This week (or last – depending on if your week ends on Saturday or Sunday) I was on my way home from work, in the presence of two beautiful young ladies who I estimate to be anywhere between five and eight years old. I believe they were on their way home from the theatre with their mothers and aunts. They looked so cute with their sparkly clothing!
One of them had their hair relaxed…
I don’t think I’m ever going to be that woman who goes around telling others not to relax their hair. This didn’t stop me from being sad though. Honestly it made me sad.
I’m not a mother myself, but I believe apart from the now well-known hazards of the chemicals, there could be more deep-rooted consequences of the action.
By relaxing a girl’s hair at such a young age – I believe you don’t give her a chance to love herself the way she was created; fearfully and wonderfully.
How does she know what she really looks like?
Won’t she then find her identity placed in people she may grow to think she looks like – with those people knowing they actually don’t share those features? She may grow to think their hair is the same.
But she isn’t the same.
Is making one’s life easier by relaxing her hair at that age worth her self-esteem?
It is often said; “we are not our hair.” But it is definitely a part of us.
Apart from the obvious – hair is a part of our body… even the Bible says it is our shining glory. It is clearly important to us as women. It carries a lot of our strength. It is often considered a major part of femininity.
If we’re not our hair, why do we as black women spend the most money out of all our female counterparts across the world’s cultures?
Now, calm down please, I’m not by any means judging anyone’s parenting.
However, going natural for me was easy because I was never forced to relax my hair. Though I was told my hair is tough to manage, I was never sold the lie by my mother that my only way out was chemicals.
My mother actually credits herself for my choice. That’s another story. She often credits herself for a lot of things. She is funny like that, though I do acknowledge her influence in who I am today.
With this generation embracing their natural roots, I’m confident that there will be many more afros walking to class.
I pray that relaxed hair in primary/ elementary schools will be the minority of young girls.
I pray they won’t grow up wishing, like I did sometimes in junior high, for the straight hair of the (what will hopefully no longer be) the majority. The relaxed hair children will go home and ask their mothers why.
Why do we go through this chemical process?
And if they do grow up and decide to relax their hair – it will be by choice. An informed decision. Not conditioning.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this. Especially the mothers out there.
My final question therefore is, with all this in mind… Why do it to these young girls?