What do men who aren’t hair stylists really know about hair? The answer is nothing. They do have personal taste, preference and right of choice, like all human beings, but that doesn’t give them a green light to bully ladies in weaves. A real woman will have on: a short do; natural hair; braids; locks; weave; even a horse—practically whatever she sees fit and feels comfortable in. And that’s got nothing to do with you, especially if you’re not buying it.
African hair is many things. It’s like a baby. No matter the style, it always requires thorough treatment and care. It can be best described by the Swahili proverb “akili ni nywele, kila mtu ana zake”—intelligence is like hair, everyone has their own type. Indeed, few Africans are blessed with soft and easy-to-comb hair. Most are literally hard as steel wire. This leads to countless means of treating hair, ideally to make it easier to maintain, despite the irony that going short or bald would actually be the easiest and fastest route to maintenance.
But thanks to changing trends, ladies will lock, braid or weave their hair instead of going short. Some simply go natural. Different moods or seasons will influence different hairstyles.
Ladies, You Are Your Hair
Here is why – hair is personal. Like we all have a favourite side of the bed, we have a preferred side of our hair to pat while combing. And if we pat the opposite side, only we can realize that we look different. “I am not my hair,” sang India Arie. We all sang along and still do. But ladies, if we really were not our hair, we wouldn’t care so much about what people say about it. We wouldn’t care to spend loads of time and money on fixing hair. If we were not defined by our hair, then we would all have gone bald or kept shaving like men do. If it didn’t matter, we wouldn’t care to go short after failed breakups as a symbol of a fresh start. Hair is sacred. It’s connected with our being and feelings. Because it’s very much part of every bit and strand that makes us complete, we care about it, regardless of whether it’s natural or not; short or long; kinky or straight.
A good hair massage for ladies is the equivalent of what good head is to guys. It reaches your toes. When you find that your best massager is not at the salon on the day you visit, you’d rather not do your hair. If you find a man who can give a good massage, hair or otherwise, trust me you’ll never lose him. A woman should treat whatever is on her head as her hair because:
1. It’s yours, you bought it. And if he bought it for you, well it’s yours now.
2. Anything on your head that’s not a hat or a bucket or pot is your hair. Even a squirrel.
With the above premise, it would be very wrong to treat your hair as if it’s not part of you and your personal cleanliness. Having an ugly coloured weave or hair dye is doing no justice to your visage and image. Having smelly hair, braids or weave, just messes your personal grooming.
Any woman must be neat and clean; from head to toe. Constant visits to the salon or bathroom for a good hair wash, manicure and pedicure are advised. Invest in a good weave/hair products that smell good. No no no to Sulpher 8. Every girl must have a hair salonist and/or stylist – who understands your hair’s personality. This will save us vexing the opposite sex and still be at our best at all times.
Women, you should know the difference between synthetic and human hair weaves. The latter are washable. So do not be found with a synthetic weave on for a month and a half without a change or wash. You are smelly and a disturbance to the peace and your scalp must really itch. Wearing a weave to avoid cleaning your head, doesn’t make you a real woman but faker than how men view weaves to be.
Ladies, we can be more than our hair. Like nails, hair is just an extension of who we are. And anytime can be cut or trimmed or altered. Hair is also a means of expression and defines personal style just like clothes and shoes. That’s why Lupita’s natural short do has struck Hollywood as a stamp of simplicity and confidence; a state a lot girls struggle to attain. But just because a black girl wants straight long hair or a weave, doesn’t mean she wants to be like a white girl. Just because a girl like Lupita rocks a short do doesn’t mean, she represents the jungle. There’s a thin line between your expression being misunderstood or understood.
Guys Quit Hating
Every girl deserves the freedom to choose whatever she deems fit. If the woman’s hair is dirty and smelly, she probably has more dirt where that came from. True love is honest. Simply tell her, “That thing stinks.” Otherwise do not hate on all women rocking weaves, just because you encountered one or two foul weaves. It’s offensive to women who invest in good weaves (which cost a fortune to buy and get done) and cleanliness.
As far as the discussion goes, if it’s on her head, it’s not a weave or whatever you want to call it but her hair. As long as she likes it, you don’t have to like it too but respect her choice. You can give constructive criticism like, “I prefer kinky to the long straight one because of the feel but I think your natural hair rocks.” She will pout her lips and act indignant but she listened and took notes. After all, you know what they say about change.
BONUS: You might like this:
Throwback post – The Weave Menace
I have 2 black female friends that stood up with me on my wedding day. Pam had been my friend for 16 years and Tia 10 years. I lost Pam 11 years ago. We all had very frank talks about identity. Hair was a common topic. Both ladies went through every kind hair do imaginable. I preferred the natural look for Pam – quasi-Afro and super short for Tia (she has a lovely head). Both were very concerned about how men (African-American) would judge them. White men were attracted to them regardless of their hair, weight or anything. I see them as annoyingly perfect.
Hey lovely sister from another continent 🙂 So sorry to hear about Pam and I am happy to hear that even there, and then, these same conversations were going on. I didn’t know that even African American men have such preferences in America, I thought only African men fuss. Interesting. I would just love for all ladies to believe in themselves and invest in people who believe and trust i their own identity.
Have really enjoyed reading this. Yes, girls need the freedom to choose their “hair”. Men should truly respect a girl’s choice. Personally, I have brown-golden hair and my natives complain it is not as dark as the African hair is expected to. Some years back I got really pressured that I dye it black by friends. This drove me to wearing weaves to cover it but some still complained. With time, I resolved to be myself and I no longer get a headache wondering how people are viewing my hair style. I realized that by the end of the day, it’s all about the inner satisfaction that I have that really matters. Thanks a lot for this piece.
ROSES: First of all, you are my name sake 🙂 And then you have really inspired me with your comment. It’s what every girl should say and feel about themselves. i wrote this post because I saw someone had written that, Lupita is rocking short hair and there you are rocking a Brazilian weave.
This is a very one-sided way of looking at human beings and women in particular. Just because one woman wears a weave and another doesn’t, doesn’t make any of them lesser of a woman. I hate to see people being discriminated or judged and in this case, for hair preference.
It is clear in the post that while we are very much our hair, we also can be more than it and have individual identities beneath that.
We can either:
2. Going ahead and do whatever we wish to do with it and not care jack whatever anyone says.
I never really had much problems with my hair, for the better part of primary school and secondary school, I had a short and neat do. Now that I am growing my hair, I still find that I am inclined to short cuts and bobs. I am still on a slow growth to finding myself and my identity. And would like to empower women more regarding accepting themselves as who they feel comfortable in.
I was truly motivated by your post. It clearly and interestingly brought to light a matter that has been hurting many women silently. You did a good job there…
The society is at times ignorant about women’s feelings when it comes to how it views their physical status. It reaches a time when we (the women) have to stand for what we really believe in – getting our true identities.
As you said pal, this is never easy but we have to learn to stand for our true colours if we are to have genuine satisfaction in our lives.
I admire your goal – empowering women. Go ahead girl. Many of us are living in shells afraid of what the society will view us. we need the empowerment, especially from a fellow woman.
Thank you ROSES. This is exactly why I write, to spark these kind of conversations or feelings. Cheers!
new year… new theme… new look… it seems you need to get yourself on the BAKE nomination list Bloggers assosiation of kenya…
I already did send over a submission. Hope they consider this blog 🙂 Thanks.