an email

SalamAlaikum Nahida,

First I want to say that I really love your blog, and I hope you don’t take this too hard, or the wrong way.

I read your post about hair a few weeks ago, and I felt like crying afterwards because, your hair is White. No offense, but if you can straighten it with just a straightening iron, and it sits like that, like it did in that picture, it’s White. I’ve had nappy hair my whole life, and I can’t get myself to stop doing things that harm it. I can’t get it straight, unless I use chemicals that burn. And even if your hair isn’t like everyone else’s, it’s closer to conventional beauty that mine will ever be! And if even a woman like you can’t seem to post a picture of it in its natural condition what the fuck am I supposed to do?

It’s taken me a long time to write this. I kept arguing with myself, but I finally had to do it. Again, I really love what you’re doing here, and I understand you don’t owe me anything.

Your hair is so beautiful, you probably don’t even know. You know who wants your hair? Everyone. People sell wigs for hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars that look like your hair! To Black women. With nappy afro hair that doesn’t move in the wind like in the movies. Women like me. And you know what? We pay for it. Isn’t that sad? Letme admit something: I’m crying again. I’m not saying that you didn’t hurt and struggle, but it makes me so angry that you have this HAIR and that you’re writing about ACCEPTING IT, accepting ethnic hair, and both pictures are of it straight! The least one would expect is a before and after shot, but it’s like you’re deliberately hiding it!

[name redacted]

____________________

Wa’Alaiykum ‘Assalam [name redacted],

before
after

Love,
Nahida

16 thoughts on “an email

  1. almostclever

    You know, I think this is a female issue, not so much what our hair is *actually* like. Maybe not all of us, but MANY of us grow up wanting what we don't have. I always hated my hair because it is "poofy." I have to tame it with a straightening iron before leaving the house, and I could NEVER have short hair unless I get Japanese straightening, which costs $500 (and yes, I have done that before)! I've tried to work with the poof by getting perms and keeping it curly, and so much money has been spent.Now, I am all natural, and I have accepted my hair and stopped wanting for something else. And of course, women approach me and say "oh I wish I had your hair! So much body! Mine is so flat" and it is so hard to say thank you and not tell my own battle with my hair. Anyway, long ass story short – I feel for women who struggle with their hair, it is difficult to walk that path of eventual acceptance, but we all must if we want sanity. I would like to recommend a couple books to the author of the email: The Dilemma of a Ghost by Ama Ata Aidoo&Black South African Women: An Anthology of Plays. Those two books did so much in helping me accept myself just as I am, and not fall into the pressure of the mainstream. ESPECIALLY that 2nd book. It is 10 different stories by South African women, and 1 of those stories has much to do with accepting our hair "as is."

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  2. Thank you. =) Well, you can't really tell in the picture there's also a lot of frizz. You can kind of see, if you click on it, but in real life it's much more… X_x

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  3. almostclever,Thank you for the recommendations. I think it definitely has to do with wanting what we don't have, but as I said in the email, a lot of what we want is related to what we percieve to be the ideal. Which is usually White.

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  4. Nahida, I read somewhere that frizzy hair is actually not "unhealthy" like we hear. People just needed an excuse to find it unattractive and fix it.

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  5. You're much younger than I thought you were. Usually the people I meet who seem as confident as you do are in their 50s. I thought you were probably at least in your late 20s.

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  6. Haha, I remember the year you were born with vivid clarity. I was watching Captain Planet.Though that makes me wonder, how long have you identified with feminism? The word/movement, not the ideologies.

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