In case you missed it, Sanaa Lathan has gone full Amber Rose for an upcoming role. With her chop, she added her name to the ever growing list of celebs joining #TeamNoHair. Though buzzcuts are trending in Hollywood, I’m still adjusting to my big chop several months later.
Talking ‘Bout Good & Bad HairSeptember 7, 2017
In the moment, cutting my hair was not such a big deal. Every moment since has been a roller coaster of emotions. When I’m not feeling badass and empowered by my hair, I’m two steps away from putting on a Cher wig. In a 24 hour span, I go from feeling myself to fearing every polished surface. While it sounds a bit over the top, this journey has been one of the most healing experiences in my life.
I have never in my life felt ugly. There have been times where I felt unwanted or undesirable, but I have never believed I was ugly. In fact, I am one of those girls who thinks most men find her irresistible. Maybe, I got too many hugs as a kid. Since cutting my hair, my unshakeable confidence has been a lot more shakeable. Instead of feeling like Sanaa, I’m 16 getting overlooked in favor of the light skinned, wavy haired girl next to me.
Growing up black in America always comes down to two things, your skin color, and hair texture. The most sought after girls are always fair skinned and usually have soft, wavy hair. Girls like Zendaya, Paula Patton, and Zoe Kravitz are pretty because they are biracial. (I mean they are all stunning but hang with me through this.) Even girls like Beyoncé and Rhianna who are light-skinned but obviously black are more desirable than say Lupita, who is bomb AF. This obsession with hair and color is a bitter remnant of generations of hatred and oppression. While my parents tried their best to instill a deep sense of self-love in me to guard against the colorism I would face, the world taught me better.
In high school and in college, I was “pretty for a brown girl” or the “hot black girl” at the bar. I was beautiful despite my color. A part of my beauty lay in my straight hair that blew in the wind with a fresh roller set. Even after I went natural, with my hair silked to the gawds men followed me for blocks to tell me how gorgeous I was. If I’m being 100% honest, I lived for this attention even when I hated it. Knowing that despite America’s feelings brown skinned women I was considered “traditionally pretty” made me feel like the exception. And who doesn’t want to feel exceptional? Now, after cutting my hair, men do not talk to me and I’m far from exceptional. Or at least I feel that way sometimes.
To be fair, I can’t say how much of the “men do not talk to me” is me and how much is them. I can say that I do not feel as sexy or desirable without a headful of hair to play with. (I blame Western culture for teaching me that long hair equals sexy.) When you don’t feel sexy, you aren’t perceived as sexy or desirable. On the other hand, guy friends have told me that a woman with short hair is intimidating. Especially when the woman with short hair is a black woman rocking a natural. She’s seen as confident and not one to be played with. As a result, men who can’t deal with that run the other way, praise God. I can’t do a damn thing about them but I can get a hold of me.
Prior to this entire experience, I had no idea how tightly I held to traditional beauty standards. You know, the ones not a single woman on earth can live up to without a plastic surgeon. My lack of awareness extended to how I allowed those standards to define me. I was beautiful when I fit the standard and undesirable when I didn’t. I allowed other people to dictate what my beauty was, instead of defining it for myself.
Every day I wake up with short, kinky hair, I learn to love myself because of it. It connects me to generations of women who overcame every obstacle so I can be whatever it is I am. My hair is mine, and if I don’t start thinking it’s sexy who else will? Suffice it to say, I won’t be buying a wig anytime soon.