Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why Am I Militant Because My Hair Is Natural??

Every since I went natural, practically everyone I know says that I am militant. This is particularly true among women. They sometimes even call me Angela Davis. Don't get me wrong, as I don't find these descriptions to be insulting however I do wonder why they are inextricably linked to my decision to wear my natural hair. The dictionary defines militant as: vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause; engaged in warfare or fighting. What exactly does this have to do with hair? It has absolutely nothing to do with hair nor does it have anything to do with why I wear my hair natural. Let's be clear, I do consider myself to be a supporter of causes, especially those affecting African Americans but I have been that way all of my adult life only four of which my hair was natural. So what exactly is it that these people are saying. Are thy actually suggesting that at the precise moment the remaining relaxed ends were snipped from my hair, some switch inside of me automatically turned on causing me to become a militant person? That is absolutely asinine. Like I said, I don't find these descriptions to be insulting however if I am going to be described as such, I'd prefer that it be because of my passion, my overwhelming sense of right and wrong and my strong desire to a level playing field for all people, especially African Americans not because I choose to wear my own hair with no chemical treatments.

So let's examine why I an no doubt other women with natural hair are described as militant. I have a theory and I am anxious to see your input and hopefully spark a healthy debate. It is obvious that more African American women wear their hair relaxed rather than natural. What's ironic is that though it is not their true texture, it is considered the norm. Could it be that when an African American woman with relaxed hair is face to face with a woman with natural hair, it creates an unwanted moment of self examination? I believe that even though I wear my hair natural, there is a strong desire to keep it from becoming the norm as it should be. Let's be honest, how can alteration of your hair's natural appearance legitimately be considered the norm. I submit that by labeling a woman with natural hair as militant, it serves as a distinction which allows society to put them in a separate compartment outside the norm thereby sustaining the comfort level of women who choose to relax their hair. Don't misunderstand, this is not a judgment of women who relax their despite the factI and other women often feel judged for wearing our natural hair. I am in no position to judge those women because my hair was relaxed for much longer that it was natural hair. I just wish that natural hair could be considered what is is, just hair. I also would like for people to stop projecting their issues of self loathing on to me by calling me militant or giving me some long, unsolicited soliloquy about why they cannot go natural. I do not expect every black woman in the world to go natural nor do I care to be perfectly honest. Just be who and what you are and be secure in that. I make no apologies for who and what I am. I've been unapologetic, relaxed and natural......


  1. I swear, this has been going on a long time. I can't tell you how many times someone has offered to buy me an Afro pic, given me the "fight the power" fist, called me Angela Davis, etc. ad naseum. On the surface, I think they just overwhelmingly associate natural hair - particularly afros - with the "Black Power" movement of the 70s. Because if you think about it, since the 70s, when was the last time there was a big push for natural hair? Never - until this decade, and more so the last part of this decade.

    And of course - your favorite website, which will remain unnamed (LOL) probably doesn't help the situation, but it is what it is. That is only a segment of the people who wear their hair natural. Honestly? I got tired of making myself bald and got tired of thin, lifeless hair. The only thing I consider myself "militant" about, in terms of natural hair, is the chemicals and ingredients in our products...but that's not just for hair, that's all the stuff we come into contact with.

    But I feel your pain!

  2. Yes I guess you're right but it just annoys me sometimes. I guess I will forever be militant because I've never really been a follower. Being myself is the greatest legacy my mother left me. I will never abandon. It's sad that sometimes people can't let others be who they are in peace so they label them.