Five Ways Black Men Interpret Natural Hair All Wrong

Now, this article isn’t to say that compliments are terrible or that men can never comment on our hair. For the most part, it’s positive and mostly welcomed. However, there are some notions that men can have about natural hair that do more harm than good, or lets me know that they missed the “meaning” of natural hair.

When they assume that you’re low maintenance because you have short natural hair
Because short hair is masculine, right? So if you have short, natural hair, you obviously can’t be into makeup or dressing  up. Right?

Exhibit A 

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Exhibit B 

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Of course, if you choose to wear minimal makeup, that’s also fine, but I always find the association between the two funny. It’s like they think because you have short, kinky hair, you gave up on your appearance. Most of the naturals I know have amazing makeup skills as well. So yea, this mentality is definitely getting natural hair wrong.

When they make bashing women with weaves or relaxers the center of their “compliment”
Envision yourself at a party, natural hair free flowing and oh so badass, when a guy comes up to you and says, “Wow, I really love your hair, it’s dope.” You’re about to say thank you, but he keeps going, “…I get so tired of seeing our sistas wearing the crown of another. It’s nice to see someone with enough self esteem to try it.” Hold up! Contrary to popular belief, all women do not love talking shit about other women, and there was no need to put a negative spin on the compliment. Say the hair is fly and keep it moving.

When they believe their validation is central to your sense of self
Have you ever noticed that some men act as if them liking your hair obviously, I mean it must, it has to, mean the absolute world to you? I feel like there is an undertone to this notion that screams, “I’m sure no one else likes your hair so it must feel good to know that at least I like it!” Compliments are nice. There’s nothing wrong with a sincere compliment, but there is a difference between a compliment and validation. Validation is definitely getting natural hair wrong. Love it, great, but know I love it too.

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When they expect you to only like “deep” subjects
Having natural hair means one thing: having natural hair. Women with natural hair do not have all the same beliefs or like the same things. And some of us eat steak and like Love and Hip Hop. It doesn’t need to be deep, it’s entertaining. Deep conversations are great too, just don’t be surprised when we turn on Real Housewives of Atlanta after discussing Black Wall Street at dinner.

When they don’t think naturals can experiment with their hair
Natural can mean a lot of things, but it doesn’t have to mean doing nothing to your hair (see first point). Sometimes, you get tired of your fro, or you want to protective style for a bit, or for whatever reason, you want to change your hair. Straighten, color, get a weave, install crochet braids, whatever you want to do, and then you hear, “I thought you were natural. That color/style isn’t natural.”

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Just because my hair is hidden or temporarily altered, does not mean that it’s no longer natural. It’s still natural underneath or will go back to kinky when I wash it.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Do you think there are some wires getting crossed when it comes to how black men view natural hair?

**This article also appears on Black Girl With Long Hair.

5 comments

  1. I have been natural for 7 years and am so comfortable in my “naturalness” that I guess black men don’t say anything about my hair anymore. And it does not bother me one bit. I don’t know if they are intimidated or what. It still does make my day when a brother gives me that occasional compliment though.

  2. I agree. It’s also annoying when people stalk you in the mall trying to figure out if it’s your hair. When they finally gain courage to ask. They reach out and try to weave check you. When has it ever been ok to reach out and put your hands in a stranger’s hair? Ewww.

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