"Girl, You've Got Some Good Hair!"
I have heard women complimenting other women in saying "you have some good hair" referring to the hair texture of the person as being soft, straight, 'laying flat'--ultimately, free of naps, kinks, and coils. I've caught myself a few times when I was younger complimenting other women in the same manner. Even when it comes to natural hair, I have received the "you've got good hair" when referring to my natural coily hair, as if to say they couldn't go natural because their hair was just too hard, too nappy, too thick, too this or too that.
Sometimes I felt like telling these women they should have seen my hair two years ago, or pull out old pictures of my failed attempts at natural hairstyles (pictures which I plan to eventual
ly post on this website). I just thought why go through all of that just to prove a point.
Let's face it, a lot of women think good hair means straight and/or silky and/or soft bouncy hair--which people usually equate to the hair of a particular race. To me, it's a problem if your own natural head of hair does not fit your own standard of what good hair is. Why would you believe that a type of hair you were not born with is THE standard for good hair? What does that make your hair?
Check out this Tyra clip from her show about what good hair is. The first girl, Shay, believes she has good hair because it has what she for some reason calls the 'white girl flow', according to her meaning that her hair swings and moves. The second girl, Ahkia, assumes Tyra's hair must be a larger curl because it 'lays flat', and that her hair 'could never do that.' I believe that most women who believe that good hair means straight hair really are not enlightened to what other races do to make their hair straight. I think Tyra's show was good in showing some of the different views we as African Americans have about hair, but ultimately I wish Tyra had a hair expert or someone to give better answers and to the defining and clarifying, rather than Tyra herself or her on stage guests. (Tyra's "Good Hair" episode continued: 2, 3, 4, & 5)
Growing up, I've seen Jewish, Indian, Persian, and Caucasian girls alike 'go through the motions' with their hair. They all had one thing in common--they wanted their hair straight and would do or try anything to get it that way. Again, I'm speaking of girls that I grew up with. Some would use a clothing iron to iron their hair straight... I remember one of my Jewish friends in middle school described her method of straightening her hair, which consisted of putting her long hair on the floor in her doorway in order to use her (clothing) iron to straighten her hair. Another would simply use her ironing board. An Indian girl that I was rooming with in college would use her curling iron to attempt to straighten her hair--every morning--and always wished she could get a perm (chemically straightening of the hair). A Japanese roommate of mine taught me about "Magic Straight," a chemical process that Asian women use to get their hair permanently straight. She described this thermal reconditioning process as something most Japanese girls with curly hair will do to get straight hair, including herself. My Caucasian friends and roommates all owned a flat iron, well before I ever learned about what they were and how to use them.
So, did these girls have an unhealthy self image of themselves? Or do we still see them as having 'good hair' or even 'better hair'?
I say let's stop giving other races so much credit for having 'good hair' and get real with the standards and unwritten rules that ALL women have about hair!
What do you think about the women featured on the Tyra show?
Do you have your own idea of what Good Hair is?