This one’s been marinating inside of me for a minute…
I’m baffled by the concept of beauty these days. I’ve always believed that what makes one different makes them beautiful, but I recognized that there’s a pressure, particularly on young women, to conform to a set “standard” to be “beautiful.” A certain hairstyle, a certain weight, a certain way of dress are seen as acceptable and right, and any deviations are seen as the norm. Strange thing is, we’re all a bit of a deviation if you ask me. Take myself for example: I’ve got a big crazy fro, I’m a bit overweight (working on that though), and I don’t get gussied up like the average girl, mostly because I’m not all that sure of what to “do” (anybody wanna be my big sister?). When I got my last relaxer 4 years ago and announced it, all I could get in return from people is “when are you gonna do your hair?” or “what’s up with that mop on your head?” or better yet, the unsolicited yanking, pulling and touching (especially on the occasion I opt to have it straightened, to see if it’s “all mine”). For the sake of keeping this a bit brief, I’d rather tell my hair story another time. Just know there’s a story, and have your popcorn ready.
It’s funny, because with all of these stories of celebrities making changes and being scrutinized (ie Solange Knowles’ infamous public cut (left), anything Rihanna or Beyonce does, Jennifer Aniston’s hairstyle which was popular enough to have a name, the Rachel (right)[by the way, wtheck was up with that?]), it makes me wonder: why do we let these societal standards define who we are? I think of Chris Rock’s upcoming documentary “Good Hair” (a phrase which pisses me beyond the highest possible level of pisstivity, because who determines if your hair is “good” or “bad,” if God made it to grow out of your head as such? For those unfamiliar with the documentary (or the term), here’s the trailer:
I’m kind of intrigued to see how relevant this will be, considering Rebbund Al is in it, and no, I wouldn’t touch his hair. It seems to be a good idea on the forefront, but I wonder exactly who the target audience is.
I know there are many people who get it, that you are who you are, and we should just embrace that no matter what. On the other side, you have, well, a mix of people who I hate to put in a box, because this will always be a never ending list… But for today, I kind of want to focus on those who make embracing your natural beauty seem so easy. Let’s look at the college professor in Georgia who adopted a child from Ethiopia, and with no prior knowledge of how to care for African hair, used love and patience to begin shaping in his daughter the idea that she is beautiful. For a gallery of photos like the ones to the side, click here. For the full story, click here.
It’s so nice to see stories like that, and from a non-African American family at that! The time spent learning speaks volumes of that father’s love. That “supply drawer” is nothing to balk about , either! I hope that one day when I have some curly haired cuties of my own, I will be able to impart into them the message of loving yourself as you are. Sure, I’ll accept the choices they make along the way, maybe even participate in some myself. The important thing is to teach them that who you are on the outside and on the inside are the same, but different. That’s one less thing they’ll be in therapy for later with a wacky mum like me! 🙂
Anyway, what are some of your ideals on this whole “standard of beauty” thing, and what do you do to combat it, if you choose to do so? Do you have children, and if so, how do you impart the message that they are beautiful?