November 09, 2011

Hair Length Obsession, Yirssi - Guest Blogger

I've never been obsessed with hair length. I shaved my head because my hair was outrageously damaged, and for that reason I've always been focused on hair health instead. The funny thing, is that my obsession with hair health (and it is an obsession, for example, I actually feel GUILTY when I don't put on my cap at night) has paid off because my hair has grown tremendously.
And the fact that it was growing was more than enough for me. When I had relaxed hair, it seemed as if my hair didn't really grow, and so when I saw that my hair was visibly growing, month by month, it was like magic to me.
Exhibit A
At 17
Exhibit B

At 20
 Exhibit C
At almost 22
Although that may seem like good growth, bear in mind a couple of things:
When I went natural I was considering two things: either A, cutting my hair at ear level again (it was shedding that much) or B, go natural.
And secondly, in about two years it grew about 2 inches. Check out how much my hair grew in less than two years when I went natural:

Nothing proves to me, more than these pics, that focusing on healthy hair pays off. The thing is, even though I'm not obsessed with hair growth, I do want long hair. Otherwise I wouldn't be documenting the growth. And when I look at other women with super long hair, I want it for myself.
But when I was on twitter, and @SwytSHA retweeted someone else's tweet that spoke of #teamnatural as obsessed with hair length, I had to stop and think. I really think there's something behind that. I've seen countless charts, contests, personal missions, etc, that talk about getting our hair to a specific length.
If I remember correctly, the tweet also said that if we are obsessed with hair length, then we haven't really let go of society's expectations. Let me tell you, I really agree with this one. To me, the hair length obsession stems from the fact that we see long hair almost everywhere we look. 90% of the time, beauty is associated with long hair. Not only that, but most black women we see on TV have long hair (or super short hair, like Wanda Sykes). And the ones that have short hair are never the heroines, the sex symbols, etc.
If this is the case, then this is very dangerous. This goes right along with the "good hair/bad hair" debate. Think about it. What did the women with "good hair" look like? They had long hair.
And more than that, I'm willing to go as far as associating it with the "light skin/dark skin" issue, and the "skinny/thick/fat" issue. Because all of these are what the society feeds us. I may be wrong, but in most society's that I've looked at that are black and have been colonized/enslaved the epitome of beauty is "Thick, with light skin and long hair." It's the same in afro-caribbean cultures, in African countries, and here, within our black community.
Now, I may have gotten too deep for what this blog is usually about, but I believe this strongly. And I feel that a lot of you have strong feelings about at least part of the points I present.
I'm going to end this post by mentioning that saying that goes "minorities are like crabs in a bucket." We keep pulling ourselves down. And as long as us, as women, keep feeding into society's standards, and keep focusing on those standards of beauty instead of our own normal and NATURAL beauty, we will never push society forward into loving our own brand of beauty exactly as it is.
What do you think? Do you agree with anything I've said above? Or do you disagree with it all?? Sound off below!
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