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Why can't my hair be real?

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In the last 48 hours, I have had separate conversations with four acquaintances, all white females (three at my workplace and one at my children’s school) about my hair. Let me preface this by saying I have 5-year old locs, and for the past few months, have been getting more and more into the spirit of do-it-yourself (DIY) styling and experimentation (check out the Loc Style Library section on my blog LiaWorldTraveler.com, to see what I'm talking about). In this particular instance, my hair was styled into a cute high bun with some faux bangs, a fairly easy style to execute and certainly attention grabbing, which are ultimately the goals of any good hairstyle. Getting back to my acquaintances, they all made comments about my hair, praising the style, expressing how fancy it was, how versatile it seemed — as in good for the office and a night on the town — and how elaborate it appeared. Then, in the same breath, they negated their compliments by asking if the hair was my own.

*Cue the record scratch*

Photo: tumblr
Photo: tumblr
Photo: Tumblr

What, are you serious?

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with women who wear weaves, add extensions, don wigs, dye their hair or other types of hair enhancements. Plenty of women of ALL races do and/or wear all of the above. Also, this is not a criticism of my acquaintances either. Their curiosity was innocent, and I understand that.  My issue is with the default assumption that my hair (black female hair) is fake or that if a black female is wearing long hair, it must be extensions or not her own. This clearly isn’t the case in many instances and generally isn’t a question that should be asked. Many black women I know take exception to questions surrounding the realness of their hair, most likely because, for the most part, no one asks other women whether they have hair extensions or are wearing a weave/wig. Admittedly, many black women do use weaves, wigs and extensions and have even taken it to the level where black hair has become an art form. There are many reasons why women opt to wear/use fake hair. Chief among these reasons is the fact that hair enhancements look good, and once in place are relatively easy to maintain, allowing more time to focus on other more important daily life activities and responsibilities, instead of on primping and preening. However, despite the prominence of the usage of hair enhancements by black women, that doesn’t mean black women should face more scrutiny or flak for doing so, or are somehow more open to being questioned about their hairstyling choices. Bottom line? Take pride in your appearance, check your assumptions at the door, and don’t ask inappropriate questions like “is that your real hair?"
Living. Loving. Learning. Writing. Website: liaworldtraveler.comFacebookTwitter

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