I wonder if hair texture; good hair, course hair, long or short hair is an issue for all races of people.
As an African American with 4C hair, I am aware of the differences and or difficulties in our hair textures as we rate and compare hair texture as better or worse than another.
My Personal Experience with 4C Hair
Let’s start by saying that I am writing this based on my personal experiences and how this topic has impacted my life.
Growing up in an environment where the nicer the grade of hair you have, the more attractive and more attention you received.
Various Hair Types
Let me explain what I mean by hair grades. African American hair types and textures are graded from straight and fine to course and kinky. These hair types range from 2A to 4C with 4C being the extremely course and kinky grade, which can be described as difficult; especially if you have thinning.
I am not sure if there is anything past 4C but if there is, I am certain I receive that grade for my hair type. With extreme 4c hair in a family where it seemed to matter can greatly impact a person’s confidence and validity.
Being told that one person looks better than another based on a trait you have no control over can also lead to jealousy and competing for parental and sibling love and attention.
If you really think about it, how is it different from not liking a person based on the color of their skin? The only difference is that the strife is rooted from within the place where you are supposed to feel love and cared for regardless of what you look like.
The Fight for Healthy Hair
I have wrestled with the thought that maybe my sibling was loved more because they were prettier or had a better more manageable grade of hair that I had. Typing that sentence seems silly because you would have to wonder why it really matters and could this possibly be an issue that someone would face in their home. Unfortunately, it is an issue in some households, and it was an issue in mine.
As women, we constantly see ads, movies and commercials that associate nice hair with beauty. Long hair flowing in the wind or thick strong healthy ethnic locks will always be the selling point for products and services relative to hair care products.
You will never see a shampoo commercial with a woman whose hairline is receding, or she is battling alopecia. It simply does not sell. The other issue as women, just to name one of many, we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other and basing those comparisons on unrealistic standards or traits that we were born with.
My thin, short, extreme 4C hair has always made me feel unattractive. I am constantly searching for that one product that will give me that long, thick flowing hair I desire. Like many others, I have wasted thousands of dollars on guaranteed hair growth products that only deliver a lot of fluff and disappointment.
What if there is no miracle product and the surgical restoration treatments are financially out of reach? What happens when you discover that you are genetically prone to thin short hair and there is no product that can change that. What do I do?
How do I contend with the beauties of the world when time, age and genetics are all pushing me towards the need for wigs to cover up what has been lost to me and seemingly should be hid from view.
Most of the time, we look into the mirror, and we can’t love the person we see because society and other factors have ranked us or cause us to rank ourselves lower than others based on features that we have no control over.
As a 50-year-old single woman of color, my worries are surrounded by whether a life partner would be attracted to me just as I am or will I need to constantly seek beauty tools and aids that make me more attractive. Am I doomed to be without a mate because my hair does not meet societies standards?
We all need to ask ourselves this question
Are we really that shallow towards each other and ourselves. Can we see the kindness and spunk or the tenacity and love for life in others and look pass superficial traits that should have no bearing on what makes a person attractive or not?
With the way of our world today, the stress of trying to be more, look better and be something that we are not takes away from the quality of life that we could have without those added stressors. Regardless of the type of stress, we must remember that stress is now one of the leading causes of death and suicide.
Maybe someday a generation will come forth and truly celebrate all the characteristics, personalities, features, and attitudes that make each of us different and unique.
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