What baffled me the most was when I wore a relaxer and people would comment on how “long” my hair was when it just fell down to my shoulders…I know what long hair looks like. Long hair to me is mid-back length and below. So why is it that when a black woman has hair down to her shoulders, it’s considered long?
I tell people all the time – as of right now, my hair is NOT long. I really want to break the stereotype that black women cannot grow hair past their collar bone. Hair has always been a hot topic among our community. I see being natural as an outlet to have our hair grow and flourish to it’s full potential. With proper care, the first thing girls notice when they go natural is how fast their natural hair catches up to their previous relaxed hair length. It really only takes 2 years to go from bald to shoulder length. Why is it that we speak about how long our hair used to be as a child but can’t seem to achieve the same lengths today?
Anyone can wake up and decide to cut their hair. Short hair is easy. Short hair is achievable by anyone who can grow hair. But what about long, healthy hair? It takes years, care, and patience to be able to achieve that. There is nothing wrong with short hair but it becomes a problem when people are shocked that a black woman’s hair comes past her collar bone. We.Are.The.Only.Race.With.This.Issue
One thing though that bothers me about hair is the division that happens among black women. In the process of looking at other girls’ hair, black women start to compare and down themselves: “My hair won’t do that. My hair ain’t like hers. My hair this. My hair that.” Or let’s not forget that dreaded comment: “She has good hair!” I have numerous accounts with black women who will give me a compliment then proceed to tell me how they can’t get their like mine or how their hair is too nappy to leave out. Honestly, these comments are sickening. I believe all black women should be proud of what they have BEFORE they proudly rock inches that are not theirs.
We as a whole need to do better to break this stereotype. I understand that however you wear your hair is a choice but it shouldn’t be at a point where short hair is the norm for us. It shouldn’t be at a point where long hair on black women is thought to be fake before it’s even believed to be real. It shouldn’t be at a point where women ask me where I’m buying my hair from or trying to dig their fingers in my scalp to feel for tracks. It should not be this much of an issue. Look at the shelves in the beauty supply stores. Why are there so many products that promise hair growth? Companies are preying on our stereotype to make money off us. I repeat:
Side Note: I am aware of the health issues and genetics that can play a role in hair growth and I am excusing those cases.