Going home for Thanksgiving always presents some kind of tension between my father and me and normally the tension is revolved around my hair.
When I went home this break I was surprised that my dad had not mentioned anything about my hair. I was proud of him, thinking that he finally accepted my curly locks, and then good ole dad tells me this, “your hair is breaking out.” I thought to myself “WHAT?????” For one it thing the correct statement is breaking off and for two it’s not, my hair is healthy. The thing about my father is that he believes that the only way my hair looks good is if it straight. I’ve been dealing with this for my whole life. For the good chunk of my life so far my hair has been straightened or in corn rows to hide away the curly (natural hair).
When I came to college, I realized that I was tired of paying to get my hair styled and frankly did not have two hours to spare to fit to societies standards. That’s when I started wearing my hair curly and at first it was hard to maintain and style because I had never wore my hair curly and then eventually I took the right steps and now I feel happy and confident with my style.
When I’m at school people comment on my hair saying it’s beautiful, and awesome, as if my hair was a person. I love these comments because for most of my life I believed that in order to be beautiful I had to strip out all the natural parts of me. Wearing foundation to make my skin lighter, straighten my hair to maintain a more European look, but then I realized that confirming to the white beauty standard was not in my best interest.
This need for African- American, like myself, to fit this standard is not a new thing; it goes all the way black to slavery. Kobena Mercer, the writer of Black Hair/ Style Politics states that slave women were supposed to hide their hair under bandanas to keep their hair clean and unexposed. From then to now I need to changes, but when I go home and not only my Dad but my Aunt tells me I need to fix my hair, I’m left wondering will this desire ever end. In recent years I’ve seen this natural hair revolution, black women embracing their natural locks and it’s refreshing!
To think of all the toxic chemicals that are placed in relaxers it puzzles me why women still use this stuff. Honestly it is our natural looks that make us stand out, why we want to be some cookie cutter version of what someone else wants. With that I say Dad I love you, but if you expect me to straighten my hair as some form of a Christmas present for you, don’t hold your breath; it’s not going to happen.
The Comments My Father Has Said About My Hair
Oh Dad, why do you care about my hair? It’s strange. Be the change, embrace my curly locks!