Few topics get Black women to go from 0 to 90 in a mili-second like the talk of hair. When I decided to address the issue of brides wearing their hair kinky, curly, wavy, twisted and in locs for their wedding day I knew I was signing myself up to receive very strong opinions. But reading this post from Tia Williams of Shake Your Beauty gave me the final push to post about this pink, striped, polka dot, plaid elephant in the room.
I have worn my hair in doobies that grace my shoulders, bobs, a cut that was barely longer than a Cesear, twist-outs, double-strand twists and cornrows. I’ve had my hair pressed, relaxed, blown straight by a Dominican woman who spoke a little less English than I do Spanish and I’ve gone without a relaxer touching my scalp for eight years. I’ve even sported an Erykah Badu-esque headwrap, a faux ponytail and a couple of weaves in my day. I’m currently quite happy with a short, relaxed cut but I’m pretty sure I’ll be natural again at some point. I don’t see my hair as a political statement but who knows what kind of pressure I might feel when it is time for my own strut down the aisle?
I know women who unapologetically rock brastrap length weaves but could teach a college course on the African Diaspora. I also know women who wear afros or locs and are as empty and superficial as they come. However, when I hear women who normally wear their hair kinky, curly or wavy proclaim that they have to get their strands straightened for their wedding day it saddens me. Really saddens me. It immediately makes me think about those mothers, grandmothers, aunties and neighbors – most with the best intentions – who teach little girls that for “special occasions” like school picture day, Easter and birthday parties when they are expected to look extra pretty, their hair should be straight and preferably long. Ay vey.
Of course there are a multitude of historical and cultural reasons for thinking that straight, long hair is most desirable and contrary to popular opinion this train of thought is not confined to women of color. While in college, a Jewish classmate with a mountain of thick curls atop her head burst into tears retelling a story about her hair going “back” after a fresh blowout when someone pushed her into the pool one summer. She was mortified and I was confused because prior to then I had no idea White girls had such hangups. But back to Black brides…Why in 2012, when we supposedly “know better” are women still feeling pressured to wear their hair in ways that they don’t really want to for arguably one of the most important days of their lives? And let’s not forget about those brides who demand that the women in their bridal party get straight –literally– before the big day lest they get cut from the lineup.
I’m proud that in Tie the Knot Tuesday, I’ve had the opportunity to feature a plethora of beautiful natural hair brides and engaged women. The most recent being Kahran and Starrene. And one of the first posts on the site was a Q&A with natural hair guru Arlette Pender. Former Road to Mrs. blogger Nadine shed light on her refusal to add false hair in any capacity to her short pixie cut on her wedding day. Yet, I’m still going to challenge myself to do more.
I’m definitely not the first person to address this subject and I sure won’t be the last but it has never been addressed to this degree on Triple B. So tell me, do you think a short kinky fro, locs or twists are inappropriate for a bride to wear on her wedding day? If you’ve already been a bride, did you feel pressure to straighten your hair before saying “I Do”? What about pressure to have long (past your shoulders) strands? Please be as honest and candid as possible – we’re a community here at Triple B so all feedback, as long as it is respectful, is welcomed.
[Image courtesy of Beauloni.]