In my Opinion….(response to Why I Revolt Against the Natural Movement)

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Over the weekend I read an interesting post on NaturallyCurly.com. It raises a great conversation about the term “natural” in relation to hair.

Why I Revolt Against the Natural Movement by ShannonTBoodram

In the article ShannonTBoodram begins by describing a moment in her life when the “kinky/curly movement had begun to take shape”-and a moment when “bad perms had went out of style”. She describes this moment as a “revolution”. The “…affirmations in her beauty were monuments”. The “revolution shined bright during a time when many of us needed to know.”

She raises some great points of discussion such as the historical context of the word “natural” (applied to mental concepts) and how she sees that word as a way to control and not empower. She feels that there is a sense of entitlement directly derived from the word…”natural” which few of us can live up to.

I’ve added the link to her article in the title above. Please check it out-its a great read!

I personally do not agree that this has been a revolution or movement.

From my perspective, our hair is nothing new. The styles most common to our natural hair are nothing new. Afros, twists, braids, cornrows, fades, twa’s etc-nothing new. What I believe has happened over the last few years is a shift in popularity in hair style choices and our broadened knowledge on what we were actually doing to our hair & health. In a time where knowledge is easily transmitted, passed-on and shared-more women were/are able to appreciate this natural style of hair and more importantly (to me) appreciate what we were physically, chemically, medically, financially and to an extent emotionally doing to ourselves by chemically processing our hair. Being informed of an alternative presents/ed an opportunity for some women to just not process their hair anymore.

Many women still process their hair chemically, but now I feel that is more of a direct and informed choice they have made-which to me is a great thing. Chemically processing hair is no longer the most popular option, which is sometimes still believed to be a black woman’s only option.

The author proceeds, “But after a revolution must come normalization”.

For argument sake, if this were a revolution-who says that we are past this overthrow of a societal norm? I argue that natural hair is still at a phase of being a great option, a trend, an idea, a concept and a challenge, not the norm.

She continues, “…because through gaining outward acceptance,” which I, Mey, do not believe we have gained “acceptance from within should follow suit”.

In my opinion this should not be the order in which acceptance from within is gained. Another person’s opinion should be the icing on your already beautiful cake, not part of the ingredients! Why do beauty queens become anorexic and why do swimsuit models want liposuction? If you will start to love yourself once others love you-you will have a rocky relationship with the most important person in your life. If  a woman, in her “own, evolving time” finds her beauty by seeing her natural hair flourishing through her scalp for maybe the first time in her life why find issue with that?

I see the word natural-in relation to hair- as hair who’s texture has not been chemically/permanently altered-the hairs texture is remaining in its natural state. Yes I have natural hair, yes I have natural body parts, no I do not only eat natural foods, and no my hair colour is not natural.  I would never describe myself as natural-unless I know the context of the conversation. A word can only be as powerful to YOU as the meaning YOU give it.

It is interesting that -allowing a part of yourself to remain unaltered-is considered revolutionary.

My measly hair choices can never control another and shouldn’t empower another (in my opinion motivation is much different than empowerment). If my hair choices can control or empower another-the reason for this lies in the listener/observer who perceives the natural state of my hair as being something that could ever deeply affect them. The word “natural” cannot empower any more than the word “tall” can. It is an adjective! No one, straight, kinky, curly, coily, nappy, wavy, long, short, thick, thin, permed, natural and/ or bald should shame anyone for their personal choices that do not negatively affect another-especially over some dang hair!.

I do believe the revolution will not be televised….cliché I know….but it won’t because I believe the true rEvolution starts from within.

james morrison

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