Saturday, August 05, 2006

Who influences who the most? Men or Women?

I was lurking in Lovinlocs yahoo group and saw a discussion about who influences who where women were concerned. The question came from brother Tai, a blogging and fotki friend who's sported natural dreads for over a decade. Here's what Tai said:

ok, i'll put it out there. i'd really like to hear from the sistas
honestly, H-O-N-E-S-T-L-Y!

besides yourself, whom are u most concerned with such things as
personal appearance and hair styles? i'm not speaking on the "i'm
going out and wanna look good" tip. i'm talking about who says what
to u, and how much meaning or influence does it have on u, for u.

i made the point earlier that it seemed women were more influenced by
their female family/friends/co-workers, etc. and therefore i believe
women do play a much larger role on them and their decisions
regarding appearances than men. conversely, men do NOT seem to be as
tied to each other, eg., i don't care or give much thought to what my
boys think of my hair, clothing etc....i do what i want to do, and
they do what they want to do. i will say tho that i DO care what
women/sistas think about my appearance, and so will most other men
admit as well.

so, sistas, enlighten a brotha.....

or, for the male members out there, feel free to chime in as well.


This was my answer:

Hey Tai,

Just droppin' in from lurkmode for a moment to respond to your
question. IMHO, women and girls alike become more concerned about
their appearance from other women because that's who we are around
mostly. Girls look at their mothers, sisters, cousins, and friends
and a natural comparison starts taking place. It gets bad when
boasting about what "who" has becomes an issue to the one who "has
not". That sense of belonging starts at an early age and for some
never goes away.

Another thing is we are always trying to "fit" in whether we admit it
or not or realize it is happening unconsciencely. I've had most all
of my boyfriends just "love" whatever I did to my hair in the past. I
think when we look neat and cute, it really doesn't matter what we
come up long as it's neat and cute...or sexy for that
matter. Guys love a woman who takes care of herself. They just
haven't been exposed to enough women taking taking care of themselves
in a more natural way, especially when it comes to hair. I'm not in a
relationship now, but I know if I were in one, the brother probably
wouldn't be able to keep his hands out of my hair. It contagious!! (LOL)

As an adult, more drama about my hair came from female friends and
family members than males (with the exception of my dad). But I will
say that I hung out with a few natural sistahs, and one in particular
cut all her long permed hair off and went natural while we were in
collage. Making that bold statement was hard for her at first, but
her true essence rose and pretention started to diminish. She started
asking herself the hard questions we women avoid about natural beauty
and hung around to get some answers from herself and her spirit.
Going natural changed her and set her apart from everyone else trying
to "look" the part to "fit" in. Now she had a strong influence in her
life which was her older sister, who sported a fade for years. Today
they both have fades, both are happily married, with children, and
working in banking and education.

Their mother has worn her hair relaxed for as long as I've known her. I can
only guess she probably has made her feelings known to her daughters, but to their advantage, she raised strong black women who weren't afraid to color outside the lines.

My sister and I are both locked and coming home to Texas (Central)
where we have to drive to Dallas (1 1/2 hrs) to get our hair
maintained has been quite interesting. We are strong and could care
less about what anyone has to say about our hair. She wore dreads for
10 years. I on the other hand had issues with not wanting to embrace
my "natural" me and it took longer to erase those negative tapes in my
head about me, my appearance and my hair. But thank God, I's FREE
now! All LOCKED UP, but FREE.


And lastly, here's his response to my response:

hi mary, and thanks for an excellent response to my
question, and i appreciate it. a few things i wanted
to say in response is u where u said:

"women and girls alike become more concerned about
their appearance from other women because that's who
we are around mostly"

but that's the same way it is with men too, we spend
alot of OUR time around each other as well. and yet,
it's u lovely SISTAS that we are concerned with in
ALOT of our dressing/appearance behaviours. from the
shoes we wear to the way we style and groom our heads,
is often done to impress U.

we do enjoy just about anything u ladies do to
yourselves, as long as it's, as u put it, neat and
cute. but what's even more attractive is confidence,
and it's just something about seeing a "natural" black
woman that stirs something within the black man. not
all of us go crazy over the "beyonce's" of the world.
yeah, she's attractive, but does she stand out more
than an india? my opinion is "no", b/c the beyonce's
come a dime a dozen. and i'm only using her as an
example b/c more women seek to emulate her than they
do india.

and lastly, perhaps more women should be concerned
more with those men who DO embrace natural sistas than
those who don't. if i were a black woman, i would NOT
WANT a man who couldn't dig the "natural" me. perhaps
more sistas need to think about the guys that DO get
it, instead of focusing on those brothas who don't.

continue to be FREE!

Does anyone else feel the same or different?? Just curious.


Anonymous said...

Hmm...I think that as women we do care a lot about how our sister's view us but I think more times than not we make appearance decisions on how we think men will view least I did.

As for Tai's comment about being more concerned with the brother that appreciate natural sistah's and not so much concern with those that don't....well that is easier to do when you make your natural decision as a single woman. When you are married on your natural journey it is a bit more complicated but definitely still attainable (lol)!

Maryee said...

Thanks for your feedback Tra. A lot of times we hand over our decisions about a lot of things in life to other people and society's definition of what we should look like or how we should be. And you're right, that includes men's opinions and definitions.

Since I'm single and natural, I'm sure I'm not likely to attract a man who is "superficial" because we would clash in a lot of ways when it comes to me in my natural state. I almost married a guy like that. That was two months prior to me getting locked. I should send him a pic of me. I bet he would "shudder" at the sight of my locked hair. He may have even frowned upon it if we did get married. Thanks again, Tra! Stay natural and stay locked!