In school, my hair was adored by many, a situation that changed as soon as I left London for smaller, “whiter” locations in the UK.
I remember that most of my friends had straight hair but as soon as they would notice some sort of texture they would straighten it almost immediately.
These weren’t direct attacks against me and my curls but witnessing such situations made me internalise the idea that texture in hair has to be suppressed. I am glad I am now beyond this point. I am in love with my hair, I got there eventually.
My hair does require more time than straight hair obviously, but it’s through experimenting and learning more about it that my love for it has been growing.
But this acceptance journey isn’t only linked to my hair, it helps me being more appreciative of my status as well, as a woman, as a woman of colour.
Growing up, I could notice that straight hair was almost like a commodity the masses wanted to possess. A commodity tied with the notions of status, race and identity.
Straight hair was also strongly linked to length.
Let’s not forget that we live in a society where hair length often defines our level of femininity. Having length is by definition being a woman.
No one should be entitled to define what femininity and beauty is and I am glad to see this idea being more ingrained in women’s heads nowadays.