More and more women of all races are digging deeper into their wallets and laying out the big bucks on their hair … well technically on someone else’s hair, but ask any Black woman if it is hers, and she will likely give you the always amusing “yes it’s mine, because I bought it” answer.
Whether or not wearing a hair weave (and other beauty enhancers like colored contacts) has been a semi-controversial topic, and dissenters believe doing so is a sign of self-hatred. The argument is that our Black women are buying into society’s rules on what equates to beauty, and that leads to perming our hair and sewing in tracks to look more like America’s standard of beauty–White.
“I choose to wear my hair naturally because this is how I was born. I’m not White, I am Black with very curly, some would say kinky, hair. My hair represents my heritage, my ancestry and to alter it with chemicals, cover it up with someone else’s hair, or even straighten it, would be disrespectful to those who came before me, shaming my heritage and would express that I hate myself and everyone who looks like me. Wearing my natural hair contributes to the liberation of Black people; contributes to the obliteration of White supremacy, and contributes to the spiritual elevation of myself and those I represent,” said Brittney, a passionate natural-hair supporter.
I have to say, as a proud wearer of a weave that I disagree it is an expression of self-hate.
I don’t think that most women wear weaves because they hate the way that God made them. Women wear weaves for the same reason they buy new shoes–it’s an enhancement to your beauty, not a creation of beauty. It’s something new to add to the outfit that completes the look that you desire the same way the right pair of earrings or the perfect application of make-up does. Wearing a weave is no different than getting a new haircut, dress, or a new tattoo. We do these things because we want a change; we add to what we already have to express individuality, and to set us apart from the next woman, not to set us apart from our history.
Additionally, weaves are easy. In fact, they are the new micro braids. They are the get-up-and-go option when you just don’t have the time, patience, or the know-how to wrestle with the sometimes seemingly unmanageable kinks that Mother Africa blessed you with.
Weaves also, if taken care of properly, help women grow out and heal their own hair. Many young Black girls can attest to the damage perms and other bad-hair choices have contributed to their damaged hair.
Women now go the shop to get their weaves washed, conditioned, permed, pressed, curled, teased, clipped, cut, dyed, and whatever else they desire, and it’s a much safer alternative. All the damage that we were previously doing to our own hair gets done to the weave. We take risks that we wouldn’t have dreamed of taking with our own locks of love. All the while, our natural hair is safely braided underneath getting longer, and thicker and stronger.
“I don’t think it is a sign of a Black woman’s self hate. Women of all races wear weaves. It’s just about being glamorous more than it is about being something that you are not. Sometimes the extra hair just adds volume or allows you to take risks that you normally wouldn’t. I don’t always feel like combing my own hair and also when I have a weave it helps my hair to grow out a lot,” said Kianna an on-and-off weave-wearer of about three years.
Kianna makes a good point. Weaves, in most cases, are not intended to make you look ‘more White,’ because even White women wear them. Weaves come in all differently styles: Curly, straight, wavy, kinky, and even natural afro styles, so to say that their purpose is to make you look more White is one-sided and slightly misguided.
I find hair of all styles and textures, especially natural hair to be very attractive, choosing not to wear my hair natural doesn’t signify that I hate it. I, like many women, simply love the convenience of a weave.