go through this over and over with my mom when I first started transitioning. She kept trying to talk me into getting a relaxer-bully me rather- but I stuck to my guns. Everyone feels they have a say in what you do but with rude comments, educate on the value of healthy hair, natural or relaxed…
my answer would be, especially to people who sometimes or constantly talk about your hair is – "I'm sorry you feel that way — 'I' disagree." Keep saying that to them — they will fuss back at you because they will get tired of you saying it!
I don't understand why people think they have to say something about someone's choice to wear their hair natural.
I have been natural for over two years and NO ONE has said a word to me. At least not to my face. Especially my own family. Why would your own family have crap to say about it? Shouldn't they be your biggest supporters? What the hell?!
Maybe it's because my mom wasn't a big supporter of wearing relaxers. I didn't get one until I turned 17.
She didn't even want us using a hot comb! The only thing she said was she wasn't sure I was going to stick with it because I am very funny about my hair and if I look in the mirror one day and don't like it, I might go back to the relaxer. NO WAY JOSE!
I saw this on lHCf and got a good laugh, it was from the forum about "It's about time you did something with your hair!!"here's the link as well http://www.longhaircareforum.com/showthread.php?t=602233
Now this is what "aheadofcoils" said, this had me rolling with laughter. *Sighs*
I have an aunt that is always trying to give hair advice and I SHUT HER DOWN the other day. I told her "It's funny how you stay talking about somebodies weave, but yo edges are ate up, yo tracks are showing and you only have a couple strands of hair that makes you have a 'ponytail'. GTFO." She told my mom that she doesn't think I like her very much. Ya think?!
Black women with tore up hair need to quit giving "advice".
and this one by "sherrimberri" My situation:
Co-worker: what's wrong with your hair? When are you going to comb it?
Me: what's wrong with your clothes? When are you going to lose some weight?
She haven't said anything else to me since. I'm glad.
With humor (if it's a close friend or family member) or indifference (if it's a stranger)… Life's too short to be p***ed or bothered by others. *fluffs hair and struts off*.
Generally I ignore people or don't notice when they do say something to me or look at me. My mom's the one who usually notices people staring or making comments, she then decides to make a smart comment and people back off.
It's so funny, its ALWAYS a black girl with little pieces of broken off hair on her head that wants to tell me something about my healthy, curly, nappy, and good smelling hair.
Thankfully the only rude comments I've received were from people who were either homeless, junkies, or who looked 1000x worse than I did. With those people I just keep it moving.
My sister is forever telling me..Val you def need a relaxer right now. I just look at her and roll my eyes. But yet again she is always comparing my hair to other curlies saying that mine looks way better, moisturized..ect..gotta love it.lol
Amen! As a natural woman myself, I too, have endured many rude comments. One that really angered me was: "Your hair is so…messy! Why don't you brush it?!" I just turned away, not about to subject myself to the low standards of replying to this girl's ignorance! The essence of natural, African American hair, is absolutely beautiful. Once you recognize the true beauty of your hair, then you will be able to realize that what people say doesn't matter. So, natural ladies and gents (if there are any here), take the negative comments of people with a grain of salt. Hold your head high, and walk proudly. As long as you believe in yourself, nothing can shake you!
Ironically, my very own mother is the ONLY person with a problem with my hair, she constantly makes ignorant comments and this weekend she actually broke me down. Everyone else loves my hair but she feels the need to always point out issues with it as if she needs to rally up a group of anti-natural followers to support her bashing spree against me. I chopped my hair off for my 18th birthday 2 months ago and my life has been hell ever since, I just didn't know that people's mothers, especially mine could be so cruel over something as simple as hair. smh.
This is right on time. Yesterday at church, I got so many compliments on my hair. One friend even came across the room to tell me how much he loved my hair. Fast forward to later in the evening, my sister told me my hair looked "nasty" and then an old family friend likened my hair to the nests of several species of animals. The first time I defended myself and the second time I politely brushed it off. I guess it's give and take just like everything else in life. I can't please everyone nor am I trying to.
I am Greek with extremely curly/kinky hair that I wear natural. My step-family (blonde) likes to comment on my hair constantly. It drives me nuts! They've known me for 30 years, so it's not like its news. Over the holidays my stepbrother actually asked me if my hair was getting curlier! I said, no, it's always been exactly this curly. He went on to say he thinks it looks curlier and was I sure, blah, blah, blah. It was fairly demeaning.
So, I thought about his comments because they were rude and really hurt my feelings. And when I saw him at Christmas, I made a point of taking him aside and speaking to him about it. I told him that he probably wasn't aware that commenting on ethnic hair is culturally insensitive. I said it in the nicest way I could – as though I was lecturing a slightly stupid employee about harassment. Boy – he couldn't backtrack fast enough!! I'm glad I did, because I'm tired of their subtle bullying. I know he told his family about it because every time I see my "step-mother" she now makes a point to tell me how nice my hair looks. ha ha…
Okay, that is what I'd say when caught off guard…try: Have you looked in your mirror recently?
Here's a real throw back from the 70s: Yo mama (insert whatever insult you'd like)!
The main thing to do is just ignore those who make rude comments because eventually they come around..trust me. Everyday my mom and dad would say something negative about my hair. My mom was the worst. She would always say "when are you going to get a relaxer?" or my favorite ooh your hair looks soo nappy i just want to slap a relaxer in it whenever i see it". It used to hurt my feelings but now they are used to my twistouts and they love my hair 🙂 it just takes time
I say just ignore the ones you can.
I think its important to not care what haters are gonna think. It's my hair and I decide what to do with it. If someone doesn't like my hair that's their problem not mine!
You do not know how right on time this article is. I am almost 1 1/2yrs into this thing(being natural) and I still get subliminal or straight up rude comments from my mother! I don't know what she doesn't get… It's my hair and I'll do with it what I please. She won't be saying anything but praises when my hair is healthier, thicker and longer than hers and she wished she would gone natural like me, LOL.
A co-worker at work said a prejudiced comment to me last week. I have been having the hardest time working by her since that time. This article is RIGHT ON TIME!!!
The Queen neither comments nor responds!