B a hair-raiser...

Straight, curly, locked, twisted, braided, long, straight, natural, relaxed, weave, no weave...These are just some of the options that make black women's hair something like a phenomenon. We've all had that moment when someone thought it was OK to pet our hair, and say "Oh, that's so cool, how'd you get it like that?" And we've ALL had that moment when you walk in with a fresh blowout and a classmate/co-worker says, "OMG, it's so pretty (substitute: long/straight/soft)!" (And this implies that it was what, before the blow out?) Or we've even had that occasion when someone asks "How many times do you wash it?"

Yes, yes...black hair is a wonderful, evolving part of who we are. It can be a mysterious thing to our counterparts, and even to us. But dealing with questions about your hair (i.e. your identity) at work can be a sensitive issue to say the least. Many have seen that article circulating about a certain beauty editor from Glamour Magazine hosting a luncheon on the Do's and Don'ts of Corporate Fashion at law firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Below are some of the comments made by the "style expert".

"Those political hairstyles really have to go..."

"Afro: A real no-no."

"Dreadlocks: How truly dreadful!"

As a result, the young fashionista was "dealt with", but her words are already out in the universe and likely reflect the outlook of others in corporate America. For some, it's a constant struggle to maintain their personal style, all while managing the expectations of others. Personally, I'm just trying to find a something that works when I need to look fly and work out at the same time. (I haven't figured it out just yet. Any suggestions?) As for now, I rock what my boy calls a "snatch-back" (low bun) - but whatevs!

Being serious for a moment - how do you feel about this issue? I'd love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, check out this mini-snippet on Marie Claire's website about "Erasing Ethnicity", pretty interesting. The full-length article is on the newsstands.


Anonymous said...

Hair is such an issue for me. I used to wear braids than I was tired sitting for 14 plus hrs because I wanted micro braids. Then I tried weaves for longer time from partial weaves to full head of weaves because of over processing of the hair it started falling out. Then at a young age my hair started turning grey so then I really did the full head of weaves. At one point I realize I was spending over 400.00 on hair weaves too much sitting at the hair salon and being traumatize in the waiting process with my hair dresser. I decided to cover my hair with silk handkerchiefs to give it a break and to save money. The hair is an issue I have what I called a nappy head of hair unless I hot combed it and I can't do that all the time because it will start to fall out again. When I was wearing the weaves the looks and acceptability from white people were funny to being in a sorority club that I hated being in because I had to play the game in order to be in to get more work, networking and all boils down to making money. I still wear what I call the babushkas, the covering of my hair weather it be the handkerchiefs or a hat thank go for cold weathers to wigs for going out. White people don't like the afros,dreadlocks or nappy hair look because they feel offended, scaring of potential clients or just to africany. The look has to be straight long hair to get ahead and to make money.

Look Me Up said...

I think it's ignorant to judge some one on their hair, but people do it. It about hte person weather they can prefor the job. But I guess I live in fairy tale land.

The Bee is out!

Look Me Up said...

sorry for the spelling errors but you get my drift

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely unacceptable for that ignorant 'fashionista' to tell black women to alter their hair from the way it naturally grows from their head...even moreso unacceptable is for black women to believe that BS. We have been brainwashed for along time about our hair. It's time for black women to set their own DAMN standard for what's beautiful for them and not let white america do that. When we change our minds about what's acceptable/beautiful for us, the rest of the world will fall in line, its akin to having high self-confidence.
A suggestion for your fly hairstyle/workout dilemma, have you ever considered something called sisterlocks? They are smaller locks that allows your natural hair to grow(my bad THRIVE) and you can swim, workout, wet it when ever. I know natural hair is not for everyone but for me, i've had sisterlocks for 8 months and my hair is already the length it was when I was relaxed
(nape of neck). So in the next 8 months my hair will be the longest its ever been! My goal is for waistlength hair that is all mine, something I never would of had with a relaxer...something to think about. Love your blog, thanx for representing!!

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with that so-called "style expert". She sounds so ignorant.

Anonymous said...

everyone can disagree but when u see a beautiful black woman at an upscale white store the majority of the time the hair is straight usually relax and long or short with a nice cut. The nappy headed chics or not to par looking chicks are usually in the back somewhere shuffling boxes or in the low end of the sale dept.

Anonymous said...

I feel that the comment by the Glamour magazine writer simply shows how far diversity has been embraced in this country. Multiculturalism and diversity has its' place, and that is NOT in the workplace.
Get over it people!!! Stop feeling so threathened by our every move!!!! It's just hair!!
My BEAUTIFUL locs are here to stay whether you like it or not!!! And I do not have to explain my daily hair routine to you or anybody else!!