Posted by Dalilah,
The natural hair community is one where a woman can feel liberated and embraced for making the decision to wear her hair in its natural state but whether or not people want to admit it, there is a lot of discrimination within the natural hair community as well. Not only is there lots of discrimination, there are these unofficial rules about what it means to be "natural" as well as commandments that you had not better break or risk being ousted from the community. Take me for example. I have been natural since I did the big chop in April 2011. Since then I've colored my hair more times than I can remember, I've bleached it twice, I've cut it, I've neglected it and I've repaired it. For the first two reasons alone, some women don't consider me to be natural. It's OK, it doesn't bother me. What does bother me though is the assumption that all women go natural in order to have long hair or that once you're natural, you can't ever apply another relaxer to your hair.
You would've thought that a war had begun when https://www.youtube.com/user/SimplYounique YouTube vlogger SimplYounique revealed that she had decided to relax her waist length natural hair. When she posted the video of her relaxed hair, she explained that she could not devote the time to her hair that it needed and required. I mean could you imagine washing, conditioning, detangling, styling and maintaining waist length hair? I'm sure that was a full-time job! She stated in the video description that she would be learning how to care for relaxed hair again. As a result, the comment section under her video blew up. Some of her 200K + subscribers said that they would be unsubscribing from her channel, people criticized her harshly for her decision and some even felt that she had betrayed her followers. Then, when she uploaded another video, her hair was gone! She had done a second big chop within two months of posting her relaxed hair update. Even though she says that her second big chop was a spur of the moment decision, I'm not buying it. I honestly believe that the comments and scrunity people had subjected her to led her to chop off all that pretty hair of hers. But guess what? The initial comments weren't any better than those on the relaxed hair video and again, she offered an explanation for her decision. I went into all those details to say that no one can govern how YOU decide to wear your hair. There are no rules that determine whether or not you're natural and no one should feel pressured to wear their hair one particular way. Whenever I've mentioned that I was thinking about cutting my hair, I've been given crazy looks in return. It's MY hair and I can cut it if I want to, right? I love being natural and I love what my decision represents. What I love even more is the fellowship and connection I have with other women who wear their hair in its natural state as well. I'd like for us, as a community, to let go of some of the assumptions and notions we have about our hair. To be natural means to be free and when we place those assumptions on others and criticize them for the choices they make about their hair, we're taking away the very freedom that we promote.