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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why We Need to Love Our Curly Babies

Our society has convinced us women, especially our tightly-curled women, that we have to correct our curl pattern. And you know, truth be told, we literally did have to conform in order to look more like the majority during the last centuries. In the late 1800's and early 1900's one had to distinguish one's self from looking less like a slave and more like a citizen. So you can see a host of men and women who paved the way for minorities, but all of them, probably 99.9% had straightened hair. Then when you look in the yearbook of the 1940's and 1950's, pretty much every little girl had their blue magic grease and a straightening comb ran through her hair. And if we skip ahead to the babies of the 80's and 90's, we swore by the power of the perm, whether for a relaxer or a Jheri. I skipped the 60's and 70's intentionally because this was on most people a short lived outcry to go back to "your roots". It was connected to politics and movements and when the political wind changed, the hair changed right along with it. I remember growing up in the 80's (I was born 1980) and laughing at people wearing afros. That was a no no by the time I came around.

So here we are today. Many people feel freer than ever, and instead of thinking of their hair as an expression a political statement, they are free to experiment with endless supply of styles out of desire and curiosity. And since this is the information age, we are moving from just trusting manufacturers on empty promises they place on hair products and are actually reading for ourselves just what that chemical is doing to us. I wear gloves and vigorously wash my hands off after using Drano, but the same or similar chemicals are used in relaxers. I dare you to go to the salon and asked the beautician to put the relaxer on your arm and keep it there for 25 minutes. Would you do it? Of course not because of that potent, powerful chemical. I remember when I was a girl some of the perm splattered onto my cheek and the beautician almost fell over herself trying to wipe it off my face. But yet we did it for years on our scalp.

So nowadays we have access to information and we are smarter now. The same way we learn about good children's literature, good schools to keep our kids competitive, healthy foods for our children, I think it is important to learn about ways to keep their hair strong and vibrant. Our curly babies have been slighted way too long. They are not second class citizens. They are not to feel embarrassed about their hair. They don't have to apologize for their God-given looks. And with a little knowledge and a lot of patience, we mothers can make the difference. With that, I am committed to educate myself and others to love our curly babies - from hair to toe.

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