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The lowdown on ‘HAIR’piness

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by Ncumisa Mbusi

The lowdown on ‘HAIR’piness

Personally I had never even noticed her out of the 12 girls until her hair was cut short. All of a sudden I could see the deep blue eyes and the beautiful freckles sprinkled all over her rosy cheeks. And she really just stood out from all the contestants, she was beautiful, the kind of beauty that you find yourself thinking, “The universe must have really paused and watched her being created, perfection to the T”. It had all been disguised by the long hair.

So the poor girl is crying hysterically the entire night, and at the photo shoot, and during the feedback sessions that they have with Tyra. She is convinced that she is the ugliest woman on earth now that her hair has been cut short. She looks at the mirror and howls; she doesn’t see all that beauty she possesses, because her hair is gone. This got me thinking, to what extend does a woman’s hair define her beauty and her worth?

At that moment it crosses my mind that, I have been informed many times that women with short or no hair are not appealing to men. They feel threatened by her, that she is not feminine enough, and rather appears rough on the edges. This comes from many others, men and women, that have been quizzed on this topic, and also a dear friend who loves them weaves and I must say, she looks really good in them. She is very pretty, has explored dreadlocks, short hair etc, and she looks relly good in weaves. I, on the other hand, have always preferred to go natural and short. At some stage I even grew locks, mainly because I thought they would give me options to do all the beautiful styles that I see fellow sisters rocking, without actually buying 100% HUMAN hair!!

It is not that I have anything against weaves per se; it has more to do with the fact that I personally look best in my short almost no hair, or so I thought. And I have been told many times. See, my high school was very strict with all students having short, untreated black hair. I got used to that look and wouldn’t even bother to do anything different even during holidays because I’d have to cut it again when schools open. And even when I proceeded to tertiary and the workplace that became my trademark. I have always loved my natural look, and not even dreadlocks can match up to how I feel when I have no hair whatsoever. Or so I thought, until I was compelled to put a weave on.

You might think why do I feel I was compelled? Well, I was single, and there was a funeral in the family, the deceased happened to be a male cousin who had plenty of gorgeous friends that came now and again for condolences. And obviously they would all be at the funeral, and did I mention they were gorgeous? And I had been single for months and craving a little bit of attention? I had cut my locks because it was in summer and hot, me not used to so much hair on my head they drove me crazy. I kept them, so I can re-attach them again at a later stage. So I decided to explore the weave options, because they would serve both purposes, my hair will grow longer so I can reattach my locks, and hopefully I will look good enough to attract a few suitors at the funeral.

The weave worked, everyone noticed, at work, at play, I had never ever had that much attention from people about my hair before. I looked gorgeous! Yet I was feeling lost, in a foreign world and very irritated by the weave. I felt like I was betraying me, by succumbing to what didn’t come naturally to me, and I really couldn’t embrace it. Eventually I removed it and went back to what I’m comfortable in, my locks, but the question still remained at the back of my mind,

TO WHAT EXTENT DOES A WOMAN’S HAIR DEFINE HER BEAUTY AND HER WORTH? And so I ask….

 

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The lowdown on ‘HAIR’piness, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
  • I loved reading this! Ja ne! Hair will be a topic of discussion for as long as we can separate our personal choice/preference from the dehumanising effects of colonisation and the wide-spread globalisation of what is BEAUTY.

    Just do YOU!!

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  • Madi

    Wow gal,

    That is so insightful and a well structured piece. A little humor here, a little lamentation on how shallow brother’s are today. This means that as an African female, one has to stoop to the weave level in order to be noticed. Even my boyfriend who claims to prefer natural hair was up in arms once I showed up with the weave one day. He was extremely protective. I am now questioning if he trully likes natural locks or prefers it to eliminate attention and competion? Mmmmhhhhh…a bone to chew for me

    What bother’s me the most is that we put so much premium on material beauty like “inwele ze mali – weaves” as sisters. We have such an inferior perception about our natural beauty, so what do we expect? We teach people how to treat us, we teach males that false hair is prettier, unnatural is supreme that is how they project then we get suprised by their actions and utterances towards natural look.

    This comes from way back, as far back as the slave treade. Rayda Jacobs makes a mentions in her book SLAVE TRADE of the premium and second class treatment towards the female slaves based on the skin tone and hair texture.

    We were taught that Kinkie is bad, afro hair is horrible as slaves that had these physical attributes were bound to hard work if selected to work in a household or destined to remain in farm working hard with little to eat.

    We have learned this resourcefulness and negative re-enforcement to a point of making a song and thinking it is cute….Tswang, tswang, tswang leboneng ngwana o tshwana le lecoloured” We sing that at our weddings with a beaming smile. What is wrong with gotshwana le MoAfrica?

    It a fact that we never emancipated our minds.Yes, it is a sad thing that we do not accept what and who we are but rather embrace what we want to be because someone else said so and we not only believed it but we internalised it.

    I had my fair share in experiencing the wrath of “mental deaf and blindness” where natural look is concerned. I was personally chucked out of a Senegalese hairdresser BECAUSE I WAS REFUSING TO RELAX MY HAIR before they could plait it. Jan neh, the question still remains, Have we adversely moved towards emancipating our minds towards self acceptance?

    Kagi

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  • Khaya

    LL Cool J says never judge a woman by the texture of her hair.there was a time in our history when the tempering with our hair had links with aspirations of white aesthetics.perhaps in some respects its still the case,but i prefer to give the person with a hair do other than the natural one the benefit of the doubt that they did the hair do by choice and not as an extension of inferiority.

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  • NcumisaMbusi

    Thank you all so much for your comments. Truth is, it is a personal choice what we choose, weaves, braids, locks, etc. But we shouldn’t forget that these just enhance the real beauty we have when raw, and we shouldn’t feel less beautiful when the hair is gone or feel like we are only beautiful when our hair can turn heads. It is not the hair that makes the beauty, its always there even without it!!!

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  • ntibi

    most ppl think i grew locks cos my boo has them too..but the truth is i have tryd them all chemicals braid,afro,chiscop u name it and locks i must i feel more cmftble with..the point is we all hve dffent ideas bout hair but nobody is their hair i know m not….

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  • shishi

    as chris rock would say tht as afrcan ladies we should be proud of wht we have as kienkie as it is we have an advantage if doing different hairstyle eg relax,perm,braids,plating etc i can go on and on he also said whn a man wants to feel the woman scalp there are so many distructions fingers cant slide thru lol, but this is son true nhe ala in all its all wht makes u happy at the end of da day being real or artificial!!!!!!!!

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  • George

    It seems here the reference is to Black women. As for White ill say I prefer long. It tends to soften their harsher features. As for Women of Color as we say sometimes in the US, and perhaps including Latinos, I find natural more attractive. With the more alluring jaw lines they have fewer flaws to hide, the bigger eyes are expanded and the whole face is framed. Yes I like straighter, perhaps to my denigration, but well it’s all in sassy and being impudent to the max. Exhibit one: Halle Berry… Case closed.

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  • i prefer women with natural hairstyles – and minimum or no make up at all..

    and i really don’t agree with the notion that Afrikan hair in it’s natural state is hard to manage or doesn’t allow for creativity with fresh hairdos…

    and i have female family members who have permanently destroyed hairlines and hair that won’t grow back because of chemicals…

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  • Washie Banda

    its well known fact.tho most women miss it that its not rily bout da make up the hairstyle dat counts.but its mo bout how u look naturally coz we myt jus get inticed by da hottt new weave u got.but itl be ol bad after we realise n look at da ril u.unless u cud sey u gon rock dat same weave for a lifetym.keep it real…

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  • Bongi Mzamane

    I also think its different strokes for different folks. I personally prefer braids not that i can’t rock weave, natural or short hair. Its just a matter of choice. I think beauty comes from within…..I’m certainly not my hair:)

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  • Viwe

    i know its form the heart. different strokes 4 differents folks, what works 4 me does not necesarily work or you we all idividuals and are beautiful in our own way. so i say do u and only u, if weave makes u feel good rock it , if short hair is ur best assets rock it. @ the end of it all its not about your look its about your heart. Live nd let Live. Jah bless Aluta Continue…..:-)

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  • Velile Moleloa

    Thanks for such an inspirational letter. No matter how you look like in life, I still think that natural hair or not having hair is the most beautiful way of showing ones beauty.

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  • I loved reading this! Ja ne! Hair will be a topic of discussion for as long as we can separate our personal choice/preference from the dehumanising effects of colonisation and the wide-spread globalisation of what is BEAUTY.

    Just do YOU!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Madi

    Wow gal,

    That is so insightful and a well structured piece. A little humor here, a little lamentation on how shallow brother’s are today. This means that as an African female, one has to stoop to the weave level in order to be noticed. Even my boyfriend who claims to prefer natural hair was up in arms once I showed up with the weave one day. He was extremely protective. I am now questioning if he trully likes natural locks or prefers it to eliminate attention and competion? Mmmmhhhhh…a bone to chew for me

    What bother’s me the most is that we put so much premium on material beauty like “inwele ze mali – weaves” as sisters. We have such an inferior perception about our natural beauty, so what do we expect? We teach people how to treat us, we teach males that false hair is prettier, unnatural is supreme that is how they project then we get suprised by their actions and utterances towards natural look.

    This comes from way back, as far back as the slave treade. Rayda Jacobs makes a mentions in her book SLAVE TRADE of the premium and second class treatment towards the female slaves based on the skin tone and hair texture.

    We were taught that Kinkie is bad, afro hair is horrible as slaves that had these physical attributes were bound to hard work if selected to work in a household or destined to remain in farm working hard with little to eat.

    We have learned this resourcefulness and negative re-enforcement to a point of making a song and thinking it is cute….Tswang, tswang, tswang leboneng ngwana o tshwana le lecoloured” We sing that at our weddings with a beaming smile. What is wrong with gotshwana le MoAfrica?

    It a fact that we never emancipated our minds.Yes, it is a sad thing that we do not accept what and who we are but rather embrace what we want to be because someone else said so and we not only believed it but we internalised it.

    I had my fair share in experiencing the wrath of “mental deaf and blindness” where natural look is concerned. I was personally chucked out of a Senegalese hairdresser BECAUSE I WAS REFUSING TO RELAX MY HAIR before they could plait it. Jan neh, the question still remains, Have we adversely moved towards emancipating our minds towards self acceptance?

    Kagi

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Khaya

    LL Cool J says never judge a woman by the texture of her hair.there was a time in our history when the tempering with our hair had links with aspirations of white aesthetics.perhaps in some respects its still the case,but i prefer to give the person with a hair do other than the natural one the benefit of the doubt that they did the hair do by choice and not as an extension of inferiority.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • NcumisaMbusi

    Thank you all so much for your comments. Truth is, it is a personal choice what we choose, weaves, braids, locks, etc. But we shouldn’t forget that these just enhance the real beauty we have when raw, and we shouldn’t feel less beautiful when the hair is gone or feel like we are only beautiful when our hair can turn heads. It is not the hair that makes the beauty, its always there even without it!!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • ntibi

    most ppl think i grew locks cos my boo has them too..but the truth is i have tryd them all chemicals braid,afro,chiscop u name it and locks i must i feel more cmftble with..the point is we all hve dffent ideas bout hair but nobody is their hair i know m not….

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • shishi

    as chris rock would say tht as afrcan ladies we should be proud of wht we have as kienkie as it is we have an advantage if doing different hairstyle eg relax,perm,braids,plating etc i can go on and on he also said whn a man wants to feel the woman scalp there are so many distructions fingers cant slide thru lol, but this is son true nhe ala in all its all wht makes u happy at the end of da day being real or artificial!!!!!!!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • George

    It seems here the reference is to Black women. As for White ill say I prefer long. It tends to soften their harsher features. As for Women of Color as we say sometimes in the US, and perhaps including Latinos, I find natural more attractive. With the more alluring jaw lines they have fewer flaws to hide, the bigger eyes are expanded and the whole face is framed. Yes I like straighter, perhaps to my denigration, but well it’s all in sassy and being impudent to the max. Exhibit one: Halle Berry… Case closed.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • i prefer women with natural hairstyles – and minimum or no make up at all..

    and i really don’t agree with the notion that Afrikan hair in it’s natural state is hard to manage or doesn’t allow for creativity with fresh hairdos…

    and i have female family members who have permanently destroyed hairlines and hair that won’t grow back because of chemicals…

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Washie Banda

    its well known fact.tho most women miss it that its not rily bout da make up the hairstyle dat counts.but its mo bout how u look naturally coz we myt jus get inticed by da hottt new weave u got.but itl be ol bad after we realise n look at da ril u.unless u cud sey u gon rock dat same weave for a lifetym.keep it real…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Bongi Mzamane

    I also think its different strokes for different folks. I personally prefer braids not that i can’t rock weave, natural or short hair. Its just a matter of choice. I think beauty comes from within…..I’m certainly not my hair:)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Viwe

    i know its form the heart. different strokes 4 differents folks, what works 4 me does not necesarily work or you we all idividuals and are beautiful in our own way. so i say do u and only u, if weave makes u feel good rock it , if short hair is ur best assets rock it. @ the end of it all its not about your look its about your heart. Live nd let Live. Jah bless Aluta Continue…..:-)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Velile Moleloa

    Thanks for such an inspirational letter. No matter how you look like in life, I still think that natural hair or not having hair is the most beautiful way of showing ones beauty.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
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