Since the start of 2015 I have been experimenting with my beautiful locks. I went through three phases:
- Acceptance of my hair texture
- Getting to know my hair
- Experimenting with my hair
Now I can finally say that I gained full confidence of my hair. In order to question society successfully I have been observing, observing and again observing. I have been reading articles and discussions about hair texture discrimination. So why would I not test whether this truly happens?
Before going into details I want to emphasize that it is hard to judge whether there is hair texture discrimination online. Likes and comments on Facebook, Instagram and other types of social media really depend on the amount of followers that someone has. The amount of followers that someone has depends on the charisma of that individual and his/her expertise. Therefore, I decided to do the test in real life. Normally my hair is curly/coily as in the picture below.
So, what did I exactly do? I asked my lovely mother if she could do a Dominican blow out on my hair. We did not manage to straighten my hair completely, because I am blessed with a head full of hair and I was somewhat resistant towards the straightening ironer. This resulted in my hair being wavy, as you can see in the picture below.
People in my environment reacted really surprised stating that my face looks different and some even claimed that they like this hairstyle better, yes some just said the words that pisses of most curly women: “This looks much better on you.” But why would I be upset? My preferences and my pride are the most important, right? The answer is that I do not care what others think about my hair. But I believe that these kinds of thoughts heavily depends on the cultural background of an individual. You see, you have individualism and collectivism. People from individualism societies (mostly Western cultures) act according to their interest. Most of them would be annoyed by such comments about their appearance, but most of the time people will do what they want to do, because it makes them happy. People from collectivism societies do many group thinking. If a group member thinks that someone’s hair looks awful, the person is more likely to adjust to the preferences of others. Why? Because these individuals tend to act in the interest of the whole.
My second hairdo was similar to the previous one, but my hair was somewhat bigger. Do you know the quote ‘The bigger the hair, the harder they stare’? Believe me, it is true. And I really enjoy it, because I like to stand out from the crowd.
The reactions of people were mixed, some were staring; some came up to me and gave me a compliment. I think that how big my hair looked amazed people. I did not really received negative feedback from others.
Did I notice texture discrimination? Not really. My hair texture is considered as the less desirable hair types, but I did not notice that people were acting different towards me. So now I am wondering, did we implement in our minds that some hair textures are not beautiful? Possibly, at the very moment that we relaxed our hair. Unconsciously during the process of relaxing hair an individual develops the thought that straight hair looks better than curly/coily hair. This does not only impact the individual, but the witnesses in his/her environment. Our actions often have a huge impact on the mindset of those around us.
I want to emphasize the meaning of discrimination:
“The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex” Oxford Dictionaries.
Thus in my opinion, if someone prefers a certain hair texture out of preference, this cannot be seen as discrimination. So does hair texture discrimination exist? In most circumstances no, preferences do.