Friday, January 10, 2014

HairTroversy: Can the Hair Division just End?

By Tenisha Mercer

I read a column in Bazaar, written by Chrissy Rutherford, that explained why she chooses to wear her hair relaxed.

Wait ... what? Did we just a turn a corner, when women with relaxed hair feel they have to justify why they wear their hair straight?

Chrissy Rutherford wrote a blog in Bazaar about why she wears her hair relaxed

This is an excerpt from her column:

"What I don't understand is why the two sides have to be pitted against one another. Some believe that relaxing your hair means you are not "owning" who you really are, and are trying to conform to society's standards.

But what if I simply like my hair straight? In my eyes, it's just a matter of personal preference. Having a relaxer keeps my hair more manageable and seriously cuts down my time in front of the mirror. It affords me a low-maintenance routine where I only have to wash my hair about every two weeks. Despite other womens' judgements, I won't let society tell me how to wear my hair. Plus, I've always taken cues from my mother, who always had long, beautiful hair, despite relaxing it since she was a teenager.

Now, I won't say the thought of going natural has never crossed my mind—it certainly has—especially when I see a girl with a gorgeous head of ringlets. But as of right now I'm just not ready to make that kind of commitment, and I won't let my hair define who I am."

Do you  have to justify having a relaxer?

I have never, let me repeat, NEVER, seen a blog about why a woman with textured hair decides to wear a relaxer. Not until now. Maybe, just maybe, this is proof positive that natural hair isn't a "trend," it's a total shift in how Black women wear their hair.

Now, despite all the natural hair blogs and the exploading amounts of naturals you see every day, a relaxer is still the default hair style of choice for many, if not most, Black women. No hard numbers, though relaxers sales have dipped double digits since 2007.

I get why there are natural hair blogs, because natural hair is against the norm. But does this colun mean that natural hair is now the majority? You'd think so based upon Rutherford's blog, especially when there's a column justifying reasons why she relaxes her hair. I know what works for MY hair. But I don't have the time, patience or werewithall to tell others how they should wear theirs.

Really, all the division must stop. Just as I abhor naturals who try to shove their brand of natural hair down everyone's throats (a natural hierachy in which coloring, straightening or doing anything outside of the 'natural  hair' norm is frowned upon), I feel the same about those who threaten to cut a woman off at the knees if she wears natural hair.

Relaxed vs. natural?

Rutherford gives some great reasons -- she doesn't want society to tell her how to wear her hair and doesn't want to let her hair defines who she is. Her arguments to wear relaxed hair sound just like the reasons some naturals have about why they choose to wear their hair natural.

You'll find many reasons why some women wear relaxed hair -- that it makes their hair easier to style, maintain, preference for straight her, etc. And you'll find just as many reasons why women don't wear relaxed hair.

She's right, though: There is no reason to pit relaxed hair against natural hair. We all lose when we play that game. And no one should be shamed, bullied or accused of wanting to be something they aren't (white) if they wear their hair straight or relaxed.

Hair is just that -- a choice, as long as you've got some on your head. I may not have ever worn a full head of weave, but if you do, do you! I may not want to wear my hair relaxed, but it's your hair. Really, as long as I don't pay for it and maintain it, there is NO reason to explain why you wear relaxed hair.

What do you think?

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