The hard core naturals want us all to rock our hair unaltered. The main stream wants us to have long straight hair. If you do one or the other something is wrong. We as brown women are inundated with images of fair complexions, long, straight (mostly blond) hair with hazel/blue/green eyes. We are told that is the beauty norm. This is why I get so excited to see brown women (in positive lights) in the media. It was everywhere when Lupita was on the cover of People’s Most Beautiful. And Shondra Rhimes has put brown women in starring roles on TV. Kerry on Scandal and Viola on How to Get Away with Murder and the new character on Grey’s Anatomy is a natural girl. Love it.
But let’s be clear, these are instances and still not the most popular norm of beauty. In the black community, the men are not chasing after the Lupitas as much as they are the Beyonces
or those of other races. I can love my natural hair but many black men have vocalized that they do not care for it as much as my straight hair or say they like my curl pattern but not more kinky patterns that other women in my community might possess.
We struggle for acceptance from the very men who say “I don’t like women with all these weaves or all that makeup” then turn around and say Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian are so hot. I do not in any way state that this is all of the black community but it is a significant enough topic. I threw this up on a board on facebook and got a lot of feedback from women who had encountered this before. Heck even my dad made comments when I cut my long hair super short in high school and upon seeing me lately puts his hands in my head to see if my hair is real or not. But-
How are we defining a black woman on the inside based on what she looks like on the outside? There are numerous reasons a woman will wear a wig, weave, contacts, lashes and many of them have little to do with confidence. We want to put our best face out there to the world, we want to experiment, we want to give our real hair a break from the heat damage, we want to cover hair loss (not just from mistreatment of hair but alopecia or cancer), we just want to be!
And if there are women out there who feel they are not as beautiful because they are not light skin, long haired, light eyed women we can’t be surprised based on what media and men of color (be they famous or not) at a larger rate seem to run to. Instead of placing a judgmental post, instead post about the type of women you do like without throwing shade. Black women cannot be all things to all people. We cannot change our color, no matter what the creams say (unless gray is a color you want), our hair may not dry straight. We may want to glam it up. We may want to be “wash and go”. Whatever we do to make ourselves smile, let it be just that. Instead of an indictment on our self esteem and values.