Are We Slaves to Our Hair? (Opinion Piece)
By: Delores Hurst, The HBN Writer for Online
A friend of mine made a statement about her hair and the constant bickering and fussing we have to do with it as black women. She called it being a slave to this hair that is so different and difficult to handle than other races. Our hair is so strong and thick that it can be quite strenuous to handle. I believe she meant it as a description of how we constantly comb through it, place protective styles in it, and put unnatural chemicals to submit to society’s standard of beauty. From a young age, we experience the pain of braids and the burning of a perm. We have become so defined by our hair because it is a huge part of our culture and what sets us apart.
In that sense, we are slaves to our hair. When you think about it, we are constantly finding new ways to make it easier to treat so it will not fall out. In my opinion, it would not feel as if we were slaves to our hair if we were taught how to take care of it young. It would become just another routine. It feels like we are slaves to these manes because we have gone from a perm to weaves to natural. Those changes can be strenuous. Those styles changed the texture of our hair that was once strong and beautiful as children. It is understandable that the perm was the new technique to making it easier for mothers to deal with our heads, but honestly, without the perm being introduced, we would not have become slaves - we would have become protectors of our crown and glory. So, now it’s back to the basics!