So, a huge number of people have been asking me why I cut my hair, and I've never known how to answer that question in more than a handful of words. So when people who haven't seen me in a while ask me, I will be directing you here, to this blog post.
For those that don't know, my hair has been permed since the age of about... I want to say 11? and that's a very common practice for girls with Afro-Caribbean hair. Some start doing it from as young as 5. The perm is applied, which chemically makes the hair straight. The perm is a very harsh and damaging process, and it has to be applied to the roots every 2-4 months to keep hair straight.
In black culture, perming hair has been done for many, many years. Some people will say they do it to make their hair more 'manageable' or because it gives them more styling options. I came to realize myself, that I was doing it to conform to a white, westernized standard of beauty, and I was sick of it.
I was sick of feeling that feminine beauty has to be long hair, straight hair, it doesn't! Beauty is many things, and I wanted to challenge those norms. I also wanted to stop damaging my hair so much with the constant perming and straightening and curling. I now use no heat, and my hair is in much better condition because of it.
There's something in the black hair community called 'Going natural' which essentially means you cut off your chemically straightened ends and let your natural hair grow through, people also refer to it as 'the big chop'. I did something called 'transitioning' which is where you allow your Afro roots to grow through for a couple months, and then you cut off the straight ends and you're left with a 'TWA' or Tiny Winy Afro - that's what I did, I transitioned.
Some girls transition for years, so their roots are as long as possible before they cut off their straightened ends. For me, that would just be delaying the inevitable, so I transitioned for 6 months.
Why didn't I big chop? because I was genuinely terrified of what people would think, In our society short hair, and short natural black hair at that, is not deemed pretty, not by a lot of people. I want little black girls to see me walking down the street and know that her hair is beautiful just the way it is. Now that I've had my TWA for a while now, I can honestly say that to the people who don't like my hair? Fuck the fuck off, I don't care. Its not your hair, its not your life, don't concern yourself with how I look and how it doesn't conform to your standard of beauty.
Here's a more concise list of why I went natural:
- The damage that perms and hair straighteners inflict
- To show people that natural black hair is beautiful
- So that black girls see themselves reflected in society
- Because I fucking wanted to
There you have it, I've never been asked a question more in my life. I hope this helps to clarify things for you all. Natural hair blog posts coming soon, peace out xoxo