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rogue_psyche
September 3rd, 2009, 06:52 PM
"Why Michelle Obama's Hair Matters (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1919147,00.html)" an article about different perspectives on letting black hair go natural. It's a great read for LHC members, as going natural is part of a lot of our haircare goals.

I personally think Michelle would look even more gorgeous if she let her natural texture come out. I'm also not fond of the pinned up pixie but at least it wasn't actually cut. But you know, she's not here to decorate my world and all. :rolleyes:

What are your thoughts on this article?

GlassEyes
September 3rd, 2009, 07:18 PM
I think NC did a similar article.

To be honest, though it would be a great thing if she went natural as far as going agains the idea that you have to fight your natural hair texture as a black woman, they really shouldn't push that kind of change on anyone that doesn't want it. :shrug: If Michelle Obama wants straight hair, then Michelle Obama wants straight hair. End of story.

Lamb
September 3rd, 2009, 07:49 PM
If Michelle Obama wants straight hair, then Michelle Obama wants straight hair. End of story.

Yes, this.

ericthegreat
September 3rd, 2009, 08:02 PM
Well, I'm not African-American so of course if anyone here happens to be of that heritage hopefully my opinion here won't sound out of place. :)

But, I am an apprenticing hairstylist and I have assisted in styling the hair of many African-American clients. Never once have any of them mentioned, "I want straighter hair because I want to look more Caucasian." If that were the case then they would have surely undergone damaging skin bleaching to go along with their relaxed hair. Perhaps the history of straightening a black person's hair has its roots in conforming to Eurocentric ideals of beauty, but certainly these days major black celebrities like Beyonce and Janet Jackson regularly sport long, straight styles that are achieved thro both relaxers and weaves/hair extensions not because they are secretly repressing themselves and their race but because they personally feel that long, straight hair is very sexy. And this is exactly what my black clients say, they want longer, straighter hair because it is universally appealing to the eye, and it is easier for them to manage and comb and brush out after the process is done.

pepperminttea
September 3rd, 2009, 08:18 PM
Wow, I didn't realise how she wore her hair was such a big deal. Definitely agreeing with the above comments though; she should wear it how she wants it, never mind what the media think.

melrose1985
September 3rd, 2009, 08:24 PM
she's a very pretty lady, but honestly why do people (media) care about how she wears her hair? I dont get it. Like last week there something about her husbands summer book list! Who cares! we have bigger problems in the US and we are worried about her hair and his books!?

And in no way am i trying to offend anyone, like i said she looks great.

LovingLife
September 3rd, 2009, 08:28 PM
I think michelle does it for ease since kinky hair is hard to care for.

teela1978
September 3rd, 2009, 08:37 PM
Well, I'm not African-American so of course if anyone here happens to be of that heritage hopefully my opinion here won't sound out of place. :)

But, I am an apprenticing hairstylist and I have assisted in styling the hair of many African-American clients. Never once have any of them mentioned, "I want straighter hair because I want to look more Caucasian." If that were the case then they would have surely undergone damaging skin bleaching to go along with their relaxed hair. Perhaps the history of straightening a black person's hair has its roots in conforming to Eurocentric ideals of beauty, but certainly these days major black celebrities like Beyonce and Janet Jackson regularly sport long, straight styles that are achieved thro both relaxers and weaves/hair extensions not because they are secretly repressing themselves and their race but because they personally feel that long, straight hair is very sexy. And this is exactly what my black clients say, they want longer, straighter hair because it is universally appealing to the eye, and it is easier for them to manage and comb and brush out after the process is done.

I agree in part... but I think the societal pressure to have straight 'easy to care for' hair (is burning your scalp with relaxer and/or getting a weave every 6-8 weeks easy?) is a rather large part of the push towards those straighter styles.

Buddaphlyy
September 3rd, 2009, 08:37 PM
The Black Hair Police really work my nerves sometimes. I really like Michelle Obama. She's a hardworking successful woman, a supportive wife, and a good mother. I really could care less about her hair.

* I would love to raid her closet though*

spidermom
September 3rd, 2009, 09:02 PM
Sometimes a hair style is just a hair style; don't dig for deeper meanings.

Roseate
September 3rd, 2009, 09:02 PM
I remember during the Clinton administration, Hillary changed her hair a couple times and there was so much talk about it! She got bangs, she wore headbands for a while, she cut it short... and you would think it was an international incident. What did it all mean???!!!

Both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton are brilliant, accomplished women, and I'm sure if they had something to say, they'd make a speech, not telegraph it subliminally through their hairstyles.

Interesting article though. TIME is all about the hair lately.

GlassEyes
September 3rd, 2009, 09:08 PM
The only reason I can think of it as having any sort of importance is because of black hair being tied to feelings of racial displeasure. The reason most black women relax their hair has it's roots in seeing caucasian women as the most attractive--it may not be the reason they relax TODAY, but it is a player in the background.

Basically, it's one of the reasons why they'd want Michelle Obama to go natural--you'd be hard-pressed to find a woman in any sort of position of power or respectability with natural hair of any kind. It would sort of just give those who see going 'natural' as a sort of freedom from the "background" oppression an icon.

See, hair might be just hair, but it can be tied to a loooooot of things, especially ties with race, and ESPECIALLY with blacks. It probably shouldn't be that way, but, eh, so is life. ):

However, what I said in the beginning of the thread is still true, I just wanted to give a little more information. :p That's the main reason I think this article was written, and not exactly to focus on her looks. Yes, too often that is the case with many a female politician/person in power, but not the forerunner here.

ericthegreat
September 3rd, 2009, 09:21 PM
The only reason I can think of it as having any sort of importance is because of black hair being tied to feelings of racial displeasure. The reason most black women relax their hair has it's roots in seeing caucasian women as the most attractive--it may not be the reason they relax TODAY, but it is a player in the background.

However, what I said in the beginning of the thread is still true, I just wanted to give a little more information. :p That's the main reason I think this article was written, and not exactly to focus on her looks. Yes, too often that is the case with many a female politician/person in power, but not the forerunner here.

Well, I suppose you have more of a relevant and personal POV in this case. Again, my last post was based on my on observations as an Asian American(altho I can also sympathize being a minority in this country as well) and my interactions with my black clients and also with my old black female classmates/friends/aquaintances. And I agree, our hair is simply just that our hair. It shouldn't have to be a measure of what our personal politics or religion/beliefs are.

GlassEyes
September 3rd, 2009, 09:29 PM
Well, I suppose you have more of a relevant and personal POV in this case. Again, my last post was based on my on observations as an Asian American(altho I can also sympathize being a minority in this country as well) and my interactions with my black clients and also with my old black female classmates/friends/aquaintances. And I agree, our hair is simply just that our hair. It shouldn't have to be a measure of what our personal politics or religion/beliefs are.
It doesn't really matter. You don't have to be black to comment on these things--though the subject may be most important a singular race, discussions of race usually involve all of them. I don't see how it isn't relevant.

That said, I didn't read your post until just now. What I'd like to question is why you think that black women (and, likely, the rest of the world) think straight or 'straighter' hair is sexier and/or better? Directly, on the surface it is just that--they like it, but it's so widespread because of the general culture saying that natural hair is 'bad' if it grows out instead of down, and in kinks instead of pins.

I say wear your hair how you want, but it doesn't change that. :( When I say 'hair is hair', and that is what it SHOULD be, it fails to take in what hair can be a symbol for, especially to those who are black/of african descent. Sucks.

Chibbylick
September 3rd, 2009, 09:42 PM
Seems to me that everything is politics if that is how you choose to look at it. Hair can definitley be an overt political message... but boy howdy I'm glad when I get up in the morning I don't have to consider how the way I wear my hair will be interpreted by international media. Or how my personal choices will be interpreted as supporting or undermining racial equality issues. That is way too much pressure to put on anyone!
Chibby
ps... she's gorgeous!

Buddaphlyy
September 3rd, 2009, 09:48 PM
It doesn't really matter. You don't have to be black to comment on these things--though the subject may be most important a singular race, discussions of race usually involve all of them. I don't see how it isn't relevant.

That said, I didn't read your post until just now. What I'd like to question is why you think that black women (and, likely, the rest of the world) think straight or 'straighter' hair is sexier and/or better? Directly, on the surface it is just that--they like it, but it's so widespread because of the general culture saying that natural hair is 'bad' if it grows out instead of down, and in kinks instead of pins.

I say wear your hair how you want, but it doesn't change that. :( When I say 'hair is hair', and that is what it SHOULD be, it fails to take in what hair can be a symbol for, especially to those who are black/of african descent. Sucks.

I can only speak for myself, but growing up black and female, I honestly was not explicitly told that straighter was better, but that my hair needed to be "done". Now, granted most of the time this mean getting it straightened (or at least a little less nappy) in some way, but really, as long as enough of the kinks were knocked out, I was good.

But I do think you raise a valid question. It's one I often ponder myself. A lot of people say that hair is just hair (I say this often, lol), but at the same time, when you look at the influx of products and tools for straightening versus those for curls or waves, the industry is really telling us something. And obviously a lot of people are buying.

spidermom
September 3rd, 2009, 09:50 PM
I know the history of ...... But still. I don't see the need to analyze everything so much. Why do we see straight hair as sexy and desirable? I don't know about everybody else, but I love how it shines, how it moves. Others are rushing off to schedule perms as we speak. What someone does with their hair is really nobody else's business.

HairColoredHair
September 3rd, 2009, 10:01 PM
I feel rather sorry for them, honestly... The mother gets ripped for wearing her hair straight and the daughter gets ripped for wearing twists... It's absurd.

Roseate
September 3rd, 2009, 10:18 PM
when you look at the influx of products and tools for straightening versus those for curls or waves, the industry is really telling us something. And obviously a lot of people are buying.

I think that's the main thing the industry, like all industries, wants to say: BUY.

Folks with straight hair are told their hair doesn't have enough "body", natural curls are too unruly, dark hair isn't fun, light hair washes you out....etc, etc.

The beauty business will jump on any insecurity anybody's got and try to get us to buy something to fix it.

spidermom
September 3rd, 2009, 10:35 PM
I think that's the main thing the industry, like all industries, wants to say: BUY.

Folks with straight hair are told their hair doesn't have enough "body", natural curls are too unruly, dark hair isn't fun, light hair washes you out....etc, etc.

The beauty business will jump on any insecurity anybody's got and try to get us to buy something to fix it.

Too true! Others see thick, but I think my hair is too bushy to be truly beautiful. I'm sure somebody has a fix for me.

ericthegreat
September 3rd, 2009, 10:39 PM
It doesn't really matter. You don't have to be black to comment on these things--though the subject may be most important a singular race, discussions of race usually involve all of them. I don't see how it isn't relevant.

That said, I didn't read your post until just now. What I'd like to question is why you think that black women (and, likely, the rest of the world) think straight or 'straighter' hair is sexier and/or better? Directly, on the surface it is just that--they like it, but it's so widespread because of the general culture saying that natural hair is 'bad' if it grows out instead of down, and in kinks instead of pins.



I'm happy I didn't offend you. I've had experiences where some individual persons who happen to be black did in fact very strongly and heatedly told me what I could or couldn't say or ask them. Its like bringing up the N word. Clearly altho we have come very far with the election of Barack Obama, still more needs to be done to strengthen better relations in this country.

And honestly I guess the best answer is to say that we shouldn't judge or crucify a black woman/black man or ANY woman or ANY man for what they personally decide to do with their hair. Maybe for some they do indeed intend to (whether consciously or subconsciously) conform to "white standards" of beauty, but for some like Buddaphlyy they really do like it because it personally appeals to them. I don't think there is a right or wrong here, or at least there shouldn't be. We should all be free to wear our hair in whatever form or style we like to without being scrutinized about what our choice of hairstyle represents about our politics and beliefs.

Roseate
September 3rd, 2009, 10:40 PM
Too true! Others see thick, but I think my hair is too bushy to be truly beautiful. I'm sure somebody has a fix for me.

Yes they do. I almost bought this "volume reducer" (http://www.johnfrieda.com/products/products_discontinued.asp?pid=85&section=products&subSection=frizzEase&lineID=4) at a low bushy-hair point last year.

Kuchen
September 4th, 2009, 12:36 AM
I loved these NYT interviews about hair (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/08/27/fashion/20090827-hair-interactive.html?scp=4&sq=black%20women%20hair&st=cse). No "angle", just women explaining why they personally wear their hair a certain way.

hmmm
September 4th, 2009, 01:47 AM
I actually found it interesting. It's a little obvious to me that the measure of beauty in the West (I say this as an outsider and a person who's never lived there) - has always been focused on Caucasian-type features and hair. I know very well that the change in popular media showing people of 'all colours' has been extremely recent, and I also know that popular media tries hard to show only the more Caucasian-looking black women in their beauty supplements. (You never see a black woman with a wider than 'normal' nose.) Maybe things are changing now, but obviously they aren't changing that much if a black first lady still feels the need to straighten her hair.
Of course, it could be a personal choice, but it's just the fact that it's so popular a choice among black women (as opposed to other, naturally curly haired women) makes it pretty interesting.

Toadstool
September 4th, 2009, 06:20 AM
I found the article very interesting. I agree that "hair is just hair" but I also believe that "the personal is the political" is not just an outdated cliche.

longhairedfairy
September 4th, 2009, 06:31 AM
she's a very pretty lady, but honestly why do people (media) care about how she wears her hair? I dont get it. Like last week there something about her husbands summer book list! Who cares! we have bigger problems in the US and we are worried about her hair and his books!?

And in no way am i trying to offend anyone, like i said she looks great.
LOL:)Ditto this!

Armelle
September 4th, 2009, 08:16 AM
I am interested in seeing the documentary "Good Hair (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1213585/)" with Chris Rock. I suppose it's similar all over the U.S., but African-American ladies' hairstyles have always been rather dynamic in the South. :)

Buddaphlyy
September 4th, 2009, 08:59 AM
I actually found it interesting. It's a little obvious to me that the measure of beauty in the West (I say this as an outsider and a person who's never lived there) - has always been focused on Caucasian-type features and hair. I know very well that the change in popular media showing people of 'all colours' has been extremely recent, and I also know that popular media tries hard to show only the more Caucasian-looking black women in their beauty supplements. (You never see a black woman with a wider than 'normal' nose.) Maybe things are changing now, but obviously they aren't changing that much if a black first lady still feels the need to straighten her hair.
Of course, it could be a personal choice, but it's just the fact that it's so popular a choice among black women (as opposed to other, naturally curly haired women) makes it pretty interesting.

Okay, this is something that really irks me when people talk about black women and beauty. Why is it always assumed that if a black woman is deemed "beautiful" by the popular media, it is only because she looks "non-black"? Quite honestly, I only personally know about 7 people who have a "wide" nose. And why do people always bring up this feature when trying to showcase how black beauty really isn't "black".


I am interested in seeing the documentary "Good Hair (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1213585/)" with Chris Rock. I suppose it's similar all over the U.S., but African-American ladies' hairstyles have always been rather dynamic in the South. :)

Actually it's the other way around. Even though a lot of hair shows happen in the south (Bronner Brothers annual show is the biggest and usually held in some southern city), in everyday life, southern black women are much more conservative with their hair. You mainly see burgundy/blue/hot pink weaves in crazy updos in the north.

JamieLeigh
September 4th, 2009, 09:08 AM
This is why I would hate to be in the limelight. I love being able to do what I want, when I want with my hair, and it not affect any sort of "approval rating" with the masses. Give the lady what she wants and bugger off. End of story.

Of course, if I DID cut my hair, I'd lose over half of my friends list on Facebook.....hmmm..... ;)

ericthegreat
September 4th, 2009, 09:13 AM
Not me Jamie. You could get a pixie haircut (not that I'm suggesting it of course!)
and I would love you just the same. :heartbeat:

hmmm
September 4th, 2009, 09:26 AM
Okay, this is something that really irks me when people talk about black women and beauty. Why is it always assumed that if a black woman is deemed "beautiful" by the popular media, it is only because she looks "non-black"? Quite honestly, I only personally know about 7 people who have a "wide" nose. And why do people always bring up this feature when trying to showcase how black beauty really isn't "black".


You have a point I guess, all 'beauty' is based on some standards that are out of logical and/or conscious control. But I think sometimes it goes a little too far, for instance I've seen magazines like Cosmopolitan that have all their models, regardless of skin colour, look like white people. Outside of those pages I haven't seen one brown person or Negro look like that. While that could be said of all the models in glamour magazines - I have yet to see a typical-featured Negro woman who wears her natural hair - being called glamourous.

Buddaphlyy
September 4th, 2009, 09:38 AM
You have a point I guess, all 'beauty' is based on some standards that are out of logical and/or conscious control. But I think sometimes it goes a little too far, for instance I've seen magazines like Cosmopolitan that have all their models, regardless of skin colour, look like white people. Outside of those pages I haven't seen one brown person or Negro look like that. While that could be said of all the models in glamour magazines - I have yet to see a typical-featured Negro woman who wears her natural hair - being called glamourous.

And what exactly is a "typical featured Negro"? (this is a rhetorical question even though I know some people do have an answer).

I'm not picking on you, but comments like this are very interesting. Lots of people want to bemoan the media and say that they misrepresent black beauty and try to make it look white. But in saying that, they are also IMO inadvertently saying that there is another stereotype that they have bought into (that of blacks only having broad noses and kinky hair).

loyaboya
September 4th, 2009, 09:41 AM
Seems to me that everything is politics if that is how you choose to look at it. Hair can definitely be an overt political message... but boy howdy I'm glad when I get up in the morning I don't have to consider how the way I wear my hair will be interpreted by international media. Or how my personal choices will be interpreted as supporting or undermining racial equality issues. That is way too much pressure to put on anyone!
Chibby
ps... she's gorgeous! Great post, Chibbylick! I completely agree. I happen to have 'natural' hair and the only reason I grew out my relaxer is that it was a lower maintenance option for me. There was no intent to make a statement. But it's amazed me that people will assume certain things about my beliefs/viewpoint, etc by how my hair looks. I've been approached multiple times in public by people who have said 'you look like someone who...'. But I guess like anything, people will impose their own beliefs upon YOU, whether you like it or not.

More and more, I'm starting to feel like hair is a private, personal thing. I had a friend in college who was rasta. In public she always kept her hair under a scarf. Her hair was very personal for her. She'd only let it down in her home (it was gorgeous, btw). I'm starting to feel that way about my hair now. These days I keep it up all day and let it down in the evenings (and the occasional weekend) for my husband and myself to enjoy.

loyaboya
September 4th, 2009, 09:53 AM
You have a point I guess, all 'beauty' is based on some standards that are out of logical and/or conscious control. But I think sometimes it goes a little too far, for instance I've seen magazines like Cosmopolitan that have all their models, regardless of skin colour, look like white people. Outside of those pages I haven't seen one brown person or Negro look like that. While that could be said of all the models in glamour magazines - I have yet to see a typical-featured Negro woman who wears her natural hair - being called glamourous.

hmmm, what country do you live in?

I think to some extent it makes a difference where you live (the images you see in media). When I went to thailand I got a lot of questions about what race I was. In general people didn't seem to know, probably because they mainly only saw blacks who were from Africa. My husband is from east africa and he's flat out told me before that people there don't look like me. But in the US, there is no question that I'm a black american (quite average looking, actually, and I kinda have a straight nose with a hump in the middle :D). So i think where you live makes a difference in what you expect to see. Here, I'm "typical featured" but depending on where you live that may not be the case.

hmmm
September 4th, 2009, 10:01 AM
And what exactly is a "typical featured Negro"? (this is a rhetorical question even though I know some people do have an answer).

I'm not picking on you, but comments like this are very interesting. Lots of people want to bemoan the media and say that they misrepresent black beauty and try to make it look white. But in saying that, they are also IMO inadvertently saying that there is another stereotype that they have bought into (that of blacks only having broad noses and kinky hair).

Haha, that's not what I'm saying. But since we're on it, why not? Why shouldn't glamour include black stereotypes?
It's the whole idea of what's okay and what isn't in terms of beauty, and in reference to the article, acceptable for a woman looking to portray a neutral image that isn't 'different' or threatening in any way. If she had large crinkly hair, would she still be considered as stylish and smart as she is now? People just aren't used to seeing both things on the same page. It's really a subconscious thing, because humans rely heavily on visual characteristics, but it's something to think about.

hmmm
September 4th, 2009, 10:11 AM
hmmm, what country do you live in?

I think to some extent it makes a difference where you live (the images you see in media). When I went to thailand I got a lot of questions about what race I was. In general people didn't seem to know, probably because they mainly only saw blacks who were from Africa. My husband is from east africa and he's flat out told me before that people there don't look like me. But in the US, there is no question that I'm a black american (quite average looking, actually, and I kinda have a straight nose with a hump in the middle :D). So i think where you live makes a difference in what you expect to see. Here, I'm "typical featured" but depending on where you live that may not be the case.

Could be. I live in India, I've only met a handful of Negros that I've talked to (not tourists), and they all looked different, obviously, some degree of variation in features is to be expected. One of them was half South Indian, she had a Tamilian accent :D
I guess that although people in the 'real' world vary diversely it's only one specific type that's ever considered 'beautiful' or ideal. It's like that almost everywhere, the question is whether it should be, considering how much we've advanced past those ages where people would mutilate themselves to be considered attractive. Funny how they still do, with cosmetic surgery and all.

Buddaphlyy
September 4th, 2009, 10:40 AM
Why shouldn't glamour include black stereotypes?


I don't think I'm stereotypically black (even though no one anywhere else in the world would mistake me for something else), but I am glamourous, with my afro. :afro:

I do appreciate your point of view though.

hmmm
September 4th, 2009, 10:50 AM
So do I :)

Fractalsofhair
September 4th, 2009, 11:07 AM
She did used to have her hair natural in college(At least I think? I saw a photo of her with a graduation cap on with a 4a/b natural texture). Honestly, I don't worry about Michelle Obama straightening her hair, though I do find it "odd" that her young children have their hair straightened. Things like that are very common among white women in my town as well, but IDK, I just feel for children, their natural hair texture is best as it is always easiest to take care of since well... They don't need to worry about their hair being messy. Also, I find it odd(but I do know people who do this) that the Time Magazine mentions that some African American women don't work out to keep their hairstyles intact. General health is FAR more important than having pretty hair one day. If I need brain sugary, I'll be OK getting my head shaved. But anyways, many white women use relaxers on their hair since they hate anything curly, and most of my peers spend several hours each day flat ironing it. All the work seems extreme, to me, because it is done in addition to regular things like washing it and combing it. A hairstyle shouldn't be your life.

teela1978
September 4th, 2009, 11:32 AM
A hairstyle shouldn't be your life.
Completely off topic... but I find this statement hilarious from a person who frequents a long hair forum :flowers:

I agree though, I would hate to spend that much time on my hair. I have no qualms talking and reading about hair for over an hour each day though. To each their own.

loyaboya
September 4th, 2009, 11:33 AM
Could be. I live in India, I've only met a handful of Negros that I've talked to (not tourists), and they all looked different, obviously, some degree of variation in features is to be expected. One of them was half South Indian, she had a Tamilian accent :D


I can relate to what you're saying. I could also say that I've only known a handful of indian women, all looking a little different but yet none like the women I see in movies. The women in movies always look a little more Caucasian. I've always found it to be very strange (and unnecessary).

Buddaphlyy
September 4th, 2009, 11:57 AM
She did used to have her hair natural in college(At least I think? I saw a photo of her with a graduation cap on with a 4a/b natural texture). Honestly, I don't worry about Michelle Obama straightening her hair, though I do find it "odd" that her young children have their hair straightened. Things like that are very common among white women in my town as well, but IDK, I just feel for children, their natural hair texture is best as it is always easiest to take care of since well... They don't need to worry about their hair being messy. Also, I find it odd(but I do know people who do this) that the Time Magazine mentions that some African American women don't work out to keep their hairstyles intact. General health is FAR more important than having pretty hair one day. If I need brain sugary, I'll be OK getting my head shaved. But anyways, many white women use relaxers on their hair since they hate anything curly, and most of my peers spend several hours each day flat ironing it. All the work seems extreme, to me, because it is done in addition to regular things like washing it and combing it. A hairstyle shouldn't be your life.

The Obama girls are natural. They probably only get their hair straightened for special occasions. However, their father ran for President, so the number of special occasions increased last year, so they may have a bit of heat damage that has changed their curls. They definitely don't have chemicals in their hair though I think.

nmarie33
September 4th, 2009, 01:10 PM
All I know is, I think it looks very odd whenever I see a black woman with very straightened hair. To me it looks very dead and fake, almost plastic-y. I hate seeing white women with really obviously straight-ironed hair too...looks like Barbie hair, and it just doesn't seem to move right or something.

It just seems that what your body gives you to work with is usually the most flattering. Whenever I see a black woman with natural hair, I'm like WOW!! Just the other day on the train I saw this girl with an amazing huge afro that floored me. She looked so pretty, and I think one of these flattened and shellacked hairdos would have looked awful on her.

I guess I'm just rambling here, but it just seems to me that lots of black women spend huge amounts of time and money to get these weird hairdos that fry their hair, when they could just let it be free and look 100x better. The beauty industry has got its claws deep in all of us I guess.

ETA: If Michelle Obama did decide to go natural for whatever reason, wouldn't it kind of look like a disaster for quite a while? It's my understanding that when you grow out curly roots with relaxed ends it looks incredibly wacky until you get enough length to cut the straight parts off. Correct me if I'm wrong!

Buddaphlyy
September 4th, 2009, 04:10 PM
All I know is, I think it looks very odd whenever I see a black woman with very straightened hair. To me it looks very dead and fake, almost plastic-y. I hate seeing white women with really obviously straight-ironed hair too...looks like Barbie hair, and it just doesn't seem to move right or something.



Are you sure you were looking at straightened HAIR and not a straight WEAVE? Because I have honestly never seen a black woman with real hair that was straightened (with heat or a relaxer) who's hair looked like plastic. So it could be that the reason it looked fake is because it was.

PhillyGirl1978@
September 4th, 2009, 07:18 PM
Well, I'm not African-American so of course if anyone here happens to be of that heritage hopefully my opinion here won't sound out of place. :)

But, I am an apprenticing hairstylist and I have assisted in styling the hair of many African-American clients. Never once have any of them mentioned, "I want straighter hair because I want to look more Caucasian." If that were the case then they would have surely undergone damaging skin bleaching to go along with their relaxed hair. Perhaps the history of straightening a black person's hair has its roots in conforming to Eurocentric ideals of beauty, but certainly these days major black celebrities like Beyonce and Janet Jackson regularly sport long, straight styles that are achieved thro both relaxers and weaves/hair extensions not because they are secretly repressing themselves and their race but because they personally feel that long, straight hair is very sexy. And this is exactly what my black clients say, they want longer, straighter hair because it is universally appealing to the eye, and it is easier for them to manage and comb and brush out after the process is done.

I'm sure they don't say that, but there are underlying racial issues as to why they think that longer straighter hair equals better hair. I am biracial and I used to relax too. It's the same reason that so many black women wear wigs and weaves because of deep seeded beliefs that what they were naturally given isn't good enough. I hear the "good hair" comment too much. Some will say they do it to appear more socially acceptable, more professional and that may be true, but why wouldn't your natural state be socially acceptable and plenty professional? Because society has shown us for ages that black hair wasn't as good as white hair.

But of course whatever type of hair Michelle wants is fine...it's her hair.

Fractalsofhair
September 4th, 2009, 07:59 PM
Completely off topic... but I find this statement hilarious from a person who frequents a long hair forum :flowers:

I agree though, I would hate to spend that much time on my hair. I have no qualms talking and reading about hair for over an hour each day though. To each their own.
XD I know what you're saying. But I guess, I mean, there's a difference between spending a while on your hair, and then there's a difference of not doing many activities because of your hair. And spending a while on your hair on special occasions or once a week is one thing, but on a daily basis is a bit different. However, longer hair is a lot quicker for a lot of people. I mean, we aren't spending several hours here flat ironing it, curling it, blowdrying it, etc per day. (Though our Hennaheads might spend a few hours per month hennaing it! XD) Nor do I think most people spend several hours putting it up in a bun that they already know how to do. It's not as quick to have long hair as it is to have a buzzcut, but it is a lot quicker than "normal" length hair for a woman(by this I mean medium length, ie above the shoulder, but below the chin).

Fractalsofhair
September 4th, 2009, 08:36 PM
The Obama girls are natural. They probably only get their hair straightened for special occasions. However, their father ran for President, so the number of special occasions increased last year, so they may have a bit of heat damage that has changed their curls. They definitely don't have chemicals in their hair though I think.

Ah ok! I've only seen photos of them a few times, and most were at "important" events and I saw them with flat ironed hair.

I have an African American friend with very curled hair(Before she started relaxing it due to social pressure that is(basically she got told by some African American students that she was trying to be white since white people like afros(Which seemed odd and rude, IMO to say that!(Along with inaccurate as many white people are obessed with how straight hair is better looking than ANY sort of curl/wave)).)), and she basically told me that there is no way a flat iron could have gotten their hair that straight if they had hair like their mother's naturally is. (which makes sense. The Jewfro generally needs a relaxer to get anything straighter than 2aish(I say this as a person of Jewish descent), or about 5+hours... Which I somehow doubt Michelle has 5+ hours for special occasions for her daughters to get their hair done, but there are babysitters.) But I have no clue how President Obama's hair is if it was longer, and he is biracial, which could reduce his curls/recessive genes(causing hair that can more easily be straightened etc).(Nor have I ever seen pictures of the Obama daughters with their hair natural and not braided etc(upon a quick google search))

However, she goes to a hair salon that does not specialize in African American haircare, and well, let's just leave it at on her mum's side, her family had never even heard of relaxers(At least based on how her cousins reacted when they heard she used a relaxer. They hadn't heard of one, and thought that the only way to get straight hair was a flat iron, which didn't work that well on their hair they said(according to my friend)) and her mother thought that most African American women naturally had straight hair(and no, her mother wasn't adopted, and her mother has always had very short hair, so she didn't know if her hair was very curly(ie, froish) or just spiralish like most white people with curly hair, and her mother and grandmother both had similar hair styles from photos), and her father wasn't terribly more aware(Being a nerdy guy who thought he just had extra curly hair like a lot of Jewish students at his high school when he grew his hair long as he didn't really know that many African American people other than his family and a few others.), so she may not be the best source on these things...

She didn't know of hair extensions till summer camp that I went to and I told her a story about pink hair extensions I once had, and a woman also at the camp tried to explain it by comparing it to a weave.(Which she got very confused at the idea of people sewing things into their hair. It was kinda funny, since she's very knowledgeable about makeup and knew what "falls"(Dreaded clip on ponytail extensions) were.) It surprised me a bit since a lot of white people(With really only wavy/maybe 3a at the most? hair) in my town relax their hair, flat iron it, bleach it, and then have extensions if they have "long"(shoulder length->APL) hair, and I've had stylists beg my mother to relax my hair since I was little, and I have somewhat straight hair. It was kinda funny, since I certainly don't know that much about things like hair extensions other than the basics.

And her salon might not know how to straight very curly hair with a flat iron/blowdrier, which... Well, you can't just gloss a flat iron over hair that's in the 3-4 range and expect it to be straight. Her family has always lived in the North of the US since they came over from Africa by their own will, and basically came over for business reasons in the mid-late 1800s, and never really lived in a "black" community, so her family is an odd case in that respect and likely has different cultural traditions than many other African American families.(Just as the Scottish Jewish part of my family has very different customs than most other Jewish families.) However, she's really my only African American friend that I discuss hair with on a regular basis.

However, I am not an expert on African American hair, and I'm not sure how it would contrast to 3c/barely 4a hair on white people. Most people in my family have a weak 3b curl, which can easily be straightened by pulling it back to a 2aish look and takes very little heat with a flat iron to get it to 1a, and I myself have hair that is normally straight, though it sometimes curls and sometimes just frizzes up a ton(to the point where it looks like a mix between goth hair and a 'fro and frizz. XD Not the best look for ANYONE, imo.) For all I know, it might be a lot easier to straighten African American hair using heat than it is some Jewish hair. (And some Jewish hair straightens very easily so it does vary person to person as well.) And I'm certain an experianced stylist could do it far quicker and in a "better"(if the goal is straightened hair) than one who has no idea on how to work with very curly hair as they are used to dealing with hair in the 1-2 range.

Shiva
September 4th, 2009, 09:08 PM
What are your thoughts on this article?

I think too many people invest too much time and emotion in Time magazine/articles.

RoseRedDead
September 4th, 2009, 09:30 PM
Amen, Shiva. :cheese:

Shiva
September 4th, 2009, 09:46 PM
Personally, I like National Geographic myself... some gardening magazines, too.

;)

HalcyonDays
September 5th, 2009, 07:17 AM
Aye, Shiva.

I also think it's interesting that anyone cares about Mrs Obama's hair - I don't even know what Gordon Brown's wife's name is, let alone what she does with her hair...

Hampshirelass
September 5th, 2009, 07:30 AM
Her name is Sarah Brown!

I have no idea what her hair is like, though! It may be dark blonde, maybe reddish?

Chibbylick
September 5th, 2009, 07:53 AM
Bit of a fuss here sometimes about Therese Rain's hair, (Kevin Rudd's wife) and lets not even mention the fuss over her weight! Tough job politics... not my idea of fun
Chibby

nmarie33
September 5th, 2009, 01:41 PM
Are you sure you were looking at straightened HAIR and not a straight WEAVE? Because I have honestly never seen a black woman with real hair that was straightened (with heat or a relaxer) who's hair looked like plastic. So it could be that the reason it looked fake is because it was.

To tell you the truth I probably couldn't identify a weave if my life depended on it. All I know is I see a lot of black ladies with some pretty weird, shellacked looking hairdos!