Monday, August 15, 2005

What a woman's hair says about her


Since I have a blog pretty much devoted to Sisterlocks, I decided to go back into the archives of our on-line yahoo group, lockitup and pull all my "essays" out and put em' in my blog. I figure if I'm gonna write a book one day, I might as well keep all my research and info in one place. So, with that being said, my first "essay" will be in response to lockitup group member Zorah's forward of an article that discusses what a woman's hair says about her. The article is below and my response is after it.

This article was found on Bet.com
By Celeste Dawn Mitchell, BET.com Staff Writer
Can you tell anything about a woman’s lifestyle,musical tastes or sexual orientation from herhairstyle? It might sound crazy but men often decide if a woman is their type based on her hair.Kittrina, a 20-year-old college student, has noticed an uptick in the number of men with locs who approach her since switching from chemically relaxed hair to locs eight months ago. “Men with dreadlocks like females who are into the natural look like them,” she says.Marissa, 29, with her super-long, relaxed hair attracts athletic and “everyday” guys. Not one artsy bohemian or brotha with locs in sight.During the three years that I wore locs, the only men who looked my way were men with locs themselves. But now that my locs are history and I’m a curly girl, men of all stripes are approaching me. My locs, I’m convinced, spoke volumes on my behalf. “She doesn’t shave,” my hair seemed to say. “She doesn’t eat meat. She smokes ganja, grows her own fruit and she only wants righteous brothas who praise Jah.” But none of these things were true. Okay, I don’t eat red meat, but I started that practice back in college—and my hair was relaxed at the time! Just to prove that I'm not imagining such preconceived notions, I asked some guys their initial impressions of a woman with locs. They responded with “conscious,”“organic,” “feminist,” “laid-back,” “Rasta,”“vegetarian” and “homeless.”When asked about relaxed hairstyles, these same men described women with those styles as “the norm,”“normal” and “everyday.”And, finally, when asked about close-cropped natural hair, they described women sporting these styles as “smart,” “afrocentric,” “lesbian,” “butch,”“rebellious” and “comfortable with themselves.”

Ladies, think about what your hair is saying. I am not suggesting that you should change your hair to land a man but, if you suspect that your hair is limiting your dating options, get proactive. You might want to offer some encouragement to men who may be writing you off, or writing themselves off, based on your do. Try making extra eye contact or making the first move and initiating a conversation. Men, relax those snap judgments and remember that often a hair style is just a style. As India Arie sang at a recent concert Washington, D.C. concert, “I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am not your expectations.”Get to know the woman inside.----------What do you think?

BET.comer mrmack says, "I personally like the relaxed hair on women. Straight, curly, braids are all fine with me. But I personally don't like locks on a female. It just looks like a women puts more time into herself, if she goes and gets her hair done at a beauty shop. Not trying to diss anyone, but those are the only type of women I approach."BET.comer SDBryant says, "Oh my gosh I agree! When I'm wearing my hair in a neat afro or natural two strandtwist I go nearly unnoticed...yet on the other hand,when I have my hair in long, tiny braids, the attention is almost irritating. I find it rather ironic and men somewhat shallow."

Here goes...

posted on Lockitup Mon Aug 15, 2005
Thanks Zorah for forwarding this article.

OK, here's my thoughts on the matter... (this is a lil' long)

Although I was HAPPY to get my hair done in whatever state it was,braids, cut, ponytail, perm, or whatever, it never concerned me as to how I would be perceived. All I wanted was something done to this wig. It really did not matter what anyone thought when I decided to get Sisterlocks as far as that is concerned. I just wanted the haircare drama to stop. I already knew I was under opposition being from Texas and the backwards (slave) mentality of many friends, families, and foes I was going to possibly come up against. It is funny because when I wore "human hair" weaves, ponytails and the like that looked NOTHING like my hair or me, it was "great" to everyone. I even thought so myself. It was sort of like assimilation. I guess if I was honest with myself at that time, I probably felt more "accepted" and like "them". Deep, but real.

The million dollar questions should have been, "Do I 'accept' me and exactly 'who' is this them I am trying to be like?" I was living in Sacramento, California only four months in 2000 when I first got two-strand twists. The natural hair lady in town, Akilah, did Sisterlocks and that's when I was first introduced to this way of locking your hair. I am one for researching, so it was some time after that, when I found out about
Pat Hunley's website when she was early in her journey. Thank God for her, because I was able to read about the pains and struggles I would possibly have to endure. I sat and watched Akilah retighten a client's hair while waiting for my appointment. It was so intimidating to me, yet intriguing. I saw how at peace the ladies who had naturals and Sisterlocks were. They were so excited. They were older ladies but seemed so youthful and content. I noticed even the younger men and women in the shop who had natural styles and they seemed so suave and regal. I was like, "I want that kind of peace with my hair. What do I have to do to get it?"

After she told me it would be like $500 to get the locks put in, my financial spirit was crushed. I'd just gone from paying $436 a month for my condo mortgage in Houston to $850 for my townhouse in Sac. I was trying to get straight in my head the $30 an hour fee for two-strandtwists, so this was all new to me. Nevertheless, I was still determined to make some kind of transition and get into "save money" gear. I wanted Sisterlocks. My hair was damaged pretty badly and the sweet loctician trimmed the bad parts as best she could after two-strand twisting em'. I thought it was cute. My hair was silky looking and feeling. Something I never knew my own hair could feel like. It was weird,but exciting.

However, I felt different. Exposed. This was MY REAL HAIR. My head did feel a little naked, cause I'd spent so many years with extra "somebody's" hair braided, weaved, crocheted into my hair. I had to embrace it. It was like having a baby for the first time. You are excited about this new addition to your life, and but in a lot of ways you just do not know what to do. You have this "creation" that is to be loved and cared for, but you do not want to harm or hurt it. You just want to do the best you can to take care of it. You also have to "get used" to it. That is where I was. It was easy for a week strutting around Sacramento with my new "look", but I then had to head South and go home. I don't care what people say, there are ALOT of backwards thinking folks in Texas. I know, cause I was one of them.

Thinking back, that was pretty scary and hard at the same time. That was when fear and insecurities set in. The flight from California to Texas was one long agonizing trip. I wasn't sure if I was prepared for the negative feedback. I did, however, anticipate it. I knew it was coming. Folks were used to seeing me in braids and of course someone else's hair in my head. I was use to that, too. I'd worn them more on than off, for ten years.

The first stop was Houston and then to Waco. From the lack of feedback, if any and my assessment, I would guess no one back home liked it and there was this sense of "silence" when folks saw my hair for the first time. I mean, loooonnnnng uncomfortable pregnant pauses. They talked to me while looking "up side" my head. Did I like that feeling? "NO!" Did I have to endure it? "Yes".

For some reason I saw beyond that pain. I wanted Sisterlocks, and if I could not handle how folks felt about my two-strand twists, I was surely in more of a battle when I was going to decide on something more permanent. My sister had traditional locks for over 10 years and I never cared to ask about nor questioned her about her plight. I just knew she never complained or had any trouble.

I had to convince myself that going completely natural was good, I looked good, and I was making the best decision for me. I had to CONVINCE myself. It was very "heady". You know your mind playin' tricks on you. So, although it took almost three years to get to Sisterlocks (11-28-03), I'd say at this point, if I "repelled" any man from approaching me, that was fine. He was just screaming to me that he had hang-ups and insecurities he himself was going to have to face and work through on his own. Why should I bother with that? Most men have been attracted to me, no matter how my hair has looked. I don't know about the others who may have passed me by, but I am sure there were some.

So now, I am back home in Central Texas with my 21 month old Sisterlocks and thankfully anyone whom I run into who has Dreadlocks, Sisterlocks, Naturals, TWAs and the like all seem to be "movers and shakers", which is what I am used to seeing and being around. They "represent" well and of course it makes the transition easy for my sister and me since we're both locked.

There are not many natural hair wearers in Waco, but that is to be expected. This town lives and breathes for perms and braids and weaves and anything that's fake. I know because I lived that existence right here in my hometown for years. The best part about it, is that when folks meet me since returning home is, they are not only inspired, but are motivated to take a deeper look at their own natural beauty. Start questioning their motives about how they view themselves. I also offer an opportunity to teach and educate, which dispels myths and untruths about folks with natural hair and locked hair. I am extremely happy about that.

Nothing has stopped men from approaching me and I get compliments from white men as well. I have had from thugs to white-collar brothers to doctors trying to get to "know me better". As far as the brothers are concerned, as I said, I'd rather be single and free from some insecure man than be needy and willing to take whomever for whatever reason. I'm just not that desperate. If my Sisterlocks repel the deadbeat dudes, then Hip Hip Hoorah!!!


I have plenty of othergifts, talents, abilities, and greater things to bring to the table that automatically make men least likely to approach me if they are shallow, intimated and insecure. Unfortunately and fortunately at the same time that is how it is going to be. For now, I live, I laugh, and I love life as it is being presented to me. When the right one comes around, he will find me. Until then, I will keep gleaning.

Black women and natural beauty article.

6 comments:

brunsli said...

Keep on doing what you're doing Maryee!

I was expecting a lot of negativity, but I haven't really gotten it ... I think of my locks as a litmus test, if a person, employer, etc. has an issue with them , I don't really need to associate myself with them. That works out pretty well - except for family!

Maryee said...

Most folks are speechless cause they don't know what to say. The kids at the schools we sub at love our hair. I don't mind educating them, especially the young ones. I let them touch my hair and show them the locking tool and all.

My dad of all people hates both mine and Jen's hair. He says it's nappy and he doesn't like it. What ever! I told him this morning that my hair is the longest it's ever been in my entire life. He had nothing to say about that. We told him we are happy and that's all that should matter. My mom doesn't like our hair either. We wish she'd get some Sisterlocks but her mind (mentality) is the only thing that's locked right now. Locked in the past. So I feel ya on the "except for family" quote.

Tra said...

Maryee,

I haver read this post a few times and will probably read it again. A lot of men miss out on a good thing by being brainwashed about some doggone hair. Keep doing your thing sis because one day the revolution will happen!

Tra

Maryee said...

Hey Tra,

Girlll, I had to find myself re-reading this also. It's very therapeutic. I know my "husband" when he comes will love me for alllll of me!!! Thanks for yo support!

Maryee

Sis. RJQueen10 said...

All I can say right now is WOW! This writing is so powerful, so complete and there is depth. Okay, let me go back and read it again!. I love it!

Sis. RJQueen10

MEE said...

Thank you Sis RJQueen10,

I haven't read that post in a good while and was "re-inspired" when I re-read it! Thanks for commenting and leading me back to my own inspiration of why this journey is soooooo good!!!! Wishing you all the best!!!

Maryee