White Women Co-Opt the Natural Hair Movement- Black People Still Can't Have Anything.
In other news, water still wet.
It was only a matter of time before all the Beckys, Bettys, and Veronicas of the world sunk their manicured hands into the natural hair movement. Honestly, I'm surprised we made it this far before it happened. With all the co-opting of the Kardashians and the latest slate of appropriation from Katy Perry, it's incredible that it didn't happen sooner.
But the fact is: it happened.
The website PopSugar recently posted an article, paid for by OGX, encouraging women to wear their natural hair - the kicker is that all the women are white. Some argue that the article should not be scrutinized as gentrifying the natural hair movement, as it never mentions the movement itself, it just uses the phrase "natural hair" a lot and "If they can't call their hair 'natural hair' then what can they call it?"
I see this point and I rebuke it in the name of coconut oil. There is something a lot more insidious, a lot more sinister, a lot more subversive going on in this article. I'm totally here for all women embracing their natural hair, but that's not what this article is about.
The article states "All women are born with beautiful hair. While they may not always realize it, their lovely locks are as unique as they are, and just as amazing. We want to empower women to embrace their unique hair: To be proud of every strand."
The crucial detail that's missing from this article is the word "white" before the word "women." If this article were truly encouraging "all women" to embrace their natural hair, they would have included women of color, or perhaps a few trans women. But no, instead we're presented with three different white passing females with hair limper than Bill Maher's "house-nigga" apology.
Not to mention that the insecurities that these women feel about their hair are rooted in systemic racism in the first place. All the women talk about how their hair was "too thick" or "too frizzy" for them to feel comfortable wearing it in its natural state. This stems from society conditioning us to think hair that is kinky or textured, hair with qualities classically attributed to black people, is ugly.
The article is problematic, and I'm not buying it. There's a difference between telling all women to be comfortable in their skin and body, and presenting us with three white females who are "finally comfortable with their natural hair." This is not an article promoting confidence and self love to all women. This is yet another case of theft from the black community and using white women to present it to the world in a more "palatable" way. It's about as empowering and refreshing as a white girl with a Pepsi.
But you don't want me to get into that.
Edit: Since publication, PopSugar has retitled their piece from "These Three Women Are Making a Serious Case for Rocking Your Natural Hair" to "These Three Women Are Making a Serious Case for Not Processing Their Hair."
Is it fixed? Nah. The monolith that is European Beauty Standards™ still pervades and needs to addressed and dismantled in order for mistakes like this to be avoided in the first place.
But we appreciate the effort.