Can We Talk ~ The Misconceptions of the Natural Haired Gal

Did she just say, “I had to perm my hair in order for my business to flourish?”

Yes, you read it correctly, we are still conforming to the misconceptions of the natural haired woman. The above quote came from a friend of mine that expressed her reasoning behind going back to the “creamy crack” perm. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole need or want to change our look but let’s make sure that we are doing this for own personal desires not because of the fear that our hair, in its natural state, will not be accepted.

This topic always gets my blood pressure rising just for the mere fact that this is the very reason, in my opinion, that we associate being accepted or beautiful with what our friends, family or the ever so judgmental society deems as BEAUTIFUL. It saddens me that there are still women that believe that wearing their natural hair will hinder their potential in and out of the boardroom.

So gals, have you ever second-guessed your decision to go natural because of the possible looks and whispers? Or have you been approached by co-workers or family who recommend that you go change your “look” to wear your hair straight instead of big, curly and kinky?

I really would love to hear your feedback on this and invite a friend or two to chime in as well.

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18 responses to “Can We Talk ~ The Misconceptions of the Natural Haired Gal

  1. I am not changing my look for ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, a lot of women are afraid to embrace their curls and kinks because of society. Society tells women that we have to be a certain size, skin color, etc. We know the society lies to us, YET we accept that we need straight hair to succeed. It hurts my hearrt because it resonate statements such as “I’m black, I can’t succeed” or “I’m overweight, I can’t succeed.” What is meant to be, will be, afro textured hair or not. That’s my two cents.

    • SheRea, I could not agree with you more! I think that society plays such a strong role in what we view as beauty. I can honestly say that I’ve heard smart remarks from fellow co-workers in regards to my weight since I’ve had my baby or comments about why I chopped my hair off just to start over again. I also remember that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for why I do what I do. The moment we start explaining we have already lost the war. That is one of the main reasons I started this blog because I wanted to uplift my sistas throughout their journey regardless of shape, hair length or texture :) Thanks for the feedback.


  3. Hey, I did a similar post on my website regarding natural hair and professionalism…
    I totally agree with your post, but I think we as black women, do have to understand that there are steretypes and people who may have negative ideologies about our hair. Also we have to come to terms with the fact that we have a certain level of mental conditioning as a people, in which we have been trained to believe one look is the standard of beauty. Because of this mental conditioning, not only in us but other groups as well, they will react to our hairstyle, fashion, or what have you in a certain light. Unfortunately, I believe for these standards and typing will only change over a period of time. But I am glad that we as sisters are reclaiming our curls, kinks, waves, and coils. I am (Kerry B of Bold and Out Loud) is guilty of hiding my hair from time to time. But I am moving to become more confident and shake my hair proudly.!!!

    • Kerry B thanks for responding & I will definitely be checking out your post on this topic. I think you hit some key points in terms to the negative ideologies & mental conditioning. I would love to get with you to discuss possible collaborating on an upcoming piece regarding the perception of natural hair. Thanks again for the comment!

  4. While I loved being natural, I did change my hairstyle based largely on the fact that I want to diversify my business and l feel that it is unfortunate but still very true that for whatever reason our natural beauty frightens certain people in certain communities if you know what I mean. I resisted the creamy crack for a very long time, but I must say I’m just as happy with my processed style as I am with my natural. My conclusion is all black is beautiful whether our hair is natural, texturized, braided or processed.

    • Thank you VI, I think that we must take a moment to realize exactly what holding onto this misconception does for us as a culture. Do you not think it would be better to stay true to yourself regardless of what “others” may think? What are we teaching our youth or young women when it comes to our natural beauty?

      • I do believe in cultivating our natural beauty, I think my daughter is naturally one of the most beautiful young women on this earth (I’m biased of course, lol) but I also advise her of the misconceptions that are placed upon us because of our natural beauty so that she can make informed decisions…such as when she goes on that important job interview and how she may be perceived. I’ve worn locs, loc extensions, a natural and natural weave and of course processed hair. When I had my locs (and I did love my loced hair) a woman that I’ve been working with and have known for at least 20 years approached me and said I thought only hoodlums wore dreadlocs and even though I was thoroughly pissed, I took that opportunity to educate her about locs and no we’re not hoodlums because we choose to loc our hair. It’s sad but true misconceptions about us and our natural beauty are still very much in existence.

      • VI,

        I agree with you that we need to express to our children their beauty I just hope that we can all learn from this post and continue to share the knowledge that we are BEAUTIFUL from the inside out :)

  5. As a women who has been natural for almost four years, I must say I understand the misconception of not being accepted within the business world with natural hair. I usually wear braids and when I don’t I straighten, press, my hair for work. Recently, this week, I let it out, naturally. You can view this on my twitter @ohemmej and the reactions were very awkward. Some people saying they liked, one co-working telling me he flat out didn’t like and the looks and not knowing who was sincere and those who were just trying to be nice. But at the end of the day it’s all about being comfortable with who you are and who you want to be. If she is not comfortable with herself then she is more likely to be easily persuaded to go back to a hair state that makes others comfortable around her. Being natural is a process, as is anything else in life. We take a baby steps, crawl, walk then run. Not everyone will experience it the same way. Some will fall before they learn how to walk. My journey has not been easy and without the support of friends and you tube to guide me I’m not sure if I would still be natural.
    Here’s what it is, at the end of the day either we are going to buy into what other people think beauty is or we are going to set our on standard. If another natural women falls then we must be the ones to pick them up and help them back. We can get angry because it doesn’t help. Support, guidance and spreading the word is what will help us reclaim our hair and our identity.

    • Emmej, you hit the nail on the head! It’s all about being comfortable with yourself & once you are comfortable with your own imagine, you are less likely to revert.

      Did you feel like you had to go back & straighten your hair so that it wouldn’t feel weird for everyone else?

      Thanks for the comment & make sure to follow me on twitter, Facebook or right here!

      • I went back to my braids which seems to be accepted more than the natural hair styling but I think the more I wear my hair out natural then the more people will be used to it. As soon as I get the hang of the natural styling, for example how to keep my hair moisturized and what works for me then there will be no more braids for me. Unless I’m going on vacation, LOL!

      • Emmej, LOL! I completely understand! Are you doing the Take Better Care of Your Hair Challenge? This may help you learn different ways to take better care of your hair. Please join us :)

  6. I have thought about whether or not my natural hair will “hinder” my professional advancement, simply because we all hear about company policies that essentially forbid natural hair styles, and natural hair in general is viewed negatively by many– as far as beauty standards go. Some might say that they would never change their hair for a job, but being able to support yourself and your family is more important than your job accepting your hair– in my opinion at least. However, now that natural is becoming more accepted, I think more women will feel more confident in rocking their natural hair in professional environments.

    • Thanks Onyx Rose! I think you make a good point in regards to choosing your hair over supporting your family….that wouldn’t even be up for discussion for me. You are also correct when starting that the natural hair movement is interfacing with the professional world more & more. Could the perception of the natural hair gals come from the way we style our hair in the office?

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

  7. Pingback: AFROmations » Blog Archive » Let’s Talk About It…·

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