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August 17, 2021
Hair straightening or culture assimilation?

It’s no secret that dating whilst black still comes with its challenges. One lady wonders whether straightening her 7 year natural hair for a date is a betrayal to our ancestors who fought for our representation.

“He is attracted to black women he just prefers the straighter hairstyles.”


Dating whilst black can be a very emotional place for those of us who have experienced rejection which has stemmed from the colour of our skin. Racisms’ many undertones is unmistakable present within our dating world, from our hair to our features even the hue of our shade. We are either too natural or too dark to be desirable. Thats not to say that you can’t successfully navigate the dating world whilst black, but wheeeyy that **ish  isn’t easy.  One lady wonders whether considering to straighten her 7 year natural hair for her date is taking it too even if she know that’s his preference.

The question


So I have an upcoming date with someone well off. We both like each other and he simply prefers black women with straight hair. All of his exes and partners have been black women with different hair preferences so its not y'know, a race thing. He is attracted to black women he just prefers the straighter hairstyles. We've been talking for about a year and we're going to start dating pretty soon. He made some changes for me and I think its only fair to meet him in the middle. I'm considering straightening my hair. I've been natural, heat-free for 7 years. I'm terrified to straighten my full head so I was going to get a sew in or possibly a perm. I know heat damage isn't really reversible so I'm either going all-in for a few years or staying natural. When my hair was straight, I do remember the compliments and such I used to get. Now, I hardly receive any compliments. I'm worried about losing my identity in this. I know straightening hair is cultural assimilation and it bothers me to think about it. I feel like I'm betraying my ancestors who bled for my right to unapologetically be who I am today.



As you can imagine the response to this question were quite heated

#1


I’m just going to say this: If he liked you for you, he would’ve liked your hair as it is. Don’t waste your money, time and your self esteem being someone you aren’t. You aren’t any of his exes, and if they chose to have straight hair, that’s wonderful, but they aren’t YOU. I think you should find someone who adores you and your hair that you’ve worn happily heat free for almost 10 years. I’m sorry, but your friend can get bent.

#2


OP pleaseeee heed this advice! You should only be with someone who loves you for you. Do not change yourself for a relationship.


#3


💯 this is a red flag and you should do what makes you happy. I've dated guys that prefer when my hair is straight for different reasons. Mainly because I don't let them touch my hair in it's natural state since it gets frizz. Not once did they make demands on how I styled. If you haven't explained the importance of your natural hair, share this with him. If he pushes back, drop him. On the issue of assimilation, having chemically or heat altered hair isn't always a form of cultural assimilation. For some people, it is. For others, it's just easier or cheaper to maintain. There's probably more to you that defines you as a woman that's proud of her roots. Just do what makes you happy and confident in your identity. In this case, it's natural and unstraightened. Own it and he should respect that.

#4

Sis this man is a bundle of red flags knotted into the shape of a man. This is bad news. I mean just STARTING with being the type of dude who thinks his hair preferences for women matter in any way and ending with the obvious stench of antiblackness. That's not even touching the obvious alarm bells going off for him being shallow and controlling.


Although others had something else to say

#5

Do what YOU want to do. I’ve been natural for about 4 years, and I am not enjoying it at all. I haven’t decided to go back to a relaxer yet, but Im not have the positive experience that so many naturalistas have. I went from having a standard every 2 week appointment to not knowing how my hair will look from day to day; I’m not good at DIY for my hair and the natural styles don’t last. I say all that to say, not everyone has a good natural hair experience. If you like your hair straight and miss the compliments then get it straightened, but do it because YOU want to. If you like your natural hair then keep it. If you’re going to straighten it, just get a sew in or have it professionally hot combed once a month, don’t get a perm (which is more damaging than heat and still requires heat; choose 1 damage instead of 2). Good luck and follow YOUR heart

#6

Part of being free is to choose. You can wear your hair a different way everyday of the week it does not change what or who you are unless that is what you expect from the change. Assimilation is, to me, making changes to something I do or present that is part of a different culture or group, without sharing their experiences. I say relax and enjoy the change being mindful to take care of your hair along the way.

But the question still stands

Are we really talking about culture assimilation or just a hairstyle? The natural hair community has grown a lot over the years, women everywhere are embracing healthy hair routines for all types of hair whether relaxed or natural.


We are finally enjoying the freedom of wearing our hair in a way that’s healthy for us and our strands. We know more about what goes into our products than ever before and for the first time ever we have a plethora of options when it comes to products for sleek downs to fully define curls. So is our hair just hair? or are our kinks still a prominent political statement that represents the harsh reality that racism still shapes how people (including black people) still see us?

Frizz team member

Topics sourced from | reddit | facebook
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Born in the Outer Sunset, San Franpsycho originally began as a surfing film documenting the local Ocean Beach surf scene in 2001. After the film, fans identified with the name and demanded we make clothing. So we learned the art of screen-printing, creating various garments in a dark basement by night, and selling out of of an orange and black zebra-striped van named Big Chaos by day.