Hair Porn: Naturals Beware

Photo Credit: NewsOne.com

If you began your natural hair journey in the age of Youtube and social media, chances are you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn. And sisters believe me when I say that Hair Porn can be a big problem in the natural hair community.

What is Hair Porn, you ask? Hair Porn, is the compilation of images, videos, etc. that results in the arousal of hair lust, jealousy or simply yearning for Someone Else’s hair.

Who is Someone Else? Someone Else is that woman who has a type of hair that you will never have. Usually—but not always—Someone Else has a looser curl pattern than your own.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn? Here’s a quick check list.

  1. You begin searching for the product, special magical blend or secret herbs and spices that will make your hair do what Someone Else’s hair did. Even though you and Someone Else have completely different hair textures.
  2. You walk away feeling as if your own hair is somehow less than. Less beautiful, less awesome, less acceptable when compared to Someone Else’s Hair.
  3. You decide to use a so-called “protective style” and immediately slap on a weave or a wig that mimics the hair you saw in Someone Else’s picture/video/website.
  4. You begin making a mental comparison between your own hair and all of the other naturals you see walking down the street—and your hair keeps coming up the loser.
  5. Your frustration with your own hair begins to increase. Not because there’s anything wrong with your hair but because you can’t seem to understand why your hair won’t do what Someone Else’s hair can do.

Here’s the thing. When we wore our hair straight there were certain goals and ideals that many of us shared.  For example, no one who permed their hair wanted it to look kinky/coily/nappy.  That would have defeated the whole purpose of getting a perm in the first place. We wanted it straight—as in bone straight. Pencil straight. Stiff piece of wood straight. The straighter the better.

You get the picture.

But once we made the decision to go natural, the idea was generally that we were rejecting straight hair as the norm and instead embracing our hair in its natural state. But as I’ve said before, many of us made that decision with certain built in caveats.

That caveat says that the goal for nappiness is to have a Caucasoid version nappiness. Nappiness that isn’t too kinky. Nappiness that combs “easily.” Nappiness that is not permed, but is still a soft, curly, moving, flowing head of not-so-nappy hair.

My sisters, our hair is simply not a darker, nappier, kinkier version of our White sisters’ hair.

But if you get sucked into the world of Hair Porn this can be easy to forget. Sometimes Hair Porn can trigger certain desires or yearnings that lead to unhealthy behaviors. Just like the other types of porn, you can begin sliding down a slippery slope that ends in full out hair adultery. Soon you may begin regretting your decision to go natural and start contemplating the glory days of your straight hair past.

Now before you think I’m criticizing our natural hair sisters who decide to return to a straight hair life, I’m not. I’m all for loving yourself no matter what your hair look like. But if you end your natural journey primarily because you were lusting after Someone Else’s hair then that is a problem.

Going natural (successfully) is a process that requires you to embrace the hair that God gave you. It means that you stop desiring what you don’t have and learn to appreciate and enjoy what you do have—whether it is bone straight or nappy as a ball of twine. It means you reject the idea that says there is only one type of beauty. It means you stop comparing yourself to the Hair Porn stars in your life.  It means you come to a place of peace with who you are and what you look like. All of you. It means you redefine what it means to be beautiful and you use yourself as the baseline definition.

Now if you’re already knee deep in a Hair Porn addiction, here are some tips to get out before it’s too late.

  1. Walk away from the Hair Porn source! Just like an alcoholic or drug addict has to avoid the bar or walking to his dealer’s house, you have to stop logging on for the sole purpose of watching Someone Else’s hair videos.  If you and Someone Else have polar opposite hair types, start identifying and viewing hair videos or blog sites of women who have hair like yours.
  2. Take time each day to look in the mirror and identify three things that are awesome about your own hair. Tell your hair (and yourself) how much you appreciate it (and you!). This is sort of like building up the self-esteem of a person who has been neglected much of her life. Sometimes you just need to hear positive words spoken into your hair life in order to start believing that it truly is beautiful—just the way it is!
  3. Stop comparing your hair to Someone Else’s. This pretty much speaks for itself but it bears mentioning.
  4. Identify and connect with like heads. If you have type 4C hair (and yes, I’m speaking to myself here), then seek out and make connections on line with others who have a similar type of hair. I’m not saying we need to segregate ourselves by hair type. But I am saying that you need to create a support group of women who can relate to your hair struggle. It can be hard to feel supported if your only hair connections are with women who can wash-n-go on a daily basis while you can only wash-n-no or wash-n-Afro.

At the end of the day, indulging in a Hair Porn addiction can be detrimental to your self-esteem and can negatively impact your natural hair journey. Learn to spot the danger signs before you get in too deep. And remember—God had an entire universe of hair textures to choose from when designing your curl pattern. The one you ended up with is the perfect curl pattern for you!

If you’re looking for more thoughts from an Afro State of Mind, check out my book “Afro State of Mind: Memories of a Nappy Headed Black Girl now available on Amazon.com in paper back or e-book! And if you want to stay connected follow me on Twitter, “like” Afro State of Mind on Facebook or catch up on my latest youtube videos!

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Afro State of Mind: The Destination for Smart & Sassy Naturals!

Challenging our beliefs about Black hair, skin color, identity & race.

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About Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq.

Comments

  1. If I could take back the hours that I spent looking for my hair twin…

  2. Allegra says:

    I was falling in deep comparing my daughter’s hair with the rest of my cousin’s daughters’. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get my daughters hair like my little cousin’s and why her hair wasn’t the same length. And to top it off, I didn’t understand why my own daughter didn’t have hair like mine! (Side eyeing myself) So glad I read this today!! 🙂

    • Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. says:

      Wow – thank you so much for sharing your story! A lot of time it can be easy to pass our beliefs (be they positive or negative) onto our kids without even realizing it. I’m glad this post helped in some way. And I’m sure your daughter’s hair is GORGEOUS. Not in comparison to Someone Else’s hair – but on its own merits! 🙂

  3. Lurie,
    I love this piece! Your writing is so awesome! Can I re-post this on BGLH with links back to your site?
    Leila

  4. PhntsticPeg says:

    As a sister with that curly hair let me say that when 2 of my friends decided to go natural they were both looking for my hair. Often where I live it’s called the Dominican look – very tight curls with some kink and lots of bounce. And yes, both were disappointed when, after a lifetime of perming they discovered that their hair is not like mine. But learning to live with and love what you have is the best remedy.

    The point I made to them is to be careful what you wish for. Having hair like mine is WORK! Back in the day it wouldn’t take a perm so having curly hair was not cute. And there wasn’t Youtube to guide you through the process. I walked around either looking crazy or subjecting myself to perms and daily blowouts for a long time. It took YEARS to accept that this is my hair and it’s not going to change. It’s curly and kinky and straight and will dred a lot if you’re not on top of it. And for the 20+ years that I have been natural I STILL cant get the length that I want (yes I do it to myself as well).

    But I counter it by just letting it be, trying to keep it healthy as I can and encouraging every lil’ curly headed child I see with this unruly, knotted up mop on their heads to love what they have.

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