Let’s put an end to hair shaming

Group of black women with different hair types. Photo courtesy Denyelledbeauty.com

Have you ever worn your hair out and someone said to you, “You have good hair,” or, “What are you mixed with?”

I often see these types of comments floating around on social media and I have also been a victim of them. Every time someone asks me one of those questions I think to myself, what is good hair?

First and foremost, assuming someone is mixed because they have a finer curl pattern is not OK. Second, when you use terms like “good hair” when referencing someone’s hair, you are discriminating against people who don’t share that same hair type. I know people usually have good intentions and think that they are complimenting someone, but it can come off extremely offensive.

Why is it people’s first instinct to think that I am mixed with another race? Could it be because my hair texture is on the finer side? Is it my skin complexion?

From personal experience, I get offended when someone asks me that because I am not mixed. Both of my parents are African American, yet people always tell me I look like I’m Latina when I wear my hair in a slick ponytail. Not that I have anything against Latina women, but I would rather people just stop making assumptions about me based off my hair type.

I once did an experiment among some people I knew to see if my theory was true. I messaged each person three pictures of three different women with natural hair, all with different complexions. Each woman had a different hair type: type 2, type 3 and type 4. I asked everyone to pick who had the best hair and I was really shocked by their answers.

Natural hair type chart. Photo courtesy curl.biz

Almost none of them picked the girl with type 4 hair — basically, everyone picked the girl with the finest hair type and lightest complexion. I also asked them to tell me why they chose who they chose, and they all said something along the lines of “her hair is more tamed than the other girl.”

Let’s face it, at this point, social norms are simply getting exhausting. Yes, I blame social norms because this issue is way deeper than people think, which is even more exhausting. Ultimately, the simple solution would be to just try to find ways to compliment someone’s hair without putting down women with other hair types instead of using terms like “good hair” or “bad hair.” There are many things that need to be left in 2020, and I think one of those things should be hair shaming.