Natural Hair

My hair has no identity. We could say I have meh hair, as opposed to the Little Red-Haired-Girl. Me and my hair have never been in a particularly close relationship. Basically it’s something that grows out of my scalp, I wash it and that’s it. Well, I have experimented a bit with colour, just for fun (and the Little Red-Haired-Girl), but I don’t really care about styling, as you may be painfully aware if you happen to know me in person.

It had never occoured to me that there could be a thing like “accepting your hair” in Italy. If I got to choose, maybe I would want curly (red obviously) hair, because they seem to have their own clear opinion on what they want to do with themselves, I would just let them and this would further simplify styling.

I am Italian and sometimes I do hear curly Italian women talking about “accepting your natural curly hair” but what’s there to accept? Maybe it’s something connected to the fact that my mother is curly (big envy) and I have have seen her curls maybe twice in forty years because she uses a straightener every day? Does it have something do to with straight hair having being fashionable here in the past 20+ years? Is begin curly so burdening for an Italian woman, socially speaking, that you have to come to “accept it”? Is it really such a big deal? An “issue” even? Where were you in the Eighties when we were all having perms done to get Joey Tempest hair anyway?

It’s called a trend and that’s it, if you really are suffering because of a trend surely you are entitled to your sadness and you certainly don’t deserve it to be belittled by me, but maybe realizing that it’s just a trend for god’s sake will help you put things in perspective and cheer up a bit.

So all this protests recently about white women appropriating the concept of natural hair totally reasons with me. Black women, not white women, have been socially pressured into relaxing their hair, it all started with slavery and it’s undeniable. Politically speaking, the expression natural hair today only applies to black women because it’s them that are actually victims of a social bias and forced to resort to harsh chemicals from a very young age, while for white women it is merely a styling choice, however psychologically “difficult” it might be or whatever. Girls with natural hair are bullied at school, natural hair is not considered acceptable in many working environments, and it is not authorized in the Army.

Of course preventing white women to take part to the natural hair movement sounds unpleasantly not-inclusive, but why would I want, as a white woman, certainly not WASP but still white, to be included among the victims when I am actually one of the privileged?

And anyway, I also wear sandals.