Nappily’ ever after?

12 February 2019 | Columns

Octavia Tsibes



They say hair, especially for a woman, is her crown, the roots of her confidence and her identity.

The conversation over hair will never loses momentum, as everyone is obsessed with hair.

Men are also engaging in the trend of ‘man-buns’ and sleek hair. But what is the big idea? Why do we get overly-emotional about our hair and get mad when other people touch it? It’s just hair, it’ll grow back, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s because it’s the first thing people identify with when they first encounter a person. You can tell a lot about a person from their hair alone; for instance, dying your hair shows change and that you’re ready to start with a clean slate. Cutting it means you’re ready for any sort of transition, and well, when it’s not combed, you perhaps were just late.

I guess it’s more psychological and it shows; you never really just cut, dye or grow your hair just because, and that’s the beauty of it. Though I still ponder why we are so obsessed with hair, do we really know what we’re feeding our hair? Sometimes we think we’re fuelling our hair with these scalp and root nourishing products, but we might be harming it, especially if you don’t know what hair type you have. Yes, there are hair types; the obsession is conspicuous.

My younger sister never lets anyone see her hair because she doesn’t like the way it looks and nobody is allowed to touch it or he agitation grows, but that’s her fault because ‘certain’ types of hair is socially ‘acceptable’. Long, curly, luscious and Caucasian locks of hair is praised internationally, whereas ‘nappy’ hair known as black hair and is disregarded and deemed ‘unattractive’. It’s so bad that women of colour spend hundreds and thousands on weaves and getting their hair permed, which brings me back to my question: Do we know what we’re feeding our hair.

Personally, from my preference, I think it’s sad that some (emphasis on the SOME) women in the black community do not embrace their natural locks of hair - their crowns and their identity - and would trade it for long, full-bodied, Caucasian hair. I honestly do not blame them, they’re under the pressure of ‘acceptable’ social standards. Social standards have molded our mothers and their mothers as black women, and they were never given the chance to love and embrace their natural hair. As young black girls they would have their hair braided or permed because it just wasn’t ‘pretty’. The crack in the wall started long ago; this has been the issue since my own mother was 12, and she’s now 53 and still wears a weave. Does your hair truly make a difference in your life? Does it make who you are? If yes, if you change it, are you a different person? No. Hair shouldn’t define, you in my opinion - long, short, bald, nappy or Caucasian.

People should be comfortable enough to make natural human connections without the fear of rejection about the way hair looks - natural, weave, dyed, straight and curly, doesn’t matter. Hair should be celebrated, yes, without the fear of judgment. Many men claim that they can never be with a woman with short hair. Well, she cuts it simply because she can and she had a reason. She dyes it pink because it’s HER hair. Hair is general sparks dispersion, in school, at work, even at places like church. What’s the big idea? It’s just hair, or am I wrong? Is it some sort of Holy Grail? In the old days bigger was better - hairspray and tons of hair gel - and if your hair wasn’t even close to that, you just weren’t cool, so this is a topic that has never lost momentum, and it never will. Hair will always be in the headlines of social standards, passed on from generation to generation - hair tips on regimes, how to grow it quicker, and how to maintain it.

octavia @myzone.com.na

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