If you want to be mad at me, fine. But before you go off, please allow me to explain. Let’s look at what a trend is exactly. From Wikipedia:
A fad, sometimes called a trend, meme or a craze, is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior’s being perceived as novel in some way. A fad is said to “catch on” when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone.
The specific nature of the behavior associated with a fad can be of any type including language usage, apparel, financial investment, and even food. Apart from general novelty, fads may be driven by emotional excitement, peer pressure, or even a desire to be outside social norms (counterculture).
Though the term trend may be used interchangeably with fad, a fad is generally considered a fleeting behavior whereas a trend is considered to be a behavior that evolves into a relatively permanent change.
I think the parts that I bolded are the most important. Regardless of why YOU went natural, you cannot deny the increase in enthusiasm for going natural, not only amongst natural haired women themselves, but also men and the media. Five years ago, did you ever think that there would be a muppet on Sesame Street singing about natural hair, or a news story with the reporter doing her big chop? What about the increase in women in commercials and magazines with natural hair? I just saw a tshirt that said, “Relaxers are evil” and frequently run across tshirts repping natural hair (I won’t lie, I want one.) – where was this years ago?
OR – the noticeable increase in men taking an interest in our hair, and frequently commenting on natural hair. You know you’ve seen it. On YouTube, blogs, magazines…it’s hot off the press to hear the thoughts of a man on natural hair, whether it’s positive or negative. A man disses nappy hair? Instant 4,000+ views. And lawd baby Jesus, don’t let him be an attractive man praising natural hair – you might as well set that man up in his own penthouse and put him on 24/7 webcam. And they know this. Piss off the “natural hair community” – get attention. Delight the “natural hair community” – get attention. But I don’t recall them caring so much back in the day, do you?
Sometimes, when I say that I don’t care if women get relaxers or not, relaxed women look at me like I’m a KKK member who just said I don’t hate black people. And why shouldn’t they? I’m “one of them,” I’m natural, I have a natural hair blog, I participate in natural hair discussions on the internet and Twitter. They find it difficult to believe that someone so “dedicated” to the “cause” could also be so nonchalant about the other side. The enthusiasm of the trend has caused activity on the side of the social norm as well, and it’s obvious.
I recently saw a poll on a hair site asking whether the members were natural, transitioning, texlaxed, or relaxed. Many of the answers from the natural haired women went something like, “All natural baby!” or “Natural!!” while the relaxed women were like, “Relaxed, and I do not plan to go natural,” or “Relaxed, not into the natural thing.” Honestly, I had to give a giggle at these comments – because I was like really chile, why so defensive? But then I thought about it – they’re still in baby ts, flares, and Sketchers…while others have moved on. Or at least, that’s how it can be perceived. The saltiness is visible. Warranted? Probably not, on either side. But…I already did a video about how natural women should sit down next time they want to call someone with a relaxer a self hater.
To the women who have been natural since birth, or for ten years, and want to be mad at the influx of natural haired women…I’m going to say this in the nicest way possible. Giiiiirl, go somewhere. You did not invent natural hair. I’ll tell you a story – when I was in 4th grade, I found a pair of flare jeans at a Guess Outlet in the middle of nowhere with my mom. I fell in LOVE with them, and wore them all the time. People at school called me a hippie, a flower child, all of that mess. They made fun of me because my jeans weren’t straight or the stylish cut back then. A few years later, you were a loser if you DIDN’T own some flares. Was I running around all pissed off because my often ridiculed fashion choice became the new “in” thing? Hecks no – I was happy I could continue to wear my flares and not have to be called a dang hippie! And yes, I am quite aware that getting made fun of for some jeans is different than hair, but you get my point.
Now let’s look at that last sentence – “a trend is considered to be a behavior that evolves into a relatively permanent change.” Are there going to be some women who go back to relaxers? Sure. Will men eventually stop trying to get our attention by blowing a whistle and screaming, “NATURAL!!!!”? Sure. But will everyone go back to relaxers, or forget that natural hair ever happened? I doubt it. Even if straight/relaxed hair stays the majority, by comparison, I think there are going to continue to be more women wearing their natural hair – whether it’s curly, kinky, whatever. If that makes it a trend…well…I’m fine with that.
Happy Thanksgiving my pals, and stay well.