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Isis Brantley: Entrepreneur and Trailblazer WINS hairbraiding case

Isis Brantley, an entrepreneur and trailblazer for natural hair

Isis Brantley, an entrepreneur and trailblazer for natural hair (image found on www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com)

I am thrilled that Isis Brantley won her lawsuit and is now able to braid hair without unnecessary government regulation.  I find it deeply troubling that the state of Texas would bring suit against a woman who is doing what Black women have done for centuries: braid the hair of other women in the community.  Are ancient cultural practices protected from government regulations?   Hairbraiders are entrepreneurs and Black women have long used hairbraiding as a path for economic gain, perhaps when they were unable to or chose not to obtain employment in the larger economy.  Since money is involved, must these practices be controlled by the government?  That is a troubling thought.

According to the Institute for Justice website (www.ij.org/case/txbraiding/), the state of Texas began regulating hair braiders in 2007; and, in a seemingly unwise move, subsumed hairbraiding licenses under the state’s barbering regulation.  This decision would have forced Ms. Brantley to install barber chairs, almost double the size of her business and install sinks (ironically, in Texas hair braiders cannot offer services that need sinks).  Additionally, Ms. Brantley would have had to invest up to 750 hours learning to be a barber instructor, and passing exams related to barbering.  Seriously?!  What’s next?  Are we going to force the women who bake and sell cakes for the church to become licensed caterers?

Thanks goodness Ms. Brantley pursued justice.  Not only did the court rule the barbering requirements as unconstitutional for hairbraiding schools (January 2015) but, the legislature fully deregulated natural hairbraiding in Texas (June 2015).

Ms. Brantley, I salute you.  You are a trailblazer for natural hair and for justice.

Sources that discuss Ms. Brantley’s experience:

  1. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2015/01/08/texas-hair-braiding-instructor-who-fought-licensing-rules-wins-case/
  2. http://ij.org/case/txbraiding/
  3. http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/texas-hair-braiders-win-right-to-open-braiding-schools/
  • Bernice

    Thank you, Ms. Brantley, for yours pursue and winning. Maybe now I can learn the correct way to braid my own hair at your school.

    Thank you, again another pioneer we must salute. Please send some information about your school.

  • Bernice

    Thank you, Ms. Brantley, for yours pursue and winning. Maybe now I can learn the correct way to braid my own hair at your school.

    Thank you, again another pioneer we must salute. Please send some information about your school.

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Veiling: My Own Xenophobic Reactions

As you may know, I study hair as identity and while I typically write about hair itself, there are may other elements that relate to hair, the head and identity. For example, veiling.  I am quite ignorant about this topic but I picked up the book “What is veiling” by Sahar Amer to learn more.  Veiling refers to wearing a length of cloth to cover the head and shoulders and, sometimes, the face (Amer, 2014).  Here are different types of veils:

veils-bbc-news-web-article

I’m going to reveal my own ignorance and say that many times when I see a veiled person (it’s usually a woman that I’ve seen), I immediately think she is either very religious or a very militant Muslim.  Yes, I admit it.  It is xenophobic, I’m not proud of it, but it is the truth.  I hope to always be authentic on this website and I encourage you to do the same.  Two caveats:  1) I’m working on it.  I’m not satisfied with thinking this way so I’m working to get better and have a broader, more inclusive mindset; 2) political correctness may enable us to “tolerate” each other but it will never lead to heart change and true understanding.  See “Rethinking political correctness” by Ely, Meyerson & Davidson (2006, Harvard Business Review).

Post 9/11, the pictures of women donning veils made me feel highly ambivalent.  On one hand, I recognize that many different peoples don veils.  In fact, the veil did not originate with Muslims, it originated in Ancient Mesopotamia in the 13th century BC (Amer, 2014).  Muslims, Jews and Christians alike don(ned) veils.  Apparently, the veil was used to distinguish married, chaste or concubined women from women who were prostitutes or considered morally loose.  It was considered dangerous for a women who should be wearing a veil to go without it or for a woman who shouldn’t be wearing a veil to dare wear it.  But, on the other hand, the media images of Muslim, women extremists, terrorists, donning veils and blowing themselves and others up had been seared into my mind.  It has become an implicit association, meaning a subconscious connection that I now draw between terrorism and the veil.

Can you relate?  Do you make this same implicit association?  Or, are you a Muslim woman who has been subjected to these ignorant associations?  Are you a Muslim woman who prefers not to veil because of the identity implications?  I would love to broach a measured conversation on this topic and explore how veiling impacts identity, especially in the workplace.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Black Women POWERFUL Consumers: How Will We Use This Power?

Black women of Brazil

Check out http://blackwomenofbrazil.co/ to find more stunning images like this one.

 

Black women are POWERFUL.  If you’re like me, you didn’t need to be told this, all I have to do is look at my own Mom to know that.  Working full time; keeping a house TOGETHER (old school style like you can SERIOUSLY eat off of her floors; don’t try that in my house); with my Dad raising strong daughters; cooking amazing meals (people put in special requests weeks in advance), all while looking fly.  Plus, my Mom worked in an environment where she may have been initially viewed as “just an assistant” but quickly rose to be viewed as one of the most valuable employees at IBM.  Her strong work ethic, sheer smarts and ability to read people (both understand them and put them in check if need be) made her someone folks wanted on their team.  She’s retired now but still the woman I call when I need sage advice.

Ok, I digress.  That Black women are powerful was underscored in a recent Black Enterprise article citing a Nielsen report that found that Black women wield tremendous consumer power.  Black women, what will we do with this power?  How can we wisely use our money to help make the world safer for our families, children, communities?  Do you have any tips that you can share?

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Among the key takeaways is the fact that many African American women are greatly influenced by their culture and community. Roughly 62% of black women believe embracing and supporting their culture is important. Furthermore, about 59% feel a strong obligation to support minority businesses.

“Black women are one of the most powerful consumers because they are three times as likely to be the head of household than any other minority culture,” saysTarra Jackson (also known as Madam Money), a money expert who specializes in economic empowerment. “Marketers should pay attention to African American women because they control over 50% of the annual adult black purchasing and spending power,” Jackson continues.

Here is a link to the full article:  http://www.blackenterprise.com/money/consumer-affairs/nielsen-study-highlights-power-black-female-consumers/.

We can send a clear message to the world.  For example, when it comes to natural hair, many women ask me how I find products and lament the dearth of available products once you leave major metropolitan areas.  Ladies, you have a voice, it’s green and folds. Make yourself heard.  Nielsen underscores that companies will listen.

  • Petra Lewis

    That thought on that old adage had a typo. I meant to write: “What do Black people buy?–whatever we put on the shelves…”

  • Tina Opie

    Hey Petra! I LOVE your comments! Thanks so much for your comments! I’m trying to build the brand and nothing speaks like readers, comments, etc. I love the idea of saying, “Whatever WE put on the shelves” in response to the question, “What do Black people buy”. People try to make it seem like we’re being racist when we say that but don’t even bat an eye when other communities do exactly that. It’s not about hating others it’s about supporting yourself. Amen and amen

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Body Hair Politics- Shaving One’s Leg Hair

hairylegs

When we talk about “being natural”, we’re often referring to how we wear our hair on our heads.  However, I recently came across a Reddit thread that discussed the following scenario.  Here is the initial inquiry entitled, “Help!  Body Hair Politics” by TheShowIsNotTheShow:

“Greetings, all! I am a self-identifying feminist who believes that a) everyone should have the right to do what they want with their body and I should support them, b) for me, shaving my legs feels infantilizing but also actually unpleasant in sensation. I am about to attend a professional international conference in Portugal, and since it is hot, and they are easy to pack, I will be wearing only knee-length (or slightly shorter) dresses. In this situation, I care much more about people paying attention to the words coming out of my mouth than whether or not my legs are shaved.

Are the myths about body hair being more socially acceptable in Europe true? Will that hold for Portugal? If it will be a distraction, I think I will shave my legs. (My hair is light, and it’s not the sort of thing that would ever be visible in a photo, but definitely would be noticed if you are sitting next to/near me, or maybe if you have a habit of checking out people’s calves while standing and talking to them?)

I would personally feel shallow if I valued my appearance over getting my message across — I don’t see this as selling out, but it might be? Because feminism based on appearances is weak, right?”

What do you all think?  Do you remove your leg hair?  When did you start?  Why?

 * I found this image online, I cannot attest to its authenticity.  To me, it looks like a fake, but the picture gets the idea across!

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naiga girls: (un)imaginable by verta ayanna

 


verta ayanna- bring_back_our_girls_2014_37my heart stopped when i first learned of the 234 young girls kidnapped on april 14, 2014 by boko haram, a militant Islamist group in Nigeria whose name literally means “western education is forbidden.” i felt helpless. i felt–
i could not even imagine. i find myself using that saying all too often when i hear of atrocities in the world, especially those that involve children. when a gunman kills innocent children on our city streets, i automatically think, i could not even imagine. when beautiful black boys are stolen from their homes in the darkness of night to become soldiers in wars they cannot even understand, i have thought,  i could not even imagine. after 234 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria and now more than 20 days later the only ones reported found are those who escaped, i think to myself, i could not even imagine

could i really not imagine? this saying  has caused me pause since hearing of the young girls abducted by boko haram in Nigeria. i realized there are parts of these things i can imagine. i am a human being. i am a mother. i have witnessed fear. as my daughter sat crying amidst shatters glass on the roof of our overturned car after a near fatal car accident, i saw fear in her eyes. as i lay on the side of the road. my blood all around us. the scent undoubtedly picked up by the wild animals in the gaming park, i heard my son’s fear. “will someone come and get us?” he asked. when the Beninios doctor saw my file days later and asked, very nonchalantly i must add, “combien de morts? how many died?” i felt fear and imagined far worse. i cried as i imagined what could have been on the side of that dirt road in august of 2011.

not wanting to imagine and not being able to imagine are two very different things.  so, i can imagine. and i believe that others can too. even if only for a moment, we can imagine fear. we have all experienced it on some level. recall your own or that of a loved one at some moment in time. multiply that fear by all the stars in the universe and we may each get just a few heartbeats closer to what just one girl may have felt as armed men came to steal her away from what she only seconds before considered a safe place. take a moment to simply recall your humanity and you will be able to imagine, even if just for one thousandth of a second, the fear and anguish of just one parent of just one abducted girl.

what is unimaginable is that it’s been over 20 days and the only girls reported found were those who escaped. what is unimaginable is that in a world with the technology to witness my every keystroke remotely and locate me right now on this city block in harlem from outer space we have not rescued one girl. what is unimaginable is that until a few days ago we could not find space in the mass media next to the racist rants of a billionaire basketball team owner to report regularly and consistently about these girls literally stolen from their school. what is unimaginable is that in 2014 we have to use grassroots measures to allow the world to be informed and bear witness to this disregard for human life. what is unimaginable is to dwell in helplessness when the truth will always remain that our mere existence, each and everyone of ours, is an opportunity to act. to act with love and to act loudly if we must.

In verta’s next post, she shares some specific actions you can take to make a difference.


Verta Maloneyverta is writing her first book, loving out loud, because she believes that love should never be silent! her purpose in this life is to love out loud, to live on purpose, to laugh a whole bunch, to create, to share stories, to inspire others, to make a difference and to leave the world better than she found her. verta shares how she is inspired by stories, by memories and by life at www.vertaayanna.com.

 

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Straight hair for holidays?

According to Merriam-Webster, a “holiday” is a day of celebration when most people do not have to work.  Thus, holidays are a particular time when people may construct special hairstyles to fully embrace the festivities.  Further, hairstyles also convey that the wearer is special because she (or her mother) has taken extra time to create a highly polished, intricate style.  As a little girl, I remember getting my hair “done” for holidays.  Typically, that meant I’d get my hair straightened.

Original image by Bob Croslin from Tampa Bay Times (Combing through memories (4/14/06) by Nicole Johnson)

As I grew older, it meant that I would get my hair relaxed.  I’ve learned that this pattern of straightening on holidays is not atypical…many women I know practice the same hair ritual. What do you all think about this hair ritual?  How does it affect girls and women?

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Love Out Loud: A Series – A Love Story by verta ayanna

Eric’s hands are folded on the table. Firm yet gentle. Fixed yet flexible. Those same hands he used to place stones under Shauna’s pillow for comfort. “They put her right to sleep. She didn’t even know I had put them there and she’d sleep for hours,” he explained. Their oldest son’s hands are unceasingly occupied. He plays with a wind up toy that gets tangled on a few precious strands of the soft and fluffy afro Shauna had finally decided to grow back. He assured he could get it out. My own familiar hands gently helped him unravel his toy making sure to protect each prized, well-earned strand. Shauna’s hands—dry, cracked and darkened from treatment—also bring comfort. They examined and soothe her youngest son’s head after something had fallen on him while playing in the leaves outside. Shauna’s hands touch the tiniest of places in this life she has chosen with such beauty and grace. “One day I just told my soul it should stay. I choose hope,” she told me as I watched her hands. I love hands. I believe that we love with our hearts, our bodies, our minds; and all that love, all that life always finds itself in our hands.

Shauna is as radiant on this unseasonably warm day in January 2014 as she was in 1990 when I first met her in college. She was cute and quirky and different in college. She still is. Shauna is a collector. She collects words. She shares books that have touched her while we talk in her bedroom. Books that have inspired and moved her. She shares quotes that have kept her faith strong when it was weak. Some might think that the affirmations—words hand written and scattered like fallen leaves around her bedroom and bathroom—give her strength. I think otherwise. Shauna’s strength is the affirmation—emotional support and encouragement that the world so desperately needs. She also shares the collection of newspapers she has amassed over the past month. She reads them during her monthly trip to Philly for treatment. She says that Eric is probably happy they are not all over the bed when they try to sleep at night. I bet the love they share for each other and for words make him miss her newspapers almost as much as he misses her when she goes. I imagine Shauna and Eric as the children trekking home from the library with more books than they could carry. Still thinking about the ones they hated to leave behind. I imagine them as the children who stayed up with heads under covers reading books late into the night. Secretly collecting words. An obsession that only they could understand. What exists between this wife and her husband is so considerable. It is nearly too much to contain in words.

Shauna is a mother. She chases joy in the everyday—like so many mothers. Folding clothes for her family. Leaving the random, unmatched and missing socks for the boys to sort out. Ironing clothes or as was the case on this particular Sunday, being reminded by the ironing board and the pile of clothes near it of yet another bit of household work that would not get done that day. Before she boards the Amtrak to Philly, she dries the boys’ comforters. Making sure they smell fresh and linger with warmth from the dryer and from her touch. One that is a familiar memory to those she leaves behind for the remainder of the week. “Striving to keep everything as normal as possible” each month so that she can continue to live. To remain among the living.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Shauna had a double mastectomy. The doctors constructed new breasts for her without nipples. As I understand it, this is common since it is rare to save nipples during this procedure. A woman can hope for the appearance of nipples with cosmetic surgery and even tattoos, though she will not have nipples as she once did. “I took my nipples for granted until I didn’t have them,” she said. Her words whispered to me for hours, days and weeks after I photographed her. I marveled at my breasts and my nipples in a new way. The nipples that efficiently and miraculously delivered milk to my children. The nipples that dutifully stand at attention when nipped by something cold and/or sudden. The nipples that surrender and abandon themselves entirely when caressed and fully consumed by a lover. Glimpsing what is not has a way of making us value what is.

After two years of multiple surgeries, countless treatments for cancer and the double mastectomy, Shauna believed she was winning the fight with breast cancer. Then “breast cancer broke her back.” Literally. The cancer had spread through her spine. The pain she was experiencing in her back was far more serious than her doctors realized. The cancer was eating her bones. She needed surgery. One doctor told her it was amazing that she was still walking. Over the next year, there were several miracles that took place. There were several medical professionals that would witness Shauna’s existence and marvel at the fact that she was still alive. Doctors would take chances on treatment with her. Her walking into their offices another day was not anything their science, their medicine or their logic could explain. In January 2012, she had spinal fusion surgery. It was not supposed to work. Her bones were deteriorating. They did not show signs of fusing with the metal inserted in her back yet, miraculously they did. In 2013, her liver was filled with tumors that led to liver failure. With a combination of alternative and modern medicine, many of the tumors inexplicably disappeared and the others were dramatically reduced in size.

Shauna is now four inches shorter because of cancer. She has been on and off of chemotherapies for five years because of cancer. She has learned to be gentler with herself because of cancer. “I use my body differently now than before, she said. “Instead of saying I can’t do it anymore, I find a different way to do it.” Shauna is far from perfect. That is what makes her so beautiful. Her experience living with cancer is not without anger or sadness or fear. She has had days that were so low she thought she would give up. She has attempted any and every treatment she thinks will offer her the chance to live and love another day.

Shauna is living. Living with cancer. Living with hope. Living with love. “The name Shauna means God is gracious,” Shauna wrote to me, “I believe that God is presently showing so much grace in the midst of the circumstance my family and I are experiencing and the grace makes all of the difference … it allows us to focus on what we have—the grace of each moment together.” She knows her “existence can be an example to everyday people that the miraculous is possible. No matter how long I am here. I realize that just because you are not 100% cancer free does not mean you are not a miracle. The miracles are in the midst of the details. I am not going to wait till I am 100% cancer free to help people.”

Shauna is a living modern day miracle. Miracles are expressions of love. Love is the miracle. Shauna’s story is about love. Shauna’s love is a loud love. Insistent in the most graceful way. Her life allows us to witness miracles and to allow those everyday miracles that walk among, between, in front, behind and within us to roam freely on this earth and be recognized. None of us know when we will die. We simply know that we will. Those living with cancer are made more immediately and intimately aware of the mortality we all share in grueling and beautiful ways. Living with cancer “forced me to identify my own worth, my own divinity,” she told me. Living has helped Shauna recognize that she is hope and love personified. We all are.


Verta is writing her first book, loving out loud, because she believes that love should never be silent! verta shares how she is inspired by stories, by memories and by life at www.vertaayanna.com.
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“Hard” is relative: What turkey can teach us about embracing our hair by Tina Opie

In my earlier post, I asked “Is kinky hair hard and straight hair easy-peasy?”.  Hard is relative.  That means in this social world we inhabit we tend to make comparisons in order to determine something’s value.  Thus, for kinky hair to be “hard” this must mean that it’s been compared to something else and found to be more difficult.  In this –case, kinky hair has been compared to straight hair.  However, if a woman with a full head of kinky hair complained about her hair being “hard” to an involuntarily bald woman, I think the bald woman might slap her.  In other words,  we must examine the comparison that we’re using to determine our hair’s value.  Why did “easy to detangle” became  a key indicator of hair’s value?  Is this about time?  I admit, it can be an absolute pain in the butt to spend an hour or more detangling my hair so that I can get it ready for washing or styling.  Yes, I have rolled my eyes at fellow gym-showerers who wash their hair, towel up, dress and dart out of the locker room all before I’ve even gotten all of my hair products arranged just so on that itty bitty shower bench.  There are definitely times (especially after a 6AM spinning class and before the 8AM class I teach) when I WISHHHHHHHH I could be done in 5 – 10 minutes if I wash my hair.  However, for the most part, that is not my reality.  I have come to accept that.  I may still suck my teeth and ask, “Why God, why?” when I’m gingerly working through my sopping wet head, praying that the product doesn’t goop up leaving me looking like I rolled my head in popcorn.  That is just me.  But, all in all, I LOVE my hair.  I love what it can do, how soft it is, how versatile it is, how Black it is.  I love it.

But, I first needed to realize that things that take time are not necessarily bad and things that are quick and convenient are not always “the best”.  Take food for example.  Let’s say you have turkey deli slices on one hand and a roasted turkey on the other hand.  If we applied the above hair value algorithm (quick = best and superior, longer time = hard and inferior), we’d argue that turkey deli slices are superior to a roasted turkey.

turkey deli slicesroasted turkey

REALLY?!  Don’t get me wrong, I love a turkey BLT, a turkey Reuben.  When I want something quick and tasty, those are amazing choices.  However, when you have the time, deli slices just don’t compare to a well-cooked roasted turkey.  Try as you might, it is much more difficult to take turkey deli slices and make a gourmet meal.  Yet, with a roasted turkey you can make soup, sandwiches, salad, hot food, cold food.  You get the picture.  Yes, deli slices are quick and convenient (and tasty!), but that quick convenience means you lose out on versatility.  If you value versatility, all of a sudden, quickness and convenience may recede in importance.

Whatever YOU have embrace it.  My point is this, if you have versatile hair embrace IT. It may mean that you have to take more time, but that’s life.  If you have quick/convenient hair, embrace IT!  It may mean that you have less versatility, but that’s life.  Let’s live it.

Introspection: Ask yourself what you value about your hair.  Most importantly, ask yourself WHY you value it.  Please share your thoughts on the site!

Happy New Year!

 

  • Amy D

    So true about embracing what we’ve been given. My friend is in treatment for stage 4 ovarian cancer. All of her hair fell out this past week. Her hair was long, well below her shoulders. Her young adult son shaved his head in solidarity in the fight against cancer. It seems to be a way of identifying with his mom (who adopted him when he was school age).

    • Tina Opie

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing. Please hug your friend for me and let her know that there are prayer warriors out there! :) There are so many forces working against embracing what we have (whether it be our God-given identity traits or material things) that we are almost like whirling dervishes trying to get more, change, become someone different. Whew, let’s all pause and appreciate. :) Happy happy New Year!

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Is kinky hair “hard” and straight hair “easy peasy”? by Tina Opie

Question for you:  Is Black hair “hard”?  Not hard as in the opposite of soft, but hard as in difficult.  One day a White female acquaintance and I were talking about our children, the process of getting them dressed up for holiday pictures, styling their hair.  She looked at me, shook her head and said in a commiserating voice, “Your hair is just so…hard”.  Whoa. She went on to say that her hair was easy-peasy, just wash and go, pull it back and she’s done.  Perhaps this was a politically incorrect response but I asked, “But, isn’t that boring?  I can do a wash and go too, but I can also straighten, twist, twistout, pull back, bantu knot, cornrow, etc.  In essence, I can rock seven hairstyles in seven days if I so choose.”  My acquaintance didn’t have a verbal response but her facial expression suggested mixed emotions:  on one hand, she’d never thought of that before; on the other hand, she may have thought I was being overly optimistic about my kinky hair.

A few things have gelled for me as I reflect on this conversation.  First, my acquaintance was merely parroting messages she’d likely heard about knotty, nappy, kinky, unmanageable hair (still upset about the title of the Washington Post article about my hair…folks, I DID NOT pick that title!) that Black women “deal” with and the long, silky gorgeous hair that White women are “blessed” with (please hear the irony in my voice).  Everything from Disney to Mattel to Elle to Lucky to Glamour underscores that message (although, more and more women with sufficiently multicultural textured hair are being lauded as beautiful…I still don’t see many kinky-haired women in all of our natural-haired glory).  What will it take to change that message?  Will there ever come a day where the unique beauty of kinky hair is appreciated as much as that of straight hair?

LouisBrooks1

Second, an internal truth:  I used to think that my hair was hard. Yes, there, I’ve said it.  One of the reasons why I wore a relaxer for decades was because I didn’t want to or know how to “deal” with my thick kinky hair.  Even after I got my last relaxer in 1997/8, I still chose styles like twists or cornrows that “tamed” my hair, only allowing the hairdresser to loose it from its kinky cage and re-tame it every four to six weeks.  That was followed by ten years of beautiful locs…again, a style I chose because it didn’t make sense to pay someone to twist and re-twist my hair every four to six weeks when I could wear locs and have the same beautiful look.  I loved my locs but at some point (roughly two years ago), a nagging sense that I’d been avoiding myself, my kinky-haired self that is, began to plague me.  I know that some people think it’s only hair but if that were true, why would I avoid it.  Wouldn’t I treat it like my ears, or nails or something?  Just let it be?  Hair is identity-rich, revealing so much about how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us.  That, THAT was what pulled and tugged at me.  What did I see in my kinky hair that was so troubling that I felt a need to “tame” it, even while donning natural styles?

If you could change your hair texture to straight would you?  To kinky, would you?

  • csimpson

    I love this article! I confess I wear my hair the same way everyday. Once I had a 2nd grade student look at me & ask “how do you not have webs in your hair?” I love seeing the different styles my students come in with. What impresses me the most is the time dedicated to do your hair. So while it maybe “easy-peasy” yes it gets boring.

  • Tina Opie

    Hi! I miss seeing you in NY! Thanks so much for your comment and for reading the site! Be grateful for that “easy-peasiness”; work what you’re working with! :) Happy, happy NEW YEAR! :)

  • Laquita

    Interesting article. My though it that, no matter how one wears her/his hair, it is an adjustment at the beginning to style the hair in any particular way. I wouldn’t say that any particular grade of hair is easy or hard, just different.

  • Tina Opie

    Happy New Year! Thanks so much for commenting! I agree that hair grade / texture shouldn’t matter much, it very much has to do with knowledge. However, it seems that assumptions are made about kinky textured hair (it’s so difficult!) and I think it’s great that we’re exploring this and discussing the tradeoffs of different hair textures. Thanks again. Come back often! :)

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A balding 13-year old boy and me

Harold movie poster

Good day everyone!  I recently watched a movie on Netflix called “Harold”.  Here is a description of the movie on NetFlix:

“Fitting in at his new high school is tough for Harold (Spencer Breslin), especially since he suffers from early male-pattern baldness. With mean classmates making his life miserable, Harold tries to turn his luck around by taking the advice of a caring janitor (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Co-starring Ally Sheedy, Nikki Blonsky and Chris Parnell, this delightful comedy cleverly depicts the harsh realities of being an outsider.”

Ohhhh how I felt for Harold.  I couldn’t relate to everything because, fortunately, I was not the recipient of bullying.   It was so interesting to me that the whole premise of the movie was how a child would be tormented for his bald pate, how his hair could make him an outsider.  I can relate to feeling like an outsider Harold.  I have been there.  On numerous occasions, I’ve shared how I felt almost like a water-aversive alien because of my hair; afraid of rain, pools, humidity, even a crazy fool with a water hose.  Thanks be to God, I’ve learned (am learning) to accept my hair in all of its glory (even in its smashed, half frizzy state as I type this).  No, I’m not equating kinky / coily hair to male pattern baldness. But, what I am doing is recognizing that we all have identity battles, as we work hard to figure out how we fit in in this world.  May this year bring you self-discovery and self-acceptance as we strive to become the best people that we can be.  Hugs to you all.

Tina

If you or someone you know has experience with male pattern baldness, I’d love to hear more about your experience.  Please email me at contact@hairasidentity.com to schedule a chat.  Thanks!

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