African Hair: Let it Loose! Essay

African Hair: Let it Loose! Essay

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Most people who are not of African descent usually do not think much of African hair. They think that it is just hair and not a big deal. This is where they would be wrong. Hair is a very big deal in African society and is part of the collective struggle that African people have dealt with since slavery. Most Africans, especially African Americans, wear their hair in an altered state, whether that is with chemicals or heat, and are afraid to show their hair as it naturally is. People of African descent should be encouraged to wear their natural hair because: chemical and heat styling hair is damaging and unhealthy to the body, it is psychologically debilitating to try to blend in with others, and living as one was born is liberating.
Firstly, it is important to give some backstory for those who are not familiar with this topic. African hair is naturally curly. The degree of kinkiness in those curls will vary from person to person depending on their genetic makeup. It can range from loose waves to ultra-tight curls that are barely visible, resulting in an afro (this is the most common hair type for African peoples).
In the early days of American history, the European settlers bought African slaves to labor the plantations. Every aspect of the African, including his hair, was associated with poverty, stupidity, and savagery. This has carried on to the present day. “In the early 1900s, Madam C.J. Walker received a patent for developing the "hot comb" also known as a
"pressing comb". This device was the first of its kind to be marketed by a black woman to other black women, and it completely changed the hair game. Once the straightened hair was exposed to moisture, however, it would revert back to its original state. In the 1960s, G...


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...ging and unhealthy to the body, it is psychologically debilitating to try to blend in with others, and living as one was born is liberating. In 2013, there is no one forcing African Americans to conform to Eurocentric standards anymore. It is time to transition into what is natural. It is time to truly be oneself



Works Cited

Patton, Tracey O. "Hey Girl, Am I More Than My Hair?: African American Women And Their Struggles With Beauty, Body Image, And Hair." NWSA Journal 18.2 (2006): 24-51. Humanities International Complete. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
Sieber, Roy, and Frank Herreman. "HAIR In African Art And Culture." African Arts 33.3 (2000): 54. Humanities International Complete. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
Thompson, Cheryl. "Black Women And Identity: What's Hair Got To Do With It?." Michigan Feminist Studies 22 (2009): 78-90. Humanities International Complete. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

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