Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is being "Natural"?


I know you’ve either witnessed or partaken in the questioning and/or argument over what constitutes being a “Natural”. The “how natural you REALLY gotta be before you can attach the label saying you’re such, and if you don’t meet the nappy requirements by those who’ve appointed themselves the all knowing naturals, you’re exiled,” argument. LOL!

I’m being dramatic, but it really gets silly after awhile. Almost as bad as the good hair/bad hair mentality, where if your hair is a certain way, it’s “good” and anything outside of that is “bad”.

Let me break it down for ya. *steps onto soapbox*

If we use commercially produced products with ANY man-made/laboratory created ingredients, technically, we’re not “Natural” because there’s nothing natural about the synthetics we’re using.

But then you might say, “Well, those products may not change the texture/structure of your hair, so your hair is still natural.”

I say, “Why are we still trying to categorize what’s considered natural?”

So, if you color your hair and it doesn’t change your texture, can you still consider yourself natural? It’s not your natural color, right? Still contains synthetic ingredients being deposited into your hair. What’s “natural” about that?


My point isn’t to further fuel the debate. It’s merely to show how utterly ridiculous it can become. The incessant NEED to validate or invalidate what is or isn’t becomes redundant after awhile, and rather counterproductive and separatist.

Bottom line is this: Stop focusing so much on what OTHER people label themselves. Being natural is interpreted differently for different people. It’s not right or wrong, IMO. It’s all about perspective and perception. Yes, it can be deceptive (to some) if someone does a bunch of things to their hair that changes its natural appearance, but that’s not your burden to bear. And yes, it can be misleading to those who may use those individuals as inspirations. But that’s when self-love and acceptance eventually comes into play, and regardless of what’s used (on their hair or not), that person will eventually (hopefully) come to love everything about themselves. Including what grows out of their scalp.

To me, going against societal conditioning/norms is far more important and revolutionary than anything. Who would’ve thought being YOU and embracing yourself as you were made would be considered revolutionary? Maybe I’m just being a total optimist, but anyone that can go from relaxing their hair all of their lives to wanting/learning to embrace their kinks is a GOOD THING. You can’t change years of brainwashing and conditioning overnight. You can’t expect to have folks all of sudden “loving” the hair they were born with when they’re accustomed to living the lye. Encourage our sisters; don’t tear them down because they may not have experienced that natural hair epiphany that YOU HAVE. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s perceptions and goals are different. Everyone’s MOTIVATIONS for going natural are going to be different. The ultimate goal should be in helping each other achieve the healthiest hair possible, not getting involved in natural hair hierarchies and semantics!

*steps off soapbox* ;)


Ashley said...

I totally agree with everything you said in this post. Instead of trying to tear each other down for we are/aren't doing, we should be that support system that we ALL need or will need as some point. I've really enjoyed reading your blog so far. Keep up the great work!!!

KP said...

Thank you SO MUCH! The argument gets so tired. We all just need to be supportive of each other, and leave the drama elsewhere.

And I will continue to try to put out good pieces for as long as folks enjoy reading them. :)

Vida Starr said...

That last paragraph really hit the nail on the head!!!!! Great post!

KP said...

Thanks, Vida Starr! I think some ladies spend so much time on differentiating "naturalness" that they forget about just being overall supportive of each woman's personal journey!