Thursday, 19 July 2012

The 10 *New* Rules of Black Beauty

By Vanessa of Onyx Rose Online

As I read Ben Arogundade's article, "Black Beauty - The 10 New Rules", I kept saying to myself, "Yes!". Many of his points illustrate how I've been feeling about natural hair, relaxed hair -- black beauty as a whole. The following are statements that stuck out to me the most:

All hair and hairstyles are good.
Providing you choose them for yourself, rather than through any forms of pressure or coercion, from family, friends, haters or society.

Know your black hair history.
Knowing the cultural history behind the hairstyle you choose empowers your choices. For example, for those who wear wigs or weaves, this type of adornment dates back over 5,000 years to ancient Egypt, where they were worn for ceremonial occasions, and as sun protectors.

Know your own hair history.
For many black women, their preference for straight hair is driven by bad childhood memories of being teased and tormented at school about their natural hair, or being made to feel insecure by parents who insisted on the hot comb or hair relaxer. Understanding your own psychological back-story, and the way it has influenced your choices today, is fundamental, thereby raising ones consciousness from "choice" to "informed choice".

Black men -- be more supportive.
The black Nationalists of the civil rights era chastised African American women who didn't give up their processed hair during the aesthetic revisionism of the 1960s. Today's black men should support black women in their aesthetic choices, whatever they may be. They should be more empathetic and less chastising.

End black-on-black hair conflict.
Black women are under attack again, only this time from each other. Curly against straight, natural against processed. The two styles are billed in opposition to one another -- like a face-off between a pair of heavyweight boxers -- always with the word "VERSUS" separating them. In reality there is no reason why these two styles should not co-exist in harmony, with both factions accepting, instead of attacking the other. These feuds are divisive, and distract black women from life's more important battles.

and my favorite:

Perceived meanings can't be trusted.
Reverting to natural hair is often talked about alongside adjectives such as "self-acceptance", "freedom" and "political awareness". But these terms could just as easily apply to a black woman with a blonde weave, who chooses her style while being fully "aware". All assumptions based on aesthetics alone must be outlawed.

Do you agree with Ben Arogundade?

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