Earlier this week, thenewsnerd.com caused a collective rumbling amongst naturalistas with its article “Study: Women with Natural Hair Have Low Self-Esteem“. The article, citing a study by Bountiful Hair, reported that “women with natural hair have lower self-esteem than women with treated hair.”
Of 3,000 women surveyed for the study, the article reported that 2,500 did not feel as pretty as women with processed hair, quoting one participant’s personal reactions:
“I try to tell myself that wearing my hair natural is all about empowerment and expressing natural beauty, but there were times when I just did not feel pretty,” Jones continued. “When you continuously break combs because your hair is so nappy, and you use everything in your refrigerator to try to tame that mane, and you still have hair so rough you could polish rocks, you begin to reevaluate your choices.”
“At one point I was using a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs on my hair every day to try to soften it. That’s when I knew it was time to make a change. I got a relaxer and a Brazilian weave down to my butt, and I have never felt prettier,” Jones stated.
Blasphemy, we cried! And how dare you put a picture of natural-hair diva Solange on this post! Women (and men) took to social media, forums and youtube to voice their disapproval of the report — only to discover the study, and article, were a fake.
Wait, what?!? We just got our proverbial panties in a bunch for nothing? And, then, sigh. It was just a joke.
Good news, right?
One would think so, but this article seemed to hit too close to home. Especially for those of us who spend countless hours — and dollars — “learning” as adults to manage and love the hair we were born with. Yes, companies are marketing now, more than ever, to our ever-growing population. But, we still face the ongoing misperception that “natural hair” is just a trend, as well as the all-too-real stereotype of it not being desirable. Just the fact that the process of transitioning from chemically altered hair is called “going natural” subconsciously says it’s not a natural state to be in. (I have yet to come across a book about loving one’s chemically processed hair.)
We often hear the saying that is there is truth in every joke. Hence, the reason why we were so willing to go to war against Bountiful and rally for all of the women in the non-existent study who we didn’t think loved themselves for who they are.
The sad truth is, many don’t. While we know there is a huge natural-girl pride movement, there are many of us who don’t have great self-esteem about our hair, no matter what state it’s in. And this is especially true when held to beauty standards defined outside of our communities. So, I’m kind of glad we did go to war, and I hope we continue standing strong in our beauty and loving the skin (and hair) we’re in.