For decades, African American women have been run through the ringer because of how they style their hair. It doesn’t’ matter whether it has been worn in weaves, wigs or braids, somewhere Black women can be found at the butt of a joke.
The interesting revelation is that the main perpetrator of this abuse is a Black male. It seems education about Black women’s hair is long overdue.
Sisters, sometimes we give men a bit more permission than we should to say what is best for our hair and beauty standards. I am convinced that education, attitude and behavior can begin to redirect the negative narrative that is often linked to Black beauty and Black hair.
The online article “My Black Matters: Confessions of a Former Self- Hating Black man who used to Bash Women on Social Media” says, “It seems black men who take pride in being black would never disrespect a black woman because he knows that she is a part of him and knows that by disrespecting her he is disrespecting himself as well. This combined with media influences that promote Eurocentric beauty standards often cause us black men to be influenced and indoctrinated with the message that white beauty is true beauty.”
Some males who are hesitant to approach women with natural hair could be intimidated by the confidence she is displaying by wearing her natural hair. I want to believe that, but often the reason why women go natural varies greatly, some of which is not by choice. Plus, all women with natural hair may not be confident (yet).
Going natural is an adjustment, and some women may have gotten resistance from their men. However, there are many more men, Black and non-Black, who are supportive. It is exciting to see the restored sense of women embracing their kinks, coils, and curls in spite of a potential side-eye from men.
Surprisingly, research showed positive feedback from various men from YouTube, personal interviews, and online articles sharing their views on women sporting their natural. (The pool included college students, white collar, blue collar, no collar and multi-generations.)
Actual comments — pool of over 100 men from all regions of the US:
“Natural hair is exponentially sexier than most hair styles.”
“I say go natural. I’m a white male that grew up in the 70’s. I miss those styles.”
“As long as your hair is healthy and looks good, I don’t care if it’s natural or not.”
“All I date are women with natural hair. I prefer women with locs. Just me. but I like to know what I’m getting lol”
“My ex got some locks and frankly, she looks very respectable. She now doesn’t take nearly as much to get ready. Go for it.”
“Yeah, I love a gal with really nice braids. Esp., part braided and the rest left free, curls are so much more interesting and attractive.”
“I would rather see a woman do everything she can to make herself look great.”
“I’m partial to unnatural hair….”
“Any woman with confidence can look good with any style of hair.”
“Either style is fine; just take care of your hair.”
“I don’t prefer natural hair, but I won’t turn a woman down.”
“Women spend way too much time on their hair, if a man like you…..he like you.”
Ultimately, a common theme, including comments that did not make the list, was “confidence” being the number-one characteristic that women with or without natural hair should convey. A Black woman wanting to go natural has to do it for herself, not for anyone else.
Unfortunately, it takes a man with depth of spirit and an appreciation for embracing natural beauty to fully recognize the beauty of the natural Black hair. James Johnson said it best: “Embrace the God-given hair you were born with, because it’s beautiful.”
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.