I noticed a trend around three or four years ago, more like a movement, taking place on top of the heads of Black Women around the country. After years of relaxing their hair by burning chemicals into their scalp, many of my friends and associates are amongst the throngs of women who made the decision to “go natural.” The movement has also caught on with celebrities like Janelle Monae and Solange Knowles. There are now websites, blogs and seminars directed towards members of what has become known as #TeamNatural
Whether these women decided to make this fundamental change for financial, political or health-motivated reasons, it appears that this organic trend is here to stay. I’ve often wondered what, if any, effect this has on a woman’s romantic life. So like any good journalist, I asked! One coworker who went natural last summer told me she has definitely noticed a difference in the type of men that approached her.
“They tend to be more well-rounded and mature.” she told me. “Men are always coming up to me and telling me how much they love the natural look.”
I have to say I was totally intrigued by her response. I was thinking more along the lines of which men had previously pursued her. I took to Facebook to see if any of my other natural friends agreed. I got plenty of great responses, but one in particular caught my eye.
“As for the caliber of men, I will say that there is a level of maturity that comes with respecting someone for being naturally beautiful, different & willing to go against society’s norm. Men are definitely intrigued by a woman confident enough to rock natural hair.”
The more I thought about her statement, the more I realized the weight and validity of it. Since the first Africans arrived in The New World, Caucasian standards of beauty have been enforced on us. Not just that lighter skin was better, but also that long, flowing hair was the standard of female beauty. We temporarily challenged it during the 60s and 70s, but for the better part of my lifetime, going natural was considered “eccentric.”
I also polled a few brothers on the natural trend, and surprisingly they had nothing negative to say at all. (Maybe it was because they were afraid of the swarm attack from #TeamNatural but, that’s just speculation.) In fact, most of the brothers seemed to prefer it, not only for it’s beauty, but also for it’s…umm…tugability. I think that it does take a more mature man to look past the traditional standards of beauty, which may be why many of our more…simplistic brothers may be less likely to approach them.
Whatever the reason for the movement towards natural hair and whatever reason men enjoy it, I’m proud that my generation is embracing the fact that black hair can be both diverse and beautiful. Though it may just be hair, I think it says a lot about how we as a culture seem to be moving closer to a day when we come up with our own standards of beauty instead of simply accepting those pushed onto us by society at large.
Missed my last post? The Prerogative to be Provocative