Like many men, I’m a huge sports fan. I really enjoy the passion and pageantry of college football. Likewise, I enjoy many other sports like professional football, boxing and mixed material arts – to name a few. Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about some of the greatest match-ups in sports history – like Ali vs. Frazier.
It’s important to note that great match-ups aren’t limited to the sports world. There are classic match-ups in the business world too. An example like Coke vs. Pepsi comes to mind.
However, one of the greatest match-ups in existence occurs every day in our community. People choose sides as if they were cheering for their favorite sports team and argue about this topic with the emotion of a slap in the face. It’s the age old debate within the hair industry – infamously known as good hair vs. bad hair.
Like many of you, I’ve heard this infamous comment while walking through the grocery store: “Ooh, she is so pretty and she has good hair.”
How does this statement make you feel?
I think this directly speaks to the modern standards of beauty that many women hold themselves to and often fosters the kind of thinking that leads to getting chemical relaxers. These statements make some women feel like something is wrong with their hair and leads to them feeling like it needs to be fixed.
Have you ever felt like you needed to relax your hair to make yourself feel pretty?
So, beyond your personal beliefs, there is also the pressure placed on our women to fit in with the beauty standards of society or the media. This pressure is often applied by immediate family members and friends. With these standards and the influence of the media it’s understandable to see why many women exchange their natural hair for chemically relaxed hair with the ultimate goal of achieving good hair.
But, what’s good hair?
Are our women willing to expose themselves to the danger and potential pain of chemicals burns and scars in order to achieve good hair? Or, are they willing to succumb to the social stigma that is sometimes applied to natural hair?
For many women and obviously men as well, the term “good hair” often refers to hair that is bone straight or naturally curly, while black hair that is natural is often considered bad hair. I know that many women, once they go natural, embrace the term “nappy” and see it as a term of endearment. I can understand why you might feel that way, especially considering the fact that the natural hair movement is very strong and growing stronger each day. However, the media generally uses that term as a pejorative and it often leads to mixed emotions within the natural hair community.
So, again, this good hair vs. bad hair debate is one of the most emotional, energy charged battles within the hair industry. Many of us have gone to great lengths and spent large amounts of money each month in order to get “good hair”, which often times (depending on your definition) involves using a chemical that is so strong that it fundamentally robs your hair of proteins and has the potential to eat through your scalp like a dog chewing through a bone. So, help me understand – what is good hair?