Hair in the news

There was some buzz yesterday surrounding this article about natural hair from USA today:

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/your-look/story/2011-12-21/Natural-hair-is-making-waves-among-black-women/52147456/1

This is hardly the only article on the subject from a mainstream source. There have been others like it one over the last couple of years. On the one hand, it’s kind of tiresome, because since I’ve been natural for the last two years, it’s no longer such big news to me. Also, sometimes I find the tone of articles like this kind of suspect. When marginalized people do get a spotlight in mainstream media, all too often, they aren’t treated as unique human beings but as freaks and curiosities.

On the other hand, articles like this can give those on the fence about going natural a little boost when they see that it’s acceptable and professional. I knew that natural hair was on the increase among black women because I’m seeing more and more of it on the street in the city I live in, but I was a little surprised when I saw the statistic that stated that the percentage of black women with natural hair had jumped from 26% to 36% in a year. It may not seem like a lot, but in a people who have been heavily conditioned to be ashamed of their hair, it’s huge. The article also mentions that sales of relaxer kits have fallen 17% in the last five years as well. From my standpoint, it’s great news, but it’s not exactly cause for me to do a jig yet. I’m sure part of the increase in natural hair may simply be due to the recession. For those that go to salons, the relaxer upkeep can be cost prohibitive. Depending on the locale, it can cost anywhere from $50-$125 just to get perm touchups every 6-8 weeks. Trims, color and deep conditioning usually cost extra. If you’re unemployed, have taken a pay cut or haven’t had a raise in a couple of years, spending that kind of money on your hair every few weeks seems frivolous when it could go toward food or some other necessity. There’s no doubt that some who are natural now due to economic necessity may go back to relaxers once their particular economic situation improves. I also touched on the subject on whether natural hair is a fad a couple of months ago here . Despite the increase in natural hair, women may still face opposition in certain circles because a lot of people still cling to the narrow, racist beauty standard of long, straight hair very strongly. While the news is certainly encouraging, as long as the European beauty standard is still adhered to, I’m not sure that natural hair will ever be a majority. I can still dream though, right?

 

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