What do women really mean when they say "my natural hair just isn't for me?"

When I went natural a few years ago, I did so with one bold statement ringing in my head:

"I'm doing it, and I don't give a ___ what anyone else thinks about it !"

And I meant it. I don't care what anyone in my life or beyond says about my decision to embrace my natural hair.

I've read a few articles recently where the author admits "I tried to go natural but I decided to get a relaxer last week." The majority of them have one thing in common: someone said something about their natural hairdo and they broke.

Let's be honest about natural hair and black people, particularly men. You have to be a black woman who really doesn't care what most black people, especially men, think about what you choose to do with you hair. If you will take it personally when someone makes a sly remark or laughs behind your back; if you will let a man who's obsessed with long straight hair to make you feel bad about your tightly coiled strands in the bathtub; if you secretly envy your girlfriend after she puts a fresh relaxer in her hair; you are probably not going to truly be able to embrace your natural hair yet. But that doesn't mean that what you weren't given natural isn't meant for you.

Going and staying natural is as much a change in mentality as it is a change in how you choose to wear your hair. It's a realization that maybe those chemicals in perms aren't good for your body. It's an acknowledgement that the mainstream belief that straight hair is "right" is really based in the idea that having white features is better than natural black features.

Wearing natural hair is like putting up the black fist without having to put your hand in the hair. People of all races (including blacks) can ridicule you if they want but either way they are forced to respect your stand.

White, Asian and Latino men and women really have bought into the idea that black women desperately want to look like them. So when they see you rocking that 'fro, shining in the sunlight, "they can't touch this." Now, some of them are trying to fluff their hair out to look like afros, dreadlocking their hair and wearing corn rows.

Black men have bought into the idea that black women hate themselves (which is ironic since many of them are responsible for the shaming of African features on women throughout the years) but when they see a beautiful woman who has embraced her natural look, they have no choice to RESPECT it. They won't dare tell a proud natural girl something  to her face other than "I love your hair sis."

They are forced to respect someone who respects her own natural beauty.

I'm not here to shame women who choose to relax their hair -- it's your hair and it's your prerogative to wear exactly as you like. I just have an issue with the statement that "natural hair is just not for me." How can we say that, while countless non-black women embrace their "natural hair" without a problem. Although you may choose to alter it one way or another, your natural self is ALWAYS for you.



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