Do you remember the infamous “Good and Bad” hair showdown in Spike Lee’s, School Daze? I was a freshman in college attending my first program on campus, which included watching School Daze and discussing the various stereotypes women of color encounter. I remember how the scene ruffled every nerve in my body as I decided to make a comment: There is no such thing as good hair and bad hair, it’s a matter of opinion.
Shortly after making my comment, another girl was enraged that I would even speak and gave her opinion. “I don’t know why you’re complaining you have ‘good’ hair”. From that point on, whenever someone says that to me, I get a desire to scream my lungs out and say,
“What the HELL is GOOD hair?”
Hair is one of the most delicate topics for minorities. Hair should be our crown of glory but for some of us it has been a crown of shame and the categorizing of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ hair is predominately to blame. Would you believe that in some hispanic countries, class status was based on your hair texture? The finer it was the higher in status you were.
This subject is so widely discussed that even Chris Rock decided it was important to produce a documentary on it, talking to several stars, salons, and people about the phenomenon known as Good and Bad Hair. I guess when your daughter comes home and says daddy why don’t I have good hair it would make any man want to understand this hair culture a little bit more. I must admit that I can’t wait to see this documentary. I hope it helps to unravel and dismiss this debilitating stigma that has been theorized and used to define beauty for us colored girls.
In my family hair is talked about at every family gathering. Every family gathering. My youngest sister has “bad hair”. Her hair was down her back at one point in her life. Cruel girls harassed her everyday about the growth of her nappy hair grow until one day, she did the unthinkable: She came home from school with one pigtail missing. She cut it off because she felt she didn’t deserve to have long hair if her hair was nappy. Needless to say, I wanted to beat those girls’ butts, but I settled for a good talk with my sister instead.
Women of color who fall under the categories of either, have hang-ups and if you haven’t realized it yet, they each have problems accepting their hair. The main reason it is so hard is because we categorize things as Good and Bad when we should just be worrying about Healthy and Unhealthy. We come from a lineage of women with different textures, coil patterns, and the range of beauty within each look is amazing if we can just concentrate on the health of our hair rather than whose hair is so-called nicer.
I have been natural for two years. Yes I cut it all off and decided to embrace what I have. It’s healthy hair because I take care of it and nurture it. Please ladies let’s cut the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ hair terms out and let’s think ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’.