Hair & Culture: Can the Two Be Separated?

Can the care and style of curly and coily hair be separated from cultural influences and perceptions? I’m sure it can with some individuals, but with a hair history rich in techniques that alter the texture of our hair, it isn’t one that’s positive. For the most part, curly and coily hair has been considered a hindrance. If not, then much of the desire to straighten would not be as prevalent or acknowledged as a preference. From the times of Madame C.J. Walker til today, the need to rid our tresses of its bends and turns has been encouraged and accepted.  

The masses cannot seem to discuss curly and predominately coily hair without comparing it to the Eurocentric standard of beauty. Our beauty is on the other side of a linear beauty spectrum, and as a direct opposite there is a crushing blow that coily hair women have been dealt when it comes to what is considered aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Beauty is supposed to be in the eye of the beholder, but if an entire country (or world even) feels that fair skin, thin lips, and straight hair is the epitome of exquisiteness, then people outside of that realm can feel inadequate.

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Hair & Culture: Can the Two Be Separated?


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