Gabrielle Jones is an average teenager. She is a typical girl that is educated, family oriented, and possesses all criteria that puts her within the American standard, except one detail, her hair. Gabrielle is of African descent and has retained her natural hair texture for almost 12 years. Occasionally, Gabrielle views models in the magazine as a symbol of beauty because they have straight, manageable hair unlike her kinky curls. Eventually, Gabrielle decides to make a drastic decision that would change her hair, she decides to relax her hair. She takes a look in the mirror and but what can she see? She could have kept her curly hair which was associated with her for many years, however she did not recognize herself, she just criticized her features for not being of standard according to society? Although, Gabrielle is a fictional character, however, her story is reality for many girls who have thick, curly hair.
Although, sixty-five percent of African Americans relax their hair (Ebony) there has been a growing movement towards natural hair styling. Through personal research from surveys, books and other forms of documents, I have concluded relaxed hair is no longer a popular choice for African American women for it is has become an attempt to reestablish natural beauty.
I performed a convenient survey of thirty-five women of African American or Caribbean descent ages 16 to 25 on the topic of relaxed hair. Out of the thirty-five I surveyed, 71 percent of the women were relaxed, while 29 percent were all natural. However, through this survey I discovered, 17 percent of those who were natural take 2-3hrs to style their hair, while 31 percent of women who relaxes their hair take 0 to 30 minutes. Yet, 29 percent of those who relax their hair spend approximately 21- 41 dollars a month on hair maintenance, opposed to 20 percent of the natural haired women who spend approximately 0-20 dollars per month on hair maintenance. Intriguingly, I discovered 49 percent of those women who are relaxed wish to become natural again. I asked one of the responders why did she choose to relax her hair, her response was “Natural hair is too difficult and not as appealing as relaxed hair. Before I permed my hair, I didn’t feel beautiful because my hair was too nappy, like I was slave or something.”. This is an example of the mind set that has been in stilled in within those of African descent. It is ironic because prior to slavery, thick curly hair was a sign of class.
In Africa, the appearance of a person's hair would wear defined their social status. For instance, hair that was long, think and ornamented with beads would be considered high class. It was a sign a sign of wealth and wellness which portrayed that person as a worthy mate. Many Europeans understood they significance of the African hair practice in which they would later use against them during slave, by shaving their heads to humiliate the slaves (Sherrow 16). As slaves arrived to their final...