I have naturally red, curly hair. From a young age, people always told me how lucky I was to have such gorgeous locks. That is, until I got to middle school, where everyone with even a hint of a curl would straighten their hair. People started asking me if I'd ever straightened my hair and many of my friends told me how great I would look with sleeker locks. Naturally, I started experimenting with straightening my hair. While it was fun to do for special occasions, it never really felt like me.I didn't like it enough to do it on a daily basis like so many of my friends at the time and besides that, I didn't want to spend hours in front of the mirror each day, working on my hair.
As I've gotten even older, I've noticed that most girls with curls seem to air on the side of straightening. I believe how you wear your hair is a personal choice, but it makes me a little sad to see people conform to the straight-hair-standard, because of how curly hair is perceived in society. Generally, the straight look seems to be preferred and curls have been seen as juvenile and even shameful for many women of color, who are often pressured to turn to relaxers.
I'm ready to break through and start a curly revolution! For all of the other curly-haired women out there who don't straighten their hair, I applaud you for sticking to your natural style and not giving into the pressure to conform (unless, of course, you're straightening for you). With that, here are the 11 things we're tired of hearing.
1. "Have you ever straightened your hair?"
They say there are no stupid questions, but in my opinion, this is definitely one. Yes, I've probably straightened my hair before. Most people have. But why does that really matter? Do you think I have no idea what a straightner is and discovering it will somehow change my life? Everyone knows what straightening your hair means and it's not anything new. If you're thinking of asking me this question, just don't.
2. "It must be hard to take care of"
A lot of people will assume that curly hair means tangly hair. And sure, curls can be prone to tangles. But that doesn't mean I spend hours getting knots out of my hair or trying to somehow tame it. My hair isn't a yarn ball! Also, the last time I checked, straightening your hair requires a lot more maintenance than keeping it curly, so this statement doesn't really mean anything.
3. "Have you heard of Brazilian blowouts?"
There's a really good chance I have come across the term before, so I don't need someone to educate me about it. It's also a really shady way of saying that you think I should straighten my hair, which I don't appreciate. The fact that people think you actually care about their opinion of your own hair baffles me. These opinions are called unsolicited for a reason — because we didn't ask you what you thought of our curls.
4. "How do you keep your hair clean?"
This is a comment that many women who have natural hair receive, and it is just downright offensive. There's this old cultural idea that somehow, natural curly hair is more dirty than straight hair. Do people really think we don't know how to wash our hair? We keep it clean the same way you straight-haired folks do: with shampoo and conditioner.
5. "I wonder what your hair looks like straight"
Is it really that hard to imagine? Just picture my head with straight hair on it. I feel that this comment is usually a subtle way of someone saying they'd like you to straighten your hair, which is just as annoying as all of the others. If you're so curious, you can Photoshop a picture of me with straight hair — problem solved.
6. "You should do something different with your hair"
If I like what I'm doing with my hair, then I will continue to do what I do to my hair now. Inserting your opinion where it's not wanted? Again, this is not your place. I shouldn't have to do something different with my hair if that's not what I want.
7. "Have you ever tried layers?"
If you talk about how heavy or forthright your hair is, many will suggest you try adding in layers. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad suggestion, but I guarantee you that 90 percent of us with naturally curly hair have had a haircut with layers before — it's pretty much standard practice.
8. "You're so lucky; I wish I had curly hair"
See, I don't feel that most people who say this actually wish they had curly hair, they just like the end result. If they saw how much frustration goes into being naturally curly, they might think twice about wanting to have that type of hair growing out of their heads. I am in no way dissing us curly girls, but others need to realize that we hear this all the time and it can get tiring to constantly reassure people that their hair is fine as it is.
9. "Can I touch it?"
No, you can't touch my hair. Because it's my hair. Why is the personal space bubble such a hard concept for people to grasp?
10. "How long does it take you to straighten it?
A long time. Those of you who were born without curls may not understand how long it actually takes us curly-haired women to straighten our hair — usually at least an hour! Although if your hair is thick and coarse, it's going to take a few. Despite what you see on TV, without a professional styling team, we can't get our hair to look like Kim Kardashian's in the 20 minutes we have to get ready in the morning.
11. "You look amazing with straight hair"
Thanks? This feels like such a backhanded compliment to me. It's like if you tell someone who has recently lost weight that they look so much better now that they're thin — you're implying that they didn't look good before. Yes, I look amazing with any hairstyle, but my curls suit me just fine, too.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy