Why do we as women conform to what the media portrays women to be? The media makes us believe that what we see on television is how we are supposed to be in real life. Growing up, the images I noticed of women were skinny with straight hair and maybe a cute little bang to spice things up.
When I was a kid, I had a lot of hair. So much so that it came to the point where it was so time-consuming that I needed to get a relaxer—a relaxer that made my hair bone straight—and I LOVED it. It made me feel pretty and just like the girls that I saw on television. I had just finished watching Pocahontas at the time and wanted to look just like her, since there wasn’t another Disney character that was of color, other than Princess Jasmine. Why is that? Why couldn’t I see women who looked like me? Where were the women with the same curly, unruly long hair like me?
For a little girl who wasn’t even ten years old yet to feel this way is a problem in society. Each little girl should be able to see women on television and in the movies who look like her and who she would want to aspire to be like.
2010 was the year I stopped getting relaxers. I remember that day like it was yesterday because I was so excited to finally let go and just embrace all of me exactly as the Universe created me. And to also stop paying so much for relaxers even though I only had them about twice a year. I must say, personally, I don’t think I will ever go back to having a relaxer. That’s not to say that I will point my figure at those who do continue to get them. A woman’s hair is a personal choice and whatever works for you and whatever makes YOU happy is what you should do. I just know that with all the information we have now about maintaining natural hair and the various products available for all types of hair, it’s easier to choose to keep your hair natural. I’m thankful all the little girls today are able to see women with natural hair not only on television, but also on social media and YouTube.
Being tall already gives me attention when walking down the street. Now let’s add big curly hair to that equation and you’ll have people breaking their necks. Even though there are times when I wish I didn’t have all of the attention, I can’t help but realize that by being tall, and just by being and looking like my true self, there isn’t much else I need to say or do to get that attention. And most of the time I am thankful for my unique and beautiful appearance because it does make me stand out.
We are finally in the day and age where women are slowly but surely embracing who they are naturally and aren’t allowing the media to give us a specific requirement of how to look. We’re all beautiful. We’re all different. We all have different backgrounds. Even though the media isn’t completely there yet, it’s nice to know there are a few more movies and television shows that show little girls that there is someone on the screen who they can aspire to be. What the Universe gave each and every one of us is a gift – and that is to truly be authentically, unapologetically ourselves. Big hair and all.