Women outside of the African diaspora, please stop saying "rock your natural hair."
From straightening to color processing, we put our hair through a lot to achieve the looks we want. Rarely do we consider working with what we already have. Think about it: when was the last time you wore your hair as is? This season, we’re challenging you to embrace your hair and rock a style that works with your natural texture, not against it.
Not convinced? Just take a look at the three POPSUGAR staffers ahead who have each come to love their unique hair texture over the years and revealed their tips for showing it off. Whatever your hair type, their relatable stories and gorgeous no-fuss styles will inspire you to rethink it the next time you find yourself reaching for a hot tool.
This article isn’t all that important, but look at the women chosen to “rock their natural hair.”
Who thinks of these women when you hear the phrase natural hair? I just want to make a plea: Women outside of the African diaspora, please stop saying “rock your natural hair.” You can call it virgin. You can call it unprocessed. You can call it anything other than natural hair because that’s a movement for Black women.
I’m not saying this as part of an overreach of cultural appropriation accusations at all, because this has nothing to do with that. This isn’t the n-word conversation where the answer to “can I say it too?” is always an emphatic NO! from the majority of people. And I have no problem with women of all backgrounds embracing the hair as it sprouts from their heads without the addition of heat or chemicals. I support any trend where women aren’t doing damage to part of themselves to fit a beauty standard.
But. The women in these photos have never not been allowed to wear their hair without chemicals or damaging processes. There has never been a point in history these women couldn’t just wash and go, even if that meant a wash and go with a hair band. The hair types on these women are always acceptable in any business or social situation. They’ve never been denied a job because of their hair. They’ve never been told they’re aggressive or too political because of their hair. Their hair has never been illegal. (You can have a different conversation about countries where women have to cover their hair, but that applies to all women, not just women of a certain race, and it applies to all hair, not just hair that’s kinky, so the legality isn’t based on hair at all.)
Black women rocking their natural hair has nothing to do with white women learning to manage their frizz. Those are two separate conversations. One is about actually fitting into society and the other is about managing a beauty standard that always caters to women who look like you anyway. The natural hair movement is about re-teaching Black women how to care for their hair after all of that knowledge was lost to our people when we were dragged to this continent and forced to use sheep shears and banned from traditional African hairstyles. Natural hair blogs and messageboards and haircare lines aren’t just educational resources, but emotional ones as well, where Black women can discuss their struggles embracing their natural kinks and coils in a society where the beauty standard for hair is the women in these pictures instead. When non-Black women take up the charge of “rocking their natural hair” it dilutes the conversation and it makes it harder to connect. There are way more non-Black women than Black women in this country and they will drown out the voices who needed the support the most if allowed to.
So as a courtesy, find some other banner. The natural hair movement wasn’t started for y'all or by y'all and it’s not as integral to y'all’s culture or survival. So just use a different term. Once again, y’all saw something cute and catchy that Black people were doing, wanted to capitalize on it, and whitewashed the meaning out of it. Skipping your weekly blowout in the summer has nothing to do with taking the risk of being fired if you waltz into work without a mid-length sew-in and your coils on display instead. Find another way to share white girl hair tips. Please.
Edit: I really don’t get what’s so hard to understand about this.