whatblackmenwant
…Inside The Black Man's World
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March 23, 2012

#TeamNatural: Are We Brothers on Board?

Natural Hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“…men who approach me tend to be more well-rounded and mature” she told me.

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



About the Author

sgaither
Award-winning college journalist. Serial Blogger. Old School R&B fanatic. Stonecold Gentleman.




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4 Comments


  1. Jessica

    Great post, Steven.

    Since I went natural three years ago, the response has been mixed. Indeed, I attracted gentleman who were more well rounded, but I also received my fair share of snide remarks. “The curly look is cute, but you look sexier with straight hair.” or one of my personal favorites, “So when are you going to go get your hair done?” I’ve even had a man threaten to break up with me over it.

    Needless to say, some men just prefer that “normal” look. But I feel so much more confident and beautiful with my natural hair. I wouldn’t change it for anybody. And that confidence seems to attract more of the right kind of men, anyway.


  2. Leave my womb and my hair alone is how I feel about this article and all the others that try to delve into the psyche of black women. The bombarding of black women has become like bullying to me. I love black men and glad yall love us. Just don’t touch my hair and I won’t touch your radio… deal?

    keep up the great work WBMW.com!


    • Adena,

      The point of this article was not to bombard black women, it was simply to examine the effects of a trend that’s been building the past couple of years. I was genuinely interested on what, if any effect it had on the dating lives of the women I talked to. Definitely wasn’t trying to get my Rick Santorum on lol.Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, nothing can take away from the beautiful diversity amongst black women! And we love you back…Thanks for commenting!


  3. Ivy

    I think it’s great you took the time to notice this ‘so-called’ trend of going natural. I went natural in 1996. When there were not as many women doing it as there are today. I do agree the trend has grown significantly. I’d say over the last five years with more media embracing the ‘fro in images and mainstream commercial print advertising, it has made women more comfortable with making the decision.
    For me, the decision was not about a movement or making a statement. It was really just something I wanted to do. Inspired by Lauryn Hill, after seeing her perform with the Fugees at HMV at 333 Yonge, Toronto(back when there was a small stage and they used to have artist performances) my decision was made. Despite warnings from my modelling agent that I would have a harder time getting work, I still felt compelled to make the change. I was afraid of the challenges going natural would present but I did it anyway.
    As for the type of men. I noticed that I immediately was approached by men with cornrows, dreadlocks and big afros. The men who were more conservative didn’t approach as much anymore. That was the initial experience, of course in the nineties there weren’t many of us naturalistas. I had an ex-boyfriend tell me I looked ridiculous and that I should go back and straighten my hair. I was not shocked by what he said. I had heard that other times from strangers.
    But as the years have passed and more women have made the change, people are realizing that it is something to see as beautiful too. Beauty is diverse and it should be about embracing it all rather than enforcing one standard.



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