Actress and Comedian Monique recently fell into the spotlight after making statements about how Black women should wear their hair, dress, and carry themselves in public. Much of her beliefs seem to stem from older schools of thought about what's considered respectable and exactly who that respectability is for. You can watch her full statement here:
I'm of the personal belief that people can carry themselves however they want, but it did lead me to think about how much stigma is attached to Black women's hair. As someone who has had many different hairstyles, I thought I'd do a run down of what my hair has said about me over the years according to stereotypes and how it has affected how I’ve been treated.
Disclaimer: I come from a family with naturally long hair so I have never tried or felt the need to use weave. It also has not been my personal preference after cutting my hair.
Long & relaxed
I wore this style in my teenage years so the perception was different based on my age, but in general, this style is associated with being professional (we’ll get to more on that later), well kept, and well to-do. This is basically the style of all the modern day “bad b*tches”. With this style, I definitely got the most male attention and least amount of questions from white people lol.
This is the sassy look. People assumed I was fun and flirty. I got less male attention, but more compliments from women. This style is perceived as being for the fun friend whose always down for a good time. Ironically enough, this is when I gained a lot of new female friends lol.
This is from when I decided to go natural. The is the strong black woman look. This looks says I’m confident in who I am and don’t need validation. The male attention was pretty much non-existent during this phase, but I was also really focused on school lol.
This is the activist look. This hair says that this sister (word choice chosen carefully) is very comfortable with her natural and most likely can’t be told what to do lol. People take you a lot more seriously with a style like this because it’s so undeniably there, full, and Black. You may get asked a lot of questions surrounding race and politics and find yourself in less diverse spaces.
This is the sexy natural look. When I transitioned into locs, it was for 2 reasons: I was tired of the maintenance required for long natural hair and I wanted to look more professional in business spaces. Little did my 21-year-old self know that locs are mostly viewed as unprofessional by the “mainstream”. On the flip side, locs are interpreted differently in the Black community. Locs is when people start calling you queen and expect you to be a hotep of sorts. It’s also the “sexy” style of natural styles so male attention comes back.
Side note: this was one of my absolutely favorite hairstyles because of the diversity and journey.
The is the sexy freaky lesbian look. After I cut my hair like this, my sexuality immediately came into question lol. I started being told I was a lesbian from religious AND non-religious people (thanks for informing me? lol). I started getting hit on by women and asked if I had a girlfriend. It’s a whole thing lol. But I also started getting hit on by older men and this look also apparently says that I have a freaky side. *Shrugs* Who knows? lol
At the end of the day, hair is as much as a choice as anything else. One thing I’ll never do is base my hair decisions on anyone else’s perceptions of me. Whether I’m baldheaded, long haired, or covered up in a bonnet. My hair is all mine and that is all there is to it.
Comment below! How do you rock your hair and why?
Until next time,
Ms. Melody Monroe +*<3