March 30, 2011

Don't Tell Me To Relax

Don't tell me to relax!  I tweeted this awhile back and got a great response.  Don't you hate when you are voicing your opinion on a topic you feel strongly about and someone tells you to "relax"?  It is usually their attempt to provide some calm in an uncomfortable situation.  Instead, it only fuels the fire because now my sensitive nature feels the need to defend my passion. 
I feel the same way about my hair.  We in the natural hair community pride ourselves on our choice to remain relaxer free and some feel that somehow we have solved the hunger crisis or the war on drugs by doing so.  Do not get me wrong, I am extremely happy with my decision and when you are happy you tend to want to tell everyone.  I decided to ask some of my relaxed sisters why they felt so passionately about their decision to relax.  I read somewhere that approximately 80% of all black women relax their hair. Here's why:
  1. No Haireducation - "I don't know to take care of my hair in it's natural state"
  2. Easier to maintain and manage - "no woman wants to take the time to deal with all those tangles and knots!"
  3. Fear of not looking attractive in natural hairstyles - "I dont have "good hair" so my hair won't look right"
  4. Style Preference - "I don't like curls, I simply prefer my hair straight"
  5. Conventional thinking/ Life long beliefs about relaxers -coily, kinky hair has historically been viewed as negative
  6. Right of Passage - once you grow out of the pig tail stage, the next step is having the hair relaxed
Clearly, I choose to not relax my hair, however, I recognize and respect the fact there are those who feel just as passionately about their decision to relax.

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