To Love. To Grow. To Change. To Live.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hair

I'm angry!  I want that to be clear!

My husband and I stayed up past 1am talking for HOURS about oppression (specifically, Eurocentric beauty standards and colourism)!

I cried during that conversation, as I always do whenever we discuss oppression of this type, and I cry now as I write this post thinking about how oppressive we (African Americans) can be among ourselves, not even realizing why we think the way we think and how ignorant we can be in relation to these topics. 

Our main topic of discussion was Madison's hair and how we're constantly asked about it...


Madison's hair has always been, and continues to be, a topic of discussion among family and friends (yes, family and friends), and quite frankly I'm sick of it.  So I'm venting here, because I know that it's an issue that many face and because I plan to point to this rant the next time somebody asks me about her hair so that I don't have to entertain the foolishness topic any more!



Since she was born we've been questioned about her hair, it's shortness, it's texture and whether or not it's "done" (i.e., braided, well maintained, etc.).  I don't even like putting ponytails in her hair at this age but I often feel that I'm "required" to do something to keep the judgement at a minimum!

Myth:  Braids make your hair grow...

It's a fallacy and it annoys me.  Hair grows (on average) 6 inches a year or ½ inch/month.  Braids are not going to change that fact.  They're a protective, low maintenance style that keeps you from having to manipulate the hair often.  However, oftentimes braids are too tight, left in too long or the hair is not washed/moisturized as required when they are in so they tend to cause more harm than good, in most cases. 

Just letting the hair be, washing and moisturizing it (and the scalp) properly is all that is required for it to be healthy.  Please note that I said healthy...not grow.  Healthy hair will equate to growing hair but for goodness sake there is absolutely nothing wrong with short hair, there is nothing wrong with kinky hair, there is nothing wrong with relaxed hair, there is nothing wrong with natural hair.  It's just hair!  
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Occasionally moms try to do certain styles, such as braids and pigtails, that can actually damage the hair. Hair in young children is more sensitive, and sometimes little ones can get hair loss from hairstyles that pull too tightly or are in place for a long period of time,” says Dr. Muething.


Many disorders can result from manipulation of the hair (such as traction alopecia, in which tight braids or other hair styling can lead to hair loss at the sites of the greatest tension) or treatment with chemicals,” adds Dr. Paller. “Children should have simple styles and avoid excessive manipulation or treatments.” -source


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm not saying that effort shouldn't be put in to properly groom a child before leaving the house, so people can take that argument elsewhere; what I'm saying is that children's hair doesn't have to be "in place" for it to be flourishing.  Besides, they are kids.  Madison's hair is usually out of place within an hour of styling because she's a toddler, she bothers it, she plays....she's a child!


I spend time, probably more than I should, affirming how pretty she is from head to toe, inside and out.  I make it a point to point out how pretty I think I am in front of her, how much I like my hair and her hair, how much I love my skin and her skin. I also pray about these things as well because, unfortunately, the world is such a cruel, cruel place and ignorance is real!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“The way we perceive and indoctrinate our beliefs about beauty is a legacy that gets passed down from family to family,” -Anita Majumdar

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I cringe every time I hear, read about or see jokes about Beyonce's daughter's hair, and how others judge Beyonce for not "doing something to her hair" because I can relate so, so well.  The silliness is infuriating to say the least.  Obviously, Beyonce has the resources to maintain her daughter's hair to the highest degree, based on society's standard of "maintaining hair", but I'm almost certain that with the stylists she has in her camp she probably knows what I know about the manipulation of a toddler's hair.  So, she chooses to let it be and ignores the stupidity nasty comments about her child. A child! *rolls eyes*

I digress!

Ultimately, I implore you to take the time to read up on beauty politicspolitics of respectability and any of the other links I have scattered throughout this post!  They include an overwhelming amount of information but I hope that you take the time to do your own research and pull from multiple sources to draw your own conclusions.  

They say ignorance is bliss.  
I say ignorance is annoying! 
#StayWoke


SHARE:

10 comments

  1. Toddlers and young girls are going to have crazy hair NO MATTER WHAT race they are!! It's just a fact! There is no need to manipulate, perm, straighten, or do anything damaging to a tiny person's hair. I'm not going to judge someone who does it, because hey, it might be fun for you and your kid to have your hair done, but it shouldn't be a requirement.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It boils me when they talk about little Blue's hair. Like seriously?!!! I feel like at this age their hair needs to be free. Those elastic bands that you use to pull their hair in a pony can actually break their hair off. And , she is a freaking toddler! A toddler!! Let them be free and worry about hair later. Plenty of time for that later. When my daughter's hair finally grows, I would let her be free. Maybe some plaits now and then, with a bow. But yes, I can go on and on!!! lol You just made me angry, lol!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That baby looks perfect just the way she is! That's crazy that people have the audacity to question anything about it. smh.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! I used to get the same about Emma's hair when she was younger. I had family ask why I never did anything to her hair!! I just laughed it off...it's my child and my choice and at the time her hair was short and it was fine with me to have her beautiful curly Fro with a hair bow! Now that her hair is so long, I sometime get, why is it in a ponytail all the time? Well I should volunteer them to do it ;)! My advice, don't internalize the comments...you shape the view of your child's view of beauty. You choose and you then teach her...and she'll be confident no matter what the world says!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I feel where you're coming from. People’s mindset about hair trips me out. I’m to the point now where if you’re not complimenting me on my hair don’t say anything about it all TO ME! You’re entitled to feel however you want, but to criticize isn’t effective or productive. You don’t do my hair every night, nor do you have to take care of it, so how dare you? You have a toddler on your hands. Her job is to play & have fun. “In place hair” at her age can be a waste of time. I don’t have children, but I know how I was as a kid. My mom used to fuss about my hair standing all over my head. I didn’t start caring about my hair until middle school because up until then I was too busy being a kid!!

    I hate to rant but I think people put too much stock in hair! Since becoming natural again, I must say that getting over hair having to be “in place” has been a struggle. It’s engrained (at no ones fault) at such an early age when in actuality, it’s not ALL THAT important! When I think about the best times of my life (my laughs, good times, the loving, the crying, & the being comforted when I really needed it) hair is not a thought in that! The people who know & love me do so because of who I am & not because of what my hair looks like. My hair is what it is. I’m working very hard to get it and keep it HEALTHY! As you’ve said with health comes length in it’s own time. Everyone’s hair does it’s own thing & you can’t expect one head of hair to be like another.

    In the past month, I’ve done the wash (moisturize) & go style for over half that time & I feel that my hair has been at it’s best. The less manipulation, THE BETTER!! The Blue Ivy topic, is a quintessential example of how crazy this hair thing is & has always been. It’s more of a topic these days because more people are embracing the natural hair look. People equate the natural look with “not being done” & I hate that!! Who’s to say what’s done & what’s not. Who’s to say what looks good & what doesn’t??

    I love Maddie’s hair & I think you do a great job with it!! You’re very educated about natural hair & how to take care of it, and the routine you have her on & used to is amazing for her age!! I totally agree with Tasha's comment. It’s unfortunate that others can’t see all the wonderful work you put into making sure her hair is healthy because taking care of natural hair is NOT EASY! You definitely shouldn't take their comments to heart. Everyone has thoughts but that doesn't have to stop you from doing what you do!! You could kindly let them all know that you hear what they're saying, but you're doing what works for you and will continue to do so!! Cornrows & the other kinds of styles being suggested may “look neater” or be “easier to manage” but as far as health is concerned…there are other routes that look just as good. If you feel a different hair style is more suitable for toddlers, then you should do YOUR toddlers hair that way. That’s like me saying my favorite color is red, so yours should be red too because that’s the color I think looks the best! Lol. There are so many beautiful colors out there, that are all different but all look good just the same!!!! There are more ways than one for things to be beautiful & this is especially true for hair!!

    I wish the concept of black hair was different, but maybe it’s the conversations like these that need to happen to help people see & understand that our views are being fed to the young people in our lives. Those young people become old people & those mindsets continue to live on. Granted everyone is entitled to their own thoughts & opinions about hair & clothes & whatever else. None of this is said with malicious intent or tone. But our focus should be more on working to put more positive views about being ourselves, loving ourselves, and embracing ourselves into our young people’s minds so they can focus on better things…like their futures!

    …but that’s just my two cents!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See what I'm talking about?! ----> http://www.forharriet.com/2012/03/why-black-girls-get-pregnant-at-19.html

      This article may seem off topic but look at it for it is. This confidence thing affects people differently and if you're not teaching children to love themselves for who they are then they'll find love and attention somewhere else! This is exactly what I mean by finding better things to focus our young children's minds on. This has got to stop! We can do better as a people!

      Delete
  6. Your little darling looks gorgeous. If I'd passed you on the street, I'd not have thought anything was weird or out of the ordinary about her hair - I would've just thought she was a cutie. I'm sorry people make you feel like you should be doing anything differently!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post. I too endured comments about my daughter's hair but on the other end of the spectrum - oh, you all have good hair, oh, you must have indian in your family, oh, do you relax her hair...--and on and on. My steady comment was there is no such thing as good hair and hair is hair. SMH at ignorant people.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love reading opinions on hot topics, I think you've said your points well!!
    Maddie is just a beautiful doll baby!!! You are her mother and you know what's best for her. Great job pointing out the facts of overstyling hair, especially in children.
    My daughter has very thick curly hair and I use only natural lightweight spray in conditioner since curly hair is so dry. I see no reason to overstyle it at her age (almost 2 and 1/2 years old). People will stop me in public and try to give me advice on what products to use on her hair, it IS very annoying. Like I don't know how to style hair (it's a second passion of mine. I just refuse to over do it on my toddler and let her be HERSELF the way God made her!!!)
    People seriously ask me when I'm going to flat iron her hair to see how long it is?!
    1. It's long and I see the length when washing her hair.
    2. I want her to embrace her curls and not fight them (like I have mine for 10+ years - and maybe it's because so much emphasis is placed on hair. Supposedly curly hair is less professional in the workfield according to certain articles in women's magazines.)
    3. WHY in the world would I take a HOT IRON to my toddler's beautiful, virgin, curly, head when she likely wouldn't sit still and end up being burnt?!?!
    And you're right about play time - even when I do pull her hair back in bows or ponytails it gets messed up at daycare within the first little bit of time anyway.

    Thanks so much for bringing this up, apparently there are a lot of us that agree with you 100% on this topic!!!

    Amber
    Fashion, Floss and Lip Gloss

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes. Yes to all of this. We are currently in the same boat as you. In fact, a few months ago I sent a picture to my father-in-law (who is white btw) who felt the need to respond by saying I was damaging my daughters hair because I had it in pigtails. I still haven't even told my husband because honestly, it's not worth starting a fight, but I was completely taken back that he felt he had the right to comment on how I'm doing my daughters hair. Especially since he raised two boys and is currently bald. If that ain't the pot meeting the kettle, I don't know what is...

    Her hair has been an issue since she was a baby. It's still very thin and is finally starting to grow in, but we have taken serious flack for it. Because she has natural hair, it seems like it's much shorter than it actually is (shrinkage). For the most part I just tune it out now because, 'not your baby, not your problem.' I have spent years obsessing about it and worrying, but have finally come to the realization that perhaps that is just her hair texture.

    I was so disappointed when I saw that petition to comb Baby Ivy's hair. I'm not sure why we feel the need to insert our belief or opinions in everyone else's lives. As if we are incapable of having an off day ourselves.

    I thought the most difficult aspect of parenting was going to be, well parenting. Three years later and I'm realizing that the most difficult part of parenting is dealing with the judgement of other parents. Especially other moms. We need to stop thinking that we know what is best for every other mother because we are moms ourselves. Not everything that works on your child will work on another's.

    Personally, I think your daughter has gorgeous hair! I say, be proud and realize that at the end of the day, you know what is best for YOUR child. And don't let anyone tell you any different!

    p.s. Are you in the Triangle area? If so we need to linkup. We moved here two months ago :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I read and cherish each and every one and do my very best to respond to all in a timely manner.

© Pharr Away | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig