“I really wish the natural hair movement would stop being so damn irritating,” a friend of mind exclaimed, as we made our usual commute to the mall. “Like, we get it. Your hair is natural. You don’t have to force it onto the rest of us.” I didn’t say anything, partly because I personally have chosen to identify with the movement, and partly because I hadn’t the slightest idea about what she was talking about. But soon after, I realized that there are many misconceptions that surround the movement.
1. The purpose.
The purpose of the movement is to allow black persons to accept their hair as the beautiful and unique phenomenon that it is. For years, black persons have been expected to conform to the unrealistic standards of beauty. One of which includes straight hair. Natural hair is often frowned upon when it comes to schools and employers. Black girls are having their hair cut off. Many traditionally African-American hairstyles were banned in the military at one point in time. The movement was created to combat these harsh standards, and force the world to realize that there isn’t only one way for people to wear their hair.
2. You don’t have to join the movement.
Members of the movement don’t aim to convert everyone into wearing their hair natural (And if they do, they’re missing the point). They aim to help black people appreciate their hair for the natural state it was created in. It aims to help black people embrace their curls and kinks. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to relax your hair, or wear weaves, but just know that you will be beautiful no matter how you choose to wear your hair, and that this beauty isn’t dependent on it being straight. Natural hair also takes a lot of care and can be very time consuming, and sometimes it’s just easier and healthier for people to wear it in weaves. There’s nothing wrong with this!
3. Looser curl patterns aren’t the only type of beautiful.
Often times, I’ll see pictures of girls being praised within the natural hair movement,
and it will only be showing girls with looser curl patterns, as if this is the only curl pattern that exists. 4b and 4c hair types are more often than not completely disregarded. This prevents people from realizing that there are other hair types that are just as beautiful. There is no curl pattern we should all strive for and envy, because it’s all beautiful. What’s so incredible about the black community is the variety of patterns that our hair comes in. And you know what’s the most beautiful kind of hair? Healthy hair.
So next time you feel pressured to wear your hair a certain way, whether it be straight or curly, weaved or in locs, remember what the movement is truly about.