My Hair, My Decision: Why I Straighten


Yes, it’s true that hair is a MAJOR issue for African-American women. To quote interior designer Shelia Bridges, who was featured in Chris Rock’s controversial documentary, Good Hair, “The reason hair is so important is because our self-esteem is wrapped up in it.” If this is so—if hair is such a big part of us, is it really appropriate to treat our hair choices and textures as members-only clubs?

I am in no way suggesting that we shouldn’t celebrate our hair and its versatility. More so, I’m suggesting that no other person has the right to dictate what we do with our own hair, natural or otherwise. The beauty about being a woman is we have an array of options, and that is what we should embrace.

My personal goal is to grow longer hair. Eventually, I’ll wear it “out” or in twist-outs, but when I choose. All of the parts of our bodies, even the hair that grows from our heads should cause us to feel loved, not guilty or judged.

So to the women, like my dear friend, who can rock a ‘fro and twist-out like no other, the women who flat irons her natural hair every two weeks, the ones who let the relaxer sit until it begins to fizzle on her scalp, and the ones who think the longer the Remy, the better, only you know makes you shine. Whether I agree with your methods or not, it’s your hair, not mine. If what we’re really practicing and advocating for is freedom from whatever is entrapping us through our hair, let’s act as such. Live and let live.