Natural Hair Is Not a Man Magnet

33

Natural hair
I think she's gorgeous but do guys?
I have a tight circle of friends who are as cute as they are kind. They’ve all been a part of my life for at least ten years — one has even had the pleasure of seeing me evolve from my days of big, explosive bangs and one-shoulder Guess overalls in high school, and homegirl isn’t afraid to dust off pictures as proof.

I’ve watched them go through as many hairdos as they’ve gone through cars, boyfriends, and addresses, and individually make the transition to natural hair. They wear it in different but fabulous ways: big, wild ‘fros, short and curly cuts, coils and two-strand twists. Creativity with their locks has also been somewhat of sociocultural experiment. My friends feel like they don’t get as much male attention as they did before they grew their relaxers out, and if they do, it ain’t by men who look like them. So it begs the question: are black dudes biased against natural hair?

Hark — I can almost hear the protesting now, especially from guys who consider themselves to be conscious and enlightened and oh so power-to-the-people. We’re all beautiful, no matter what shape, size, complexion, and yes, hair texture, they’ll insist. And to be fair, there are some brothers who authentically feel that way, though I’m convinced they’re few and far between.

More plentiful are the dudes who don’t realize or don’t care that they’re holding a very obvious candle for straight locks that bounce, whip, and shake. Honestly, if that kind of hair wasn’t the style preferred by the majority of men, Yaki hair weave wouldn’t be flying off the shelves at beauty supply stores and some poor woman somewhere out there wouldn’t be frying the kinks out of her roots as I type.

We’ve all been pounded with the conditioning — some more than others — that one kind of hair is better than the other. From the time we’re old enough to hold a thought, guys and gals are pounded with the idea that straight hair is pretty hair. Straight hair is nice hair. Straight hair is good hair. In elementary school, little boys crush on the little girls with the long, silky plaits. That’s the gateway drug, and the attraction runs all the way into adulthood. And most of us, at some point in time anyway, have burned our scalps and fried our tresses to appease it. I perm my hair but I didn’t always. It’s a temporary style choice that I’m sure I’ll get bored with sooner than later and transition out of, just like I transitioned into it.

Now more and more black women are foregoing the chemical treatments to let their hair breathe and just be. I’m excited to see so many beautiful ladies shed their wraps and rollers sets and get creative with the crown of gorgeous hair that they were born with. But with so much baggage still hanging over our community — cough, cough, like color complexes — I don’t think it’s completely preposterous that some black men have a hard time appreciating us in all of our natural glory.

Watch a mainstream hip-hop video, if you can stand it. At first blush, it seems like a victory to have dark-skinned girls included in the spectrum of shades representing black women’s beauty. But if they’re in there, best believe they’ve got a head full of shiny, tousle-able weave to balance it out. The day a chart-topping rapper parades an entourage of natural-haired women through his video shoot is the day I assume the post of fan club president. The message the casting sends is you can get a pass for being dark if you have long hair. Lengthy locks certainly up the beauty ante for any woman, far as that flimsy beauty standard goes.

It’s not that my friends don’t get compliments on their hair. They do. But it seems like something guys prefer to appreciate when it’s not their woman wearing it. The Man has expressed love for my hair the way it is. Before I even started writing this post, I asked him what he’d think about me going natural. “Your hair, your decision,” he said. His enthusiasm was underwhelming and honestly, not all that convincing.

If you’ve transitioned to natural hair, have you noticed a difference in the way men notice you? Do you think men prefer permed or straightened hair?

Image via ni_mykon/Flickr

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Momma... MommaGreenhalge

Honestly, I do think men prefer the straight, long hair.  However, I have never met a woman who liked her hair the way she was born with it.  I have straight dirty blonde hair that I had long most of my childhood.  And do you know what I was subjected to for at least half an hour every morning as a child?  Painful brushing because it was so fine and tangled, a curling iron because straight hair is boring, and half a can of hairspray because my hair would not hold curl.  I got a perm when I was eleven, and had hilights by the time I was twelve.  All at my mother's insistence.  And now as an adult, I get up every morning to wash, mousse, blowdry, and flat iron my hair.  No one is ever satisfied with their hair.  Black, white, brown or blue.  No woman is satisfied with her hair.

2love 2love

I work in a hair supply store and i can say that yes more sisters are transitioning to natural hair. I absolutely love it! I've gone natural since 2005 and I've never been happier with my hair. I don't have to force it to stay straight anymore i get to wear it big and curly and i love it... Of course though my fiance likes it straight =)

Crims... CrimsonRain

MommaGreenhalge, let me introduce you to the first woman you've ever met who loves her natural hair: me.  Nice to meet you.  There is a lot about myself that I would trade with someone else if I could, but not that.


In my experience, men prefer hair long and straight.

jkm89 jkm89

Men like hair that they can run their fingers through. So that would explain why it seems men prefer straight hair. I have very curly hair that I always used to straighten. Men I previously have dated were always surprised to see my hair curly, they had no clue it was that way naturally. They always said they preferred it curly to straight, same with my husband. I think it just depend on the individual. One might look better with straight and another might look better with curly.

1swee... 1sweetmommma

I do everything I can to hide the natural imperfections in my hair. I have a white streak RIGHT IN FRONT a-la- Lilly Munster, and it's irritatingly wavy. It waves wherever it wants to and in whatever dircetion on any given day, and then there are the kinky curly flyaways. I color it, I use $15 mousse and $25 anti-frizz serum because they are the only ones that work without killing my hair with heat or yet more chemicals outside of the hair color. The only aspect of my natural hair that I like are the color(minus the white) which is jet black and the fact that it is sooo thick & strong.

Spike... SpikedMango

I was looking at creative hairstyles for little girls and stumbled across a site for black women who had chosen to go natural with their hair. Let me tell you, these womens hair was GORGEOUS! They had pictures as kind of a timeline from the time they first chose to go natural up to present day and I was in awe. They held conventions in Houston for support and to share hair care secrets and it was just really cool. I saw that about a year ago and still go check it out sometimes because it absolutely IS beautiful.

Wish2Be Wish2Be

I have a couple african american friends that hate their natural hair. They say its hard to tame, hard to grow, and even harder to keep healthy. One of my friends told me that it has to go through a really nappy phase before it even starts to get manageable. The both wear weave.

Angel Kirk

I don't think men really care if the hair is straight or curly, they like long hair. the only thing is, is that it is harder to see your length the curlier your hair is. So men may prefer the straighter hair because it appears longer. I love my curls. I am African American, and I got compliments when my hair was straightened and now that I am natural. No biggie for me. The only thing is, you have to get past that middle stage where your hair is neither short or long. It takes a year or two to get there though. All I can say is be patient and the men will come around. If you are confident in yourself, men will notice that before anything.

Curvy... CurvyAries

I'm a black woman and I'm addicted to my hair extensions.  I've been wearing my hair in micro braids since I was in junior high and I'm now in my 30's.  I braid my own hair and the extensions are very affordable at the beauty supply store.  My braids are very thin and small, the extenstions are silky straight and down to the bottom of my waist.  I feel like I'm at my most gorgeous with long, straight, smooth hair.  My fiance loves to run his fingers through it and play with it, I think that's adorable and love it.  I've worn my hair natural before and I've also had a relaxer that straightend it but it would always end up getting nappy and puffy and then tough to comb.  I love my braids because they are so easy to manage.  I wash my hair in the shower with any shampoo I want and when I get out of the shower, I can just towel dry it, leave it down and let it air dry.  I use a hair serum that's a light spray mist and it helps my hair stay silky and shiny.  Its just so convenient and beautiful that I just can't see myself wearing my hair any other way. 

Melis... Melissa042807

Guys in general, at least in my experience, seem to have a bias toward long hair on women period, no matter what race. My husband is one of them - he looooooves it when I let my hair get long, but my hair drives me batpoop crazy and doesn't style well when it's long, so I prefer it shorter. While he likes the long hair, again, it's "Your hair, your choice."


My hair is also wavy/curly. It seems to me that guys do prefer when I blow it out, but I get the most compliments from other women when I leave it curly. Weird.

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