There are days when we wake up feeling flawless like Beyoncé’. Sometimes, we are Brittany Spears with it, and we just want to grab a pair of clippers and go to work, releasing the scalp from every strand there is above our perfect little heads. Then, after those days, there are days where we pick up our hair from our wig stand, throw it on, slick down those baby hairs, and exit stage left. After all those days, there is one very important thing they all have in common: THE HAIR IS YOURS. Yup, the hair that grows on your head, or that you purchased from your local bundle supplier belongs to you. For some reason, White men in high positions have a problem with that. Hair is deemed unprofessional when it is at its natural 4c state, or when it is not bone straight in resemblance of White women, or women whos hair naturally grow straight. This, is a problem, lets examine how.
At 15, I had my first job as a hostess at a well known steakhouse. My manager, who was also store owner, was a very stern White man in his early forty’s, who worked hard to get where he landed in his career. At the time of my interview I had a 16”-18” inch sew-in. The hair appeared straight and natural, and to his knowledge was growing from my scalp.
After getting the job, my start date approached. A week later, on my start date my hair was new. My hair was then in neat feed-in braids about mid-back length. My manager was furious. He moved forward to say, ” This is not how I hired you, you were supposed to appear like I hired you, remove this”. The fifteen year old me felt like a disappointment. I changed my hairstyle immediately. Now, Twenty-one year old me has other responses for such a manager.
His statements are what Black Women across the world often deal with. This is discrimination beyond measures. Many may not see the severity of this. The lack of empathy in this area isolates the feeling of a Black Woman not being able to be herself, and places it in a category of “not that serious”. This is serious. So serious that many states implemented laws like The Crown Act , making it illegal. Things like this shouldn’t have to be created because people should respect the preferences of every woman, or person in general on this earth. The styling of my hair is not a reflection of my ability to delicately complete work within my job description or beyond.
So when I say “Don’t Touch My Hair” , I am saying a multitude of things.
I am saying, do not degrade my decisions I make about my appearance or body, to make them fit into your structured idea of what professionalism looks like. When I say “Don’t Touch My Hair”, I am saying if I choose to wear it curly, straight, short, long, relaxed, permed, braided, or loc’d, that it is my business. When I say “Don’t Touch My Hair”, I mean physically please do not invade my personal space by placing you hands on my head or hair. And, when I say “Please?”, I am just being polite about it. You’re Welcome.
Signed, a Black Woman who sits for 8 hours or more to have her styled in luxurious braids, or other styles of her liking.