I always felt like my hair never measured up. I remember in middle school this group of girls walking behind me asked why I had all those little hairs on my shoulder and if my hair was falling out. I didn't know what to say.
But my dad is really negative when it comes to black women's hair in general.
As far as being natural, he just looks at me, shakes his head and laughs when he sees my hair sometimes.
For him a woman's hair needs to be pin straight, there is no room for anything else.
He's told me how I'll never have a professional career if I don't fix it, that I look crazy, all kinds of ridiculous things. After my BC he hinted that I looked like a lesbian (god forbid a woman have short hair).
I got negative comments from my mother about my hair when I was a child. She loved that it was thick and long but at the same time she always complained on maintainance days that it was TOO thick to manage and that washing, and braiding it was too much work. That's why she pressed it regularly; I hated getting pressed because she was always manage to burn me somehow and I hated the smell of burning hair. Then when I was 6 or 7 she relaxed it, without telling my dad first; he flipped out on her for that one. She really didn't take care of it after the relaxer and my hair just started breaking, I don't think it's ever been as long or healthy since.
I haven't had any negative hair messages but honey I could see the funny look on my mom face when I tried to grow locs. She never said nothing though, I know what she was thinking
My mother relaxed my hair by at least the age of 4. She may have relaxed it before then, but that is the earliest I can remember. My mother has said negative things about my hair, made worse because she never knew how to braid, or press, or do anything else that all the other black girls' mothers knew how to do. It made me feel bad as a child that my hair was never done like other girls, even though I always had a lot of it.
In general, my mother is color-struck and seems to believe that black is a synonym for limited, handicapped, etc... Naturally, she is one of those people who think that all white women's hair is real, and she will stare at a black woman with real long hair like she stole it.
When I was in grade school my father said something about mixed (he meant 2a-3b type) hair being "the kind everyone wants, anyway." I have very thick 4a. My father has always been faux-afrocentric, and seemed kind of embarrassed after he let that slip.
On the positive side, hair stylists (West indian ones, but never dominicans) have said some very nice things about my hair that have helped me to think positively, and I have never forgotten them.
I'm sorry that your parents were uninformed OP. My mother, the angel that she is, never made me feel "some kinda way" about my hair. BUT....now that I've joined LHCF....she DOES make comments.... "You are obsessed with your hair"/"You need to trim that", et. al.
It's all about education. I cannot blame my parents for they did what they knew was best and I believe that the knowledge we learn on LHCF is really revolutionary and new. So, I am just grateful that we are here now and have this info to grow from.
My hair is longer now than it ever was my entire life....I've had some setbacks....I'm currently about an inch shy of BSL...but I've been BSL because of LHCF (I cut 3 inches off to rid myself of thin ends). So, we just do better when we know better and send blessings to our parents for they knew not what they did.
-my mother used to RIP through my wet hair with a comb because 'that was just dead/sheding hair anyway'. why could I feel it coming out of my scalp then?
-the typical 'you just cant grow your hair'
- the typical 'only people that know how to do hair are stylists. . . . you should go to a salon' but I get there and all of the stylists are bald and/or damaged too. . . I wouldn't let a woman with no fingers do my nails or a doctor with no experience do my surgery or a dentist with bad teeth do my hair. . . why would I let a random who knows NOTHING about me, my hair or my hair regime be in control of my hair from $60+ every 2 weeks? when the shampoo was $10, the conditioner was $8, and the comb was $2. . . and when I walk out it is CUTE but not healthy. [/rant]
-my mother still sends those messages now tho. . . all of that 'obsessed with your hair' and 'why don't u just go to the salon' and 'when are you going to get a touch up'. . . if monthly touch ups, weekly salon visits, etc WORKED wouldn't everyone have hair to their buttocks? it OBVIOUSLY doesn't work. . . when I think about much hair would be on my uniform shirt in the morning.
Hmm. I don't think I got too many bad messages. The only reason I got a relaxer in the first place was, at 8, I wanted a hairstyle that required a relaxer. Before that, my grandmother sent me to a beauty school to have my hair braided every two weeks. I had really cute hairstyles then.
I used to hear jokes about combs breaking in my hair and the such, but it was more of a joke then something to make me feel bad. She would complain, but we laughed about it, ya know?
But, I also heard the good hair vs. bad hair ish. It was more of a "Look at so-and-so, she has that good hair" then a "You have bad hair" thing.
When I went from public school to Catholic school, people would ask me if my relaxed hair was a wig because it never moved. I also got made fun of because I used to wear my hair the same way all the time (I really liked that hairstyle).
I always wanted curly hair, I do remember that. I went to a mostly Latin school. I would see all these girls with long, straight hair or long, curly hair. I felt that if I had long, curly hair, I would look more Latina. I mean, I was really self-conscious back then because I didn't know many Black Latinas. I felt that I didn't look Latina.
But thank God, I can wash my hands of all of that. I'm natural now. I have my curly hair, lol. My grandmother was cool with me going natural. Some family members acted like I was crazy when I went natural, but I have a family that prefers to talk behind people's back, so if they still have issues about it, I don't know.
My mom and my siblings are natural. Although, both my older sister and younger sister want to get relaxers. I'm trying to convince my little sister not to. I told her I'd teach her how to do any hairstyle she wants on her natural hair, so she won't have to straighten it. She goes to a mostly White school, so I think she sees White girls with hairstyles she wants to try.
Growing up my cousin(honestly more like a sister) had what was described as "good hair" by the rest of the family, we are 6 months apart and were inseparable. I rep 4a/b all day, even as a little girl. Every where we went she was singled out for how pretty she was, how nice her hair was, blah, blah. No one- Ever- and I do mean Ever said anything about my hair. It was like maybe my hair was invisible, maybe I was invisible. I dunno - I do remember even back then that it felt.....unsettling to me.
When you know better you do better though- in the words of Oprah. I have raised my children that all hair is good and have affirmed their hair as beautiful from day one. One is 4b like me and 2 are 3b's. Yesterday I was taking my 13 y.o. daughter to a basketball game and we were talking about how gorgeous one of the players hair is on her team. This girls hair is APL and healthy and relaxed, when she runs her hair swishes, it really is mesmerizing. My daughter commented that, "Oh they must have good hair in her family-uhm let me rephrase that, they must have healthy hair in their family, cause there is no such thing as "good hair". She went on to say that she hates the term good hair and that it reminds her of me and my cousin when we were little.
I let her out of the car to go park, and silently thanked the heavens that this bright child is mine.
Thank you mahogany for starting this thread. You are so right- there is so much emotion involved with our hair. I thank God for LHCF and to be able to be surrounded with like minded women- because I do not have that IRL at all. I promise you that when you have little ones you will impart postive hair messages to them from the get go. I concur with your sentiment its not that our parents did not love us as children, I just don't think they really understood how "deep" hair is for us.
My daughter completes me- she really is a little me. My husband calls her my mini me, lol. I am just so thankful because she "gets" it.