It seems that every other day another blog is discussing (or manufacturing) drama between natural and relaxed women. There are anecdotal stories of crazy, judgmental naturals who talk about hair non-stop and terrorize any relaxed women they come across. But is it that really the way it is? Here are 7 things we want relaxed women to know;
1. We don’t just associate with other naturalsCutting people out of our lives because of how they wear their hair is ridiculous. We have mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, co-workers, and friends who are relaxed, and it doesn’t make us respect them any less. Natural women do tend to find and connect with each other, but making new connections doesn’t mean we abandon old ones.
2. It’s rude to criticize our hairSomething about natural hair draws the crazy out of people. They want to touch it without asking and opine about how bad (and in some cases, good) it looks. But it’s uncalled for. As with anything related to the appearance of someone you don’t personally know, it’s rude to give unsolicited criticism.
3. We don’t believe that only natural women can be progressive and forward-thinkingTo discount trailblazing women like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Coretta Scott-King or Serena Williams because they choose to wear their hair straightened is absolutely ridiculous. It does take strength to be a natural girl in a straight-hair world, but there are countless ways to exhibit strength and character.
4. We don’t believe that all straight hair is unattractiveA beautiful head of hair is a beautiful head of hair, whether it’s kinky, curly, coily or straight. But while we can appreciate a mean round brush blowout, we also refuse to drink the Koolaid and believe that hair is beautiful *just because* it’s straight. We’ve seen too many dry, broken-off relaxers to believe that.
5. We talk about hair a lot because there’s a lot we need to learnIt’s not vanity or frivolity that has us talking about hair so frequently, it’s necessity. We live in a culture where natural hair resources, stylists and salons are far outnumbered by relaxed, weave and wig resources. Many of us are encountering our kinky, curly, wavy and coily textures for the very first time and need guidance on how to manage.
6. Hair shouldn’t be another topic that divides black womenHair is an emotional topic. Many naturals are frustrated that we live in a world where black women are incentivized to believe that straightening is their only and best option. And while this is a serious issue, it’s not worth feuding over. With so many other divisions between black women — based on skin color, hair texture and class — do we really want to add another one?
7. It’s not about youMy decision to go natural isn’t a statement about your decision to be relaxed. It’s not about you and it has nothing to do with you. It’s a choice I made for me. If the sight of me rocking my natural hair bothers you it’s your issue, not mine.
What would you like to say to relaxed women?