Hair As Identity Menu


Our Children are Affected by Our Hair Choices

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The plot thickens. I’ve been playing in my hair for the last 48 hours to see just how much length I’ll have once I cut off my locs. I’ve been reading natural hair blogs and books. Actually, just finished reading Thank God I’m Natural by Chris-Tia E. Donaldson (I give this book a huge thumbs up; it’s a great, quick read with comprehensive content: The book and other sources have told me that, in some cases, it’s possible to take locs down though it can cost $250 to $500 to get it done in a salon. I have never spent that much on my hair and don’t know if I’m willing to now. It helps that I LOVE a TWA and that my husband says he looks forward to it again if that’s what I want. Plus, I get to swim on a daily basis if I want to (there’s a whole different discussion about putting on a swimsuit…okay, I really have issues) HAHA.

I think it also sends a message to my children (we have an 8 year old and a 5 year old). The hilarious thing is that neither one of our children wants me to cut my hair. My son said, “MOMMY! No! No one around here has hair that short” Say what? Wow. Without putting words into his mouth, it sounds like my man is concerned that his Momma is going to look like a plucked chicken and that he will bear the brunt of being teased because of it. My daughter is even more adamant, “MOMMMMMMMMYYYY! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! DON’T CUT YOUR HAIR! I LIKE IT LONG!” Double wow. Such emotion about MY hair. Is it possible that my hair has implications for their identity? Well, given the central role that parents play in identity formation it seems the answer is yes. This tells me that what we do with our hair may impact our children’s attitudes about their hair and themselves in general. Talk about responsibility.

Truth be told, we live in a lily-white neighborhood, in a lily-white town in the suburbs of a predominately white city. There are not many people of color more or less women with natural hair. I was stretching it with long dreadlocks, now I’m taking it further with a TWA. Hey kiddos, there’s no time like the present to understand the fact that I AND YOU have kinky, coily hair that differs from the hair of those around you. Yes children, we’re different in some ways and similar in other ways to those around us. Guess what, it’s all beautiful. Here’s to learning how to embrace our unique beauty and the beauty of others.

  • Karen M. Marbury

    I'm going to check out the book you mentioned. And good luck with the TWA. I'm sure you will rock it beautifully. And Tina, I think that our reaction and feelings about hair length are so tied into the texture issues, just as you point out. Short and natural really is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. It completely flies in the face of our accepted beauty norms. Love the courage and I can't wait to see your pics! Also actively adoring the pic of the beautiful girl-child above.  Very best, Karen

  • topie

    Hey Karen, thanks for your comments! I love knowing that the blog is resonating at some level. Isn't the little girl a cutie pie? I saw her and HAD to post her pic. Yes, please do check out the book. I LOVED it. Yes, hair texture and length interact in some interesting ways. I still have to figure out where I'm going to cut my hair (whew, sometimes get agita thinking about it). I think that I'm going to go to New York maybe Khamit Kinks or something. Talk soon and tell me what you think about the book!

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