Beauty - Hair Care - Fashion : Black Women's Hair: 'Dos or Die?

Discussion in 'Beauty - Black Hair Care - Fashion' started by ralphsgal2004, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. ralphsgal2004

    ralphsgal2004 New Member MEMBER

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    Hair and being fit may seem unrelated to those outside the black community but sisters know only too well how to avoid “messin’ up our do's.” Despite the fact that seven of ten African American women are considered overweight or obese, African American women lead in weight-related diseases like hypertension, stroke and cancer, and African American women die sooner than white women, some women simply will not exercise on a regular basis because they desire, "manageable," straight hair.

    Touch-ups, nappy roots, and “kitchens” are facts of life of black hair. The texture of our hair that “goes back” or reverts to its nature state with sweat or moisture means making regular visits to the hairdresser. And these appointments are as important as putting gas in our cars. Because of the designs we like and our other unique hair care needs, keeping it straight can be a lot more complicated not to mention a lot more expensive than simply applying over the counter hair goods.

    One coed lamented, “I can’t afford to sweat out a press every week, and I don’t have the time to get it done on the regular.” At forty dollars a pop, a weekly press and curl to straighten hair can be expensive. For middle-class working black women who like wearing their hair straightened, it is a question of time more than money, how to sandwich lengthy, frequent hair appointments in between jobs and family obligations. Or, depending on where we live, sometimes it’s difficult to find a quality hairdresser we can trust with our tresses. For these and other reasons, many women forgo regular exercise to keep their hair looking good.

    One sister took extreme measures. “I had to cut mine all off,” says Loni, an African American college administrator who sports a close-cropped ‘fro and is committed to being physically fit by jogging and playing golf. Loni resides in a predominately white neighborhood and says not only are black hair care products not available within close range of her home, but the nearest black hairdresser is also a distance from where she lives. To save time and aggravation, Loni has given up wearing her hair straight through presses and perms and keeps her hair naturally short.

    African American women are taught from early in life that hair is not only her "crowing glory," but also her validation in a world obsessed with the outer self. Around the time we outgrow hopscotch and Double Dutch we also want to get rid of girlish plaits and barrettes and desire more grownup (straight) hairstyles. Since back when we discovered chitlins, the length and texture of black hair has been a source of classism, political identity, and mainstream acceptance. As slaves, black women covered their hair with "do rags" or cut it off or wore plaits while working the fields. However, when a white slave-owner fathered a child by a black woman, that newborn’s hair often was more straight than nappy. Thus, Caucasian type hair gradually came to be considered "good" hair (like white) while tresses that were naturally tightly curled or "nappy" were labeled "bad.”

    Unfortunately this kind of thinking still exists in the black community, influenced not only intraracial prejudices but also by the Eurocentric mass media that equates beauty with looking white. As a result, many black women press, perm, or weave their hair straight in order to be considered attractive and conventional.

    Black women who work out regularly tend to opt for natural styles, braids, wigs, twists, and dreadlocks--which are perfectly fine if you own your own business or work in education or the arts or other professions that require less conformity.

    However, in corporate America, those who fit into the company culture are considered valuable employees. Black women working in a conservative environment are less inclined to want to risk rocking the boat by wearing their hair naturally, which might be considered too “Afro centric” for a company’s image. Blending in without drawing attention to your hair--no matter how qualified you are--could mean a promotion or a raise in pay. Even today, cornrows and French braids raise eyebrows in some quarters and are called unprofessional.

    With seven in ten black women considered overweight or obese, this crisis begs the question: does a black woman have to choose between being in shape and looking beautiful? Faced with the current obesity predicament, isn’t it time we viewed things through a different lens, adopting a new vision of beauty for African Americans and all women that relies less on superficiality and more on physical and emotional well-being? Being healthy--whether thin or full-figured, nappy or straight--means loving and accepting who you are, while reaching for improvement and happily resisting an arbitrary standard of beauty imposed on us by others.

    Robyn McGee www.robynwrites.com
     
  2. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    welcome to the forums.

    your ? is not logical. a woman cannot be beautiful if she is not in shape. it is a false choice.
    the hair that grows out of your head will not be harmed by sweat. in fact, it will make it better.
    there is no beauty in processed hair. the sooner the sisters clear their minds of that brainwashing, the better.
     
  3. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Sister RalphsGal ... Hello and Welcome ... :wave:

    Thank you for joining, sharing, and becoming a Premium Member! Thank You! :bowdown:

    I don't know how much obesity has to do with our hair, other than perhaps self-esteem in general. I suppose some connection to anything could be developed, if one is bound and determined to do so. I personally think these are two very distinct concerns that are deserving of their own individual discussions. Combining the two makes it more difficult to focus on either properly.


    In regard to the above, i think we really must get away from encouraging this "conformity" when it costs us our God-given right to be who we were made to be. It is perfectly fine for a Sister to wear her hair the way God made it, under any and every situation known to man-kind. Period. It is a mistake to suggest that we are not "valuable" unless we conform.

    We, Sisters, must help each other become conscious of our own true beauty, to quit hating the way God made us, because the world does not embrace it. Once we do that, we will look at all of our own selves differently. Our large hips, thick thighs, big booty, and hair that grows toward the heavens ... all of our being ... will be beautiful in our eyes.

    Then and only then, will we be on the road to a true and healthy recovery.

    Again, thanks for sharing with us!

    Much Love and Peace.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  4. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    ever worked in NYC? there, conservative jews dress in all kinds of funny styles and get along just fine.
    in many cases they have their own enterprises and close on their own holidays. the rest have to conform to then.
    no need to kiss corporate butte.
     
  5. ralphsgal2004

    ralphsgal2004 New Member MEMBER

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    Hi all thanks for the warm welcome.

    I agree that acceptance is the path to healthier living. But in order to let go of something we deem valuable, ie straight hair, conformity, we have to have something with which to replace it. What is that "something?"

    I live in California, and although we have a reputation for being "progressive" there is a virulent conservatisim that runs from Eureka to San Diego.

    Particularly with corporations. Of course, you can have your own business and dress however you want. However, what I have seen is in corporations, black women who look like Condi get further than those who look like, India.

    I strongly believe that hair and fitness are closely related. If you are unwilling to exercise every day, it is hard to control weight. Too many of us are overweight and I definitley think "hair vanity" has much to do with it.

    Been there, done that, now sport twists.
     
  6. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Oh gosh, RalphsGal, i just realized i had you mixed up with another Member becoming a Premium Member ... my apologies.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  7. ralphsgal2004

    ralphsgal2004 New Member MEMBER

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    I wouldn't mind being a premium member. How does that work?
     
  8. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Sister, are you kidding? What do we replace it with? You ask that question as though you don't have a clue.

    The question is not what do we "replace" it with, but rather, that we remove all "replacements" and go with the original. How can any "replacement" be better than what God originally gave us?


    Like i said, a connection can be made between any two things, if one is determined to do that.

    Long before California became "progressive," Black women were required to be other than themselves in order to obtain the most "bottom of the barrel" jobs in this country. I don't remember where i read it, but during jim crow, Sisters that got domestic jobs, cleaning white folks kitchens and dirty underwear, had to have done "something" to their hair to appear more presentable to white folk. This is nothing new.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  9. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thanks for asking Sister. Members who choose to become Premium Members, help to keep this community alive for all of us. It is not required by any. Premium Membership is $10.00 per month or $100 per year. Below are a few additional links you may find helpful.

    Benefits of Premium Membership

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    If you have additional questions, we're all right here to help.

    Much Love and Peace.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  10. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    letmeseenow. my generation went up against the rednecks and police dogs and ******* sheriffs in order to secure civil rights.
    sisters nowadays cannot go up against "virulent conservatism"?
    what wimps.
     
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