Natural Hair Nazis: Can’t We All Just Get Along?
I read an article last night over at Clutch Magazine that really echoed some sentiments that I’ve been feeling for a long time.
If you don’t spend much time on Black hair forums, you may not be familiar with the term “Natural Hair Nazi”. A Natural Hair Nazi (NHN) is a person who belittles other women for relaxing their hair. The NHN feels that relaxed hair is a direct reflection of one’s self-hatred and desire to assimilate to a White standard of beauty. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more.
True, I have recently become natural, but I go to great lengths never to impose my decision to go natural on others. True, there are probably some Black women out there who dislike their kinks and curls, but there are also many women who, I think, just think of relaxed hair as a style. Nothing more. Nothing Less.
When I made the decision to go natural it wasn’t because I wanted to make some political statement or connect to my “roots”, so to speak. I wasn’t experiencing breakage of thinning of any kind. Quite the contrary. I gave my hair a lot of TLC, switched to a gentler relaxer and my hair hadn’t been that full since I was a little girl. So why did I make the decision to go natural? Curiosity, plain and simple. I wish I could say it was something more interesting or life-changing, but it wasn’t. I wanted to see what I looked like with natural hair, so I went to my brother’s barber and had him chop it all off. That’s it.
I understand that a lot of natural women harbor some resentment because of the way they were treated when they first went natural. Having the people closest to you question your decision and make you feel like you’ve ruined your appearance can make you feel like people have an unhealthy obsession with straight hair. And some of us do. I just don’t see how passing on that negative energy is helping matters. Fortunately for me, my family and friends were very supportive of my decision to go natural. My mother and best friend are both natural, and rooted me on, as did my friends with relaxers. Maybe they’re just good friends like that. Heck, even my dad and brother passed on hair tips and product recommendations to help me style my newly cropped hair.
I send this message out to all hair forum participants, beauty bloggers, and regular gals, alike. If you feel so strongly about natural hair, why not give some of the support you wished you’d received. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, so be a little sweeter the next time the discussion of natural hair comes up. Instead of going into attack mode and accusing her of being “addicted” to the “creamy crack”, share your story and explain why you went natural. That is, if she asked for your opinion in the first place. And don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume that every relaxed woman is a few strands from baldness. Don’t assume that every relaxed women hates her natural texture. For that matter, don’t assume that of any natural woman who gets blow outs, or wears a wig or weave. It would be wrong for someone to dog you for wearing dreads or a fro, so why is it ok for you to dog someone for wearing a pixie or bob? Its simple. Treat others how you want to be treated.
Will I be natural forever? I have no idea. I may do like my mother and switch back and forth every year or so. That’s my prerogative. All I’m saying is, there are enough problems in the world. Lets not wage a war over hair relaxer! It’s just plain silly. Women, and Black women especially, need to stop competing with one another, and support one another. And that includes supporting every woman’s right to wear her hair how ever she wants.
That’s why I created Beautè Noire. I want this blog to be a place for all women of color to revel in their beauty! So, yes, there will be tips and products for both relaxed and natural hair. If a relaxed woman emails me for help with her hair, I’m not going to turn her away. Same for my natural girls. Does that make me Pro-Natural? Pro-Relaxed? I think it just makes me Pro-Beauty!
Your Sister in Beauty,
Photo: Clutch Magazine