If you decide to ‘go natural’ you really have to come to terms with your hair type. Don’t do focus too much on what you see on social media in terms of curl perfection. If you cut your hair, as long as you are healthy and have a good diet it will grow. However, have realistic expectations of how long it will take for you to see the growth. Recently, I wanted to cut my hair but it got me thinking about hair and identity.
Hair And Femininity
Growing up I’ve always heard that ‘a women’s hair is her beauty’. The implication was that as a woman your hair should have some length. Even in the stories I read, the female protagonists always had lovely long hair. I think the only stories I can call to mind where a main female character cut her hair was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. One of the characters, Jo, cut off her hair to sell for money to help her family. Then, again she was a ‘tom boy’. Perhaps, it didn’t count.
Hair and Identity in Books
There was also A Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. In this story Maggie, the female protagonist, has her hair cut off because her relatives always said it was unruly. Some how a woman’s hair is seen to reflect her personality.
Another personal favourite was Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Montgomery. Anne had fiery red hair and the temper to match. I am aware that they are white female characters but these were the stories from my youth. It was at university that I had exposure to literature with Black characters. The only woman who comes to mind is Janie May Crawford in Their Eyes Where Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Janie is black and her neighbours admire her ‘particularly her long, straight hair’ (no doubt a sign of her mixed heritage). At one stage in the book Janie’s second husband forces her to wear a head scarf. Its seems that her hair represents her beauty and sexuality. He wasn’t keen on any other man to feasting their eyes it.
These influences together with my love of Bollywood, cause me to be obsessed with having long hair. You name it I might have tried it. The thing is I had healthy hair past my shoulders but I wanted more. I’d religiously brush my hair at night and regularly check the length in the mirror as if it would magically grow overnight. The only occasions that cut my hair was during times of personal distress (call it broken heart syndrome). Speaking of which there was also Libby from ‘The Woman He Loved Before‘, by Dorothy Koomson. Libby’s hair was shaved off by doctors after her car crash. It took her some time to cope with its loss amongst other things…
my hair has been long, short, processed, unprocessed and back again. However, the second time I transitioned into natural hair it was all for good healthy positive reasons. Now, four years after going natural I’m considering cutting my hair again.
The longer my hair gets the thinner it seems to be. Whether the lack of thickness is down to age or the weight of the length I don’t know. My postpartum shedding has stopped. A few of my staple products come from Shea Moisture Yucca and Baobab range. The range is meant to make hair thicker. I can see that my hair looks a bit thicker but not excessively so. I use castor oil three times weekly on my scalp, edges and ends. I’m thinking that perhaps a restyle may give more volume.
I don’t want to cut and start over, for some reason every time I cut my hair very short it grows thinner and straighter. Odd! I know. Although I admit I do envy all the cute TWAs (Teeny Weeny Afros) I see online. Once you are fit and healthy, hair grows, right? Nonetheless, I’m curious to see how long I can grow it to. A few friends have said try a trim and colour and I think for now that will be a safe way forward. I’m a late bloomer. I’m now getting makeup and feeling more ‘girly’. I think like the hair for swish factor.
I’m especially flattered my Angelo tells me I look like Cinderella, when I’m dressed and rocking a twist-out. Bless his little heart. I guess you can say, on a level that my hair does reflect where I am emotionally, right now.
Is your hair natural ? Do you crave length and/or volume? How is it styled? What does your hair mean to you? What does your it say about you? Do you have a favourite female protagonist? If so what was her hair like?
For me, yes, I think its part of my beauty but not all of it. Yes, it does reflect my personality but not all of it. I am not my hair.
Whether your blond, auburn, kinky, coily, straight haired, with extensions or without extensions, I’d love to hear from you.
(Updated 12th September 2020)