I just saw an interesting tweet about natural hair from an awesome woman I follow on Twitter, and I replied to it.
@NatashaTheory Curl looseness. Overall hair length. Amount of time natural. Whether dyed or not. All hierarchies in natural hair now. Smh.— Trudy (@thetrudz) June 6, 2012
There is a natural hair hiearchy that I have seen some people slightly hint at and even proselytize at times. I think this is unfortunate. They include:
1) How long the person has been natural (had their hair in its natural state). Some Black women have always been natural. Some newly adapted to the movement/trend. Some have been natural more than once (that would be me, for example). Some have been natural for a time period longer than the existence of the more dominant trend now, but still not for their entire lifetime. Some people respond to this by deciding that someone who has been natural longer is “more” authentic and thus more valuable. This is not true. This should be rejected.
2) How long the person’s hair is. Of course growth matters as it is often one indicator of health but the constant checking of length (I even make a Twitter joke that some people have Excel spreadsheets to track this) and comparing length seems competitive at times. Certain textures of natural hair experience more shrinkage. Certain people have other health factors that might impact growth. Some want it short. The constant “my hair is longer than yours” meme amidst the natural hair community makes it really feel no different than old school days with relaxers.
3) Curl looseness. People do seem to compare and contrast textures, with looser curls and longer curls often being deemed more attractive. I…don’t think I have to elaborate on why this occurs.
4) Whether the person’s hair is dyed or not. Some people argue that dyed natural hair is no longer “natural” even if the hair dye is naturally made. Really. Ugh.
There is more to health and Blackness than natural hair. Of course it can be a doorway to a health-focused change for some Black women and it’s been really a communal and happy thing for me. But it becomes a lot less…happy…when it becomes a competition or includes a social hiearchy. Let’s reject this “evolution” of the “good hair/bad hair” arguments of the past, because essentially, this is what it boils down to.