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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Black women and weave

I find it funny and ironic that back in secondary school I’d get girls saying I was ‘black on the outside white on the inside’, yet they were the ones wearing white women’s hair on their head.

On the one hand, so what if black women wear weave. Some white people have dreadlocks; everyone changes their hair and their styles. I dye my hair. On the other hand, what are the psychological reasons behind it?

Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair sought out to look into this. Black women tend to think their hair is ‘ugly’, that straight hair is ‘better’ and more attractive. I don’t doubt this is due to years of the media telling us that being black is ugly and being white is more attractive; that the ‘beauty standard’ includes long straight hair as opposed to kinky hair/afros.

When I was about four or five, I remember wishing I had long golden hair like Sleeping Beauty. My wonderful mum told me that when I was older everyone would wish they had hair like me. She was right. Sometimes I (sadly) joke to myself that people like my hair more than they like me. People do adore my hair; black, white, male, female, young, old. I’m not bragging (ok, maybe I am a bit) but I can’t go anywhere without people commenting on it. Someday I might cut it all off just for the hell of it.

I had a black female friend who I would debate this with all the time. She’d get annoyed at me and go on about how I have nice long ‘mixed raced’ hair and have no right to chat shit about weave. The thing is, why are certain hair types deemed ‘nicer’ than others? Because if we look at the history of slavery and the underdevelopment of Africa and colonisation, it has all carried the message that white = good and black = bad. Not saying that things are still like this today, but of course there is still some de facto racism. Things are definitely changing; make-up adverts now usually have a white woman, Asian woman and black woman.

But still so many black female public figures – Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé – wear weave. Thus this still sends out a psychological message of Caucasoid hair being ‘pretty’ and Negroid hair being ‘ugly.’ I’m mixed raced so my hair is a mix of both – in more technical terms it is ‘type 3’ hair which is curly and thick. (See post: All About Hair ‘Type 4’ hair is kinky, afro hair that has curls so tight you can’t see them. I think afros are beautiful on men and women. Angela Davis rocked hers; so did the Jackson 5. 

There are online movements and Instagrams all dedicated to celebrating natural black hair. I think this is important symbolically because it helps people feel unashamed of how they look and accept their inner beauty. Racially of course it helps. Yes, I have mentioned on some of my posts that I don’t agree with ‘racial’ or ‘ethnic’ pride, however some people do and can internalise this. I don’t really give a shit if I’m black or white, I’d still be gorgeous either way (hehe). But I think some people internalise ‘ugly black women with ugly nappy hair’ and that can lead to self-hate, negativity and racist attitudes. Even on a YouTube video of mine called ‘Why black girls hate white girls: video response’ the level of racism in the comments (from people of all ethnicities) is appalling and astonishing. There are comments like ‘stupid black girl cut your stupid hair’ (aimed at me) and ‘you are very good looking black bitch’ (also aimed at me) and ‘white girls that get with black guys are usually fat ones’ (jesus). I find them more hilarious than offensive, and just shocking at how racist people can still be.

Of course beauty is subjective and in the eye of the beholder. Beauty standards are sold to us in the media, but we may or may not agree with them. I will probably never find fat guys attractive, but I don’t find super ‘hench’ body-builder bodies attractive either as I think they’re really intimidating and would be scared my boyfriend would crush me during sex or otherwise. I like normal slim athletic male bodies. Six packs and v lines are gorgeous, but I’m not ‘fussy’ about them; I’m sure there are girls out there who would be like ‘I would never date a guy who was under six foot tall and didn’t have a six pack!’ Smalls noses and straight hair and light skin may be pretty to some. Others may be into big lips, big butts and frizzy hair. Some guys prefer thin women, some guys prefer curvy women, regardless of race. I just think we should all accept how we look and not think we need to change how we look to adhere to ‘beauty standards'. If you want to change how you look, you should do it because you think it looks good on you, not to 'conform' to some standard.
Some super-enthusiastic video I made when I was
16 ranting about black woman and weave. 


  1. Weave absolutely suits Black Women. I think it is one of the most amazing hairstyle out there. A friend of mine has a similar hairstyle and she looks amazing.

    1. Interesting; I suppose the style of weave can make a difference.


I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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