For the last few months, I’ve been bombarded with tons of articles, research, and personal encounters with the social issues of black women. I took all that information, and decided to use it to write a personal letter to black women. I’m hoping to encourage us as whole, and possibly change the way we perceive some of our issues.
I want to begin with why I named this article Love Thy Self. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the simplest, yet most misunderstood commandment of them all. To love yourself as you love your neighbor is a simile. To do something like or as you do something means that those things should be the same, equal, or at least similar. To love thy neighbor as you love thy self means that the love you have for someone else and for yourself should be the same. Not less, not more- the same.
Commandment Two: Love Thy Hair
Next to skin, hair is the touchiest issue in black beauty standards. Black hair and skin is so scrutinized in this country, but particular by the black community itself!
Personally, I have some issues with my hair, too. It’s hard to tame! I always manage to get it looking really nice, but it’s hard. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. I relax my hair, but only twice a year. I only wash it maybe 3-5 times a year. I know that sounds gross, but I try to keep my hair from being over processed. I use the hot comb regularly, so I have to keep a lot of chemicals out of it as much as I can. And you know, ever since I’ve been taking care of my hair this way, my hair has been growing significantly.
When we see white women with their long, flowing, easily manageable hair, it’s hard to look at your puffy, coarse or short hair and embrace it. But when we don’t embrace our hair, we are denying a big part of our race. We are black women. This is the kind of hair black women have. It’s the same with skin. Black people have dark skin. If you don’t like your hair or skin, you may have a problem with being black.
Our hair and skin is a big part of why we are black in the first place! Had we had hair and skin like white people, then we would in fact be white! Why are we so hateful of the two things that define our race?
We define “good hair” as hair that likens European hair. Caucasian hair is good hair, Indian hair is good hair, Hispanic hair is good hair, African hair…well…
I think good hair is any hair that the person themself is happy with. I have the most unruly hair, but I still like it. As a matter of fact, I love it. I admire those who have really curly, really big, puffy hair. I think it’s pretty. I think it looks exotic. My hair is kind of fluffy and puffy right now, and my mother says my hair looks cute like that.
It’s very hard to live in a country where certain looks define beauty, but it’s even harder to be in a culture that sets the same beauty standards for women who have to bend over backwards to meet them. Black people shouldn’t set “white woman hair” as a beauty standard when every woman in the black community has black woman hair! It’s ridiculous!
What’s worse is our attempts to get that kind of hair. Why do we go through hours of hard work, and piles of money in order to get hair that white women are born with? Why not embrace the hair we are born with?
Like I said earlier, I straighten my hair at times, too. But that’s only to get the comb through it. I don’t relax my hair every six weeks as suggested by others, I don’t get touch ups, I no longer wear weaves, and I don’t spend tons of money on hair products. One bottle of shampoo lasts me almost two years, and I only use 100% natural oils and petroleum on my hair. I have a cream and a serum that I use time to time, but that’s it. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.
(I review those products I use in Avon Product Review: Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner, Avon Product Review: No Iron Smoothing Fluid (For Hair), and Avon Product Review: Smoothing Cream For Medium To Coarse Hair)I’m not saying that we need to stop taking care of ourselves . We are just like all other women. We like to get our hair done and look hot, too. All I’m saying is that we need to stop going to extra lengths to look like something we’re not-white.
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