Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rant: When he says you have "good hair"

So a few days ago, I went out with a gentleman who hadn't seen my natural hair before, as when we met, I had it flat-ironed and covered with a hat.

Anyway, he sees me and says, "That's all of your hair? got that good hair."

*palm smacks forehead*

Of course, I corrected him and said, "All healthy hair is good hair, and I despise the 'good hair' comments," and left it at that. He may have meant it as a compliment, but its origins stem from hatred, imo.

Fast forward to the end of the evening, and him mentioning how only certain types of Black hair are manageable and how I have "wake up and go" hair, and that I wouldn't understand. Ummm.....if any of you all know me, you KNOW how that burned me up, but I remained composed. I explained to him that I know many MANY ladies with highly textured hair who manage JUST FINE. Even went over a SLEW of styles that other ladies have mastered on their hair that I wouldn't be able to rock. That it boils down to patience and really understanding our hair. That the whole "good hair" mess is just our way of saying the closer, or rather, LOOSER our hair is(the more non-black our background is assumed to be....based upon physical aesthetics), the better. Then he mentioned something about him having Indian in his family, but his hair and sister's hair not looking like mine.

*double palm-smacks forehead*

This attitude is HIGHLY FRUSTRATING. But considering he's the only male amongst multiple sisters, his attitude is only reflective of the attitude of the ladies he's encountered, which is even sadder.

How many of you have encountered this? How did you deal with it?

Natural Urbanista


BreukelensFinest said...

I think that you handled the situation well. Many times people get frustrated at the topic and just go off about how there is no such thing as good hair and end up doing more harm than good. Educating people can be a long and frustrated process, but clearly still necessary

Tiffany said...

Is it hatred or ignorance? Some men really don't understand the hair of Black women. Education is all you can do to help, shoot, I have two boys (ages 14 & 11), I'm wondering if I need to sit them down and have this talk. Ya know I might just do that...

KP said...

@Tiffany Ignorance on HIS end, and possibly hatred AND ignorance in regards to his sisters or the women who've influenced his opinion about highly textured hair.

If he hears nothing but negativity about Black hair and it needing to be "managed" and not understood, it can be a little bit of both. When you hear disdain from women about their hair, it can also be coming from a place of frustration, but it's likely(generally speaking) something deeper.

Oh and trust me, I know some men don't know any better. lol But his ignorance and him trying to tell ME what I know annoyed the heck outta me! LOL!

@BreukelensFinest I tried, but I don't think he was hearing OR listening. He wasn't open to it because he kept countering me with a "but". Some people you can have this conversation with. Not sure he's one of them. lol

SoulfulSista said...

When people tell me I have "good hair" I just tell them "Thank you. I work hard to keep it healthy." Then I (try to) keep it moving. If they come back with more and start talking about it's good because it's curly, then I give it to them just like you did. Looser texture doesn't equal good; healthy hair equals good. And what always shuts them up is when I say if looser hair = good hair, then i guess my darker skin tone = bad skin. Cause to me it's the same thing. What's further from black/nappy is good; what's closer to black/nappy is bad. For some reason people feel free to talk about bad hair and good hair, but they don't wanna talk color issues. That usually ends the conversation. :)

Nikki Monet said...

Im late commenting on this but it reminded me of something my sister said to me once. My daughter is two and her hair is a mix of probably 3C/4A hair if Im using hair-typing and we were talking about it and I said, "Im not gonna perm it." My sister was like, "Yeah, of course not yet." and I was like, "No, never." She looked at me funny and said, "Never? Whatever. She'll just do it herself when she gets like 12." Why? Why does she have to do it herself? Why cant she be happy with her hair the way it is? I just ignored her.
I agree with you that I see styles on people with courser hair than mine that I can only wish I could wear but my hair doesn't have enough thickness or body. Every individual's healthy hair is good hair!

Nicole J. Butler said...

I just tell people "I'm not with all of that good hair stuff. If you want hair, and you got hair, good." The end. If the person has other questions or comments, it goes further, but I no longer "preach" like I did when being natural was new to me. No need. We find it when we're ready.