Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do You!

Chris Rock is hilarious. He has a funny way of cutting through peoples' crap to get at the truth - however ugly or ridiculous or personal it might be. You can either be offended or you can laugh at yourself as a member of the human race complete with its idiotic pretensions.

I saw Chris Rock recently on Oprah drumming up support for his latest project - a documentary called "Good Hair." (Click for the trailer) I hadn't heard about the movie before and was quite taken aback when a black woman stood up and accused Chris of dissing black women and revealing their hair secrets - she was mortified and outraged. She doesn't want white women knowing to what lengths black women go in order to have "good hair", in other words, white women's hair.

Apparently within the black community you are deemed "prettier" if your hair is straight and long. Wavy is OK, but not the natural look. Black women are spending thousands of dollars each year for defrizzing straighteners, relaxers and weaves. I really had no idea. They also feel the straight or wavy look is more professional and helps them to advance in their careers and that if they wore their hair in its natural form they wouldn't be taken seriously and wouldn't get promotions at work. They feel that white women look down on them if they don't have "good hair." AND they want white women to think that "good hair" just happens - that they're NOT spending half of their salaries and half of their life sitting in beauty salons. AND due to the expense and weaves in their hair black women have a "hands off the hair" policy with the men in their lives.

WOW. I have a friend from Trinidad and a friend from Antigua and have never given a moment's thought to their hair other than to admire it. Is it really true that white women think less of a black woman if her hair is natural?? Or is this in the minds of black women due to them wanting to look like white women so that they don't feel inferior? Given the last few centuries of "black history" I can understand that but find it apalling to think black women feel the need to emulate white women in order to feel better about themselves.

I, for one, have not spent one moment of my life thinking about black womens' hair. However I also don't live in an area where there are equal numbers of black/white women so perhaps I am not well enough informed to have an opinion. However, as a white woman I spent a lot of time and money on my hair - dyeing it different colours, getting perms etc until I reached the age of 40 when I decided to let it go its natural colour (salt and pepper) and keep it cut very short (I cut it myself with the same kind of electric clippers that my mother used on my brothers).

All I can say is that I reiterate Chris Rock's message when at the end of the Oprah Show he said to all women: "do you!" Don't try to be somebody you're not, be true to yourself. If you do different things to you hair do it for yourself, not because you think others will think poorly of you if you don't. The message "do you" can apply to every area of a person's life. Be authentic, be who you really are and live that way. Sometimes I think that we see and listen to so many media messages each and every day of our lives that we're not sure who we really are because we're trying to measure up to society's version of the perfect woman or perfect man.

It takes courage and a lot of self-reflection to live an authentic life. We are not a reflection of the stuff we own and we are not a better person if we live in a bigger house. Getting rid of my stuff is a way of peeling off the outer layers of my life so that I can live in a more honest way.

Stay with me as I try to "do me"!

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