Feminism / TV

Guest Post: Let’s Get This Straight: A Perm vs. A Natural

Originally published on the blog Cocktails and Cognac: Candid Conversations About Love and Relations.  Reprinted with permission.

I’m sure all of you have seen this because it has been EVERYWHERE on the net but it’s worth a society shot post on C&C still the same. The background of this video apparently began with a white male writer at Sesame Street who adopted a black child. He wrote this song after his daughter started making negative comments about her hair. I must admit, I was pleased when I saw this video and glad that someone (ANYONE) took time to address a major issue that is facing young black women.

While I know what you do to your hair is a personal preference, I do believe that the default reason, “I need a perm because it makes my hair more manageable”, MAY hide unconscious feelings of insecurity and a need to assimilate. Since we live in a society that was built on a foundation of racism, we, as people of color, have to stop doing things because they are popular and began to think about why they became popular in the first place. I have no doubt that the popularity of the perm began as a tool of assimilation; one that would give us access into professional arenas and help people to be more comfortable around us. It has since become a way of life for many black women and while most will not admit that they perm because of insecurities, some will tell you that they will not go natural because their “kitchen” (the back of their head) is nappy and out of control (which, exposes their insecurities still the same).

Listen, I’m the first to acknowledge that natural hair is WORK but in my view, a beautiful result comes out of all that work.  Aside from being gorgeous, black women wearing their natural hair challenges people from other cultures to recognize and accept the beauty of difference. In a time when mother’s are burning their scalps and putting kiddie perms on their little girls in kindergarten, why not embrace another alternative? One where you can scratch your head instead of patting it to death when it itches; and option where you don’t have to worry about a chemical burning the side of your face or balding you permanently.  In my view, natural is the way to go but in the end, hair is a personal decision so be sure to make yours instead of just doing what everybody does.

Can you drink to that?

-The Bartender

P. S. I’m sure you’ve seen the clip below but think on it. It’s food for thought.


The Bartender blogs about love and relationships.  Visit Cocktails and Cognac to read more insights and advice.

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