Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Talk Tresses Friday: Should There Be #NaturalHair Rules or Commandments?

Recently I read an article online regarding The 10 Commandments Of Black Hair Care, in which experts weigh in on what black women should be doing to ensure healthy, beautiful hair.

So much of the discussions online concerning natural hair revolve around some set of rules and guidelines that we are naturals should (or should not) follow... There are oodles  of "Do's and Don'ts" on the subject. Think about it, many of the "Shit Naturals Say" videos that we all cackled at the tail end of 2011 all feature lines about what products we can't use and what ingredients are like kryptonite to natural hair! LOL

This led me to think seriously about how necessary and most importantly, helpful such rules are. When I was first starting my natural hair journey, if there are a universal set of rules, I would say I followed about 85-90% of them. This means that whenever I read advice online, I tried to incorporate it's practice into my regime. Now? I say "Eff the rules!" most of the time and do what feels right for me and my hair. And in retrospect, I think that was the best way for me to go about it.

When first starting out, many have no idea how to deal with their hair in it's natural state, primarily because we weren't educated on the subject, really.

This was certainly the case for me. My understanding of my natural hair was that there as a lot of it, that it was unruly, and that it must be straightened to not be unkempt. And I don't blame my Mum, she was probably given the same education, as did my Grandmother, and so on. For so many years, we were taught to achieve "good" (meaning: straight) hair by any means necessary. And the decision to go natural is much like having a blindfold taken off of you. Sure, you can see... but where the hell are you? In which direction should you go?

In those instances, I firmly believe using rules and guidelines can be helpful, because they can serve as a starting point and give directions at the beginning of your natural hair journey. This is of course provided that it's understood that the rules should not be taken as dogma. Once you have established what works and what doesn't work for you, you throw out the rules that are not applicable, and formulate your own rules for what your hair needs and thrives on based on what applies.... And even then the rules are subject to change often, as mine certainly have over the years.

Speaking of dogma, the idea of having Natual Hair Rules or Commandments kind of reminds me of Chris Rock's line from the movie, "Dogma": "I just think its better to have ideas. I mean, you can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier..."

When I think about all of the infighting that goes on in our community, perhaps if we weren't so zealously locked into our beliefs, and instead had a general idea of what it means to be natural, perhaps we wouldn't beef so much!

So, let's talk tresses: What are your thoughts on Natural Hair Commandments or Rules? Are they helpful, harmful, or both? Leave a comment with your take on the subject!

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