Monday, April 4, 2011

"She's Old Enough For A Relaxer"

Now you all know I didn't say that...but it was said to me. Here's the story:

After wearing her hair in small twists for a couple weeks, Syd was anxious to see her beloved "big hair" again. When taking the style out, I wet her hair and added a lot of Kinky Curly Knot Today. Once all the twists were out, we were left with hair that looked very similar to (but not exactly like) a wash-n-go. It was big and Syd loved it. I told her she could let her curls fly freely all weekend, knowing that she didn't have school on Monday and we'd style it that day.

This is what her hair looked like all weekend: big, but moisturized and healthy.
We had a busy weekend. We spent time shopping, at church, and at the park. Syd got compliments on her hair everywhere we went. She also got looks from people who obviously weren't fans of such huge hair. I think that's why Syd loves wearing her hair like this. Love it or hate it, people DO notice hair that big.

We can usually tell when someone doesn't like the mass of curls on Syd's head. Their facial expressions make that obvious. But the only actual comments we've ever received have been positive. I guess a lot of people in our area follow that golden rule: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. But this weekend, one woman in particular didn't follow that rule.

We were hanging out having a good time when this woman looked at me and said, "You know, she's old enough for a relaxer."

I looked at this woman and said something to the effect of, "Yes. She's old enough. But I don't plan on destroying her hair just to try to help her fit in with people who don't love her the way she is." She didn't really have a response for that, so the encounter was over.

Not everyone is going to appreciate the beauty Syd and I see in a head full of loose curls. I get that. And I completely accept that. After all, we all have our own opinions and preferences. But since when is it appropriate to suggest to a parent that they alter their child's appearance? Actually, I know the answer to that question: IT'S NOT!

What about you? Have you ever been on the receiving end of this type of comment? How did you handle it?


  1. I love how you answered truthfully and boldly. Like you, I get positive comments. Only once did someone ask, "So, you're going to keep your hair like that ... for good?" "Yes," was my reply.

  2. Both Syd and her hair are just beautiful. You and Syd most definitely did not deserve that comment. I think that people can just be so rude and unaccepting! I mean, she's old enough for a relaxer? Really????? I'm literally sitting here shaking my head! You are doing such a great job with her hair and teaching other mothers that their daughter's hair is not unacceptable and is beautiful just the way it is. Hopefully encounters like these won't discourage you because I remember times that my aunt got comments like that about my little cousin's hair and she did cave in and relaxed the little girl's hair! It sad that people are so unaccepting of our natural hair but it's even sadder that some of us will cave in to fit the standards of those commenters.

  3. Syd's hair is amazing and gorgeous! I think you have the best response to the suggestion to relax that I've ever heard.

  4. Oh my goodness! I can't believe someone said that to you (especially since her hair looks gorgeous and is obviously well cared for)! Like you, I live in a mannered, golden-rule sort of area, so it's hard to imagine a stranger offering such a heinous comment. I'm afraid my response would've been a bit less gracious than yours (like "You know, you're old enough to mind your own business!").
    Thankfully, we haven't had any super ridiculous hair comments (not to our faces, anyway!). About the worst we've heard have been assessments of whether our kids have "good hair" or "bad hair." And I know people think they're being kind saying that kids have "good hair," but that terminology (and all the baggage that accompanies it) still disturbs me. I typically mutter something about liking all kinds of curly hair and thinking it's all good, but still...awkward. =/

  5. Thanks, ladies.

    Precious, no worries...I won't be caving to anyone wanting me to use relaxers. Besides, Syd LOVES her big hair. :)

  6. Beautiful hair!!!! It would look good no matter how she wore it. They are probably just jealous of all those curls! Curls in twist and curls just plain, they all catch your eye and both my daughters get looks. I am so glad she was looking forward to natural, maybe she can help others feel good about themselves as curly young women. Prom helps... not one girl leaves home without spending hours to get the curls our kids get to have every single day!

  7. Bravo! and well said. You have done an excellent job and it's SO great that Syd loves her hair - it's wonderful that she wears her hair such confidence!!! Keep up the good work!

  8. Great Job mom! Her hair is beautiful and I am sure it gives her more confidence in herself hearing her mother defend her natural beauty. I have had many people stare at my daughter's hair and shake their heads when it is out or laugh. I have had people say that "that's a lot of hair you got to handle"... Thankfully I haven't had anyone say anything that rude! My daughter likes the attention of wearing her hair out too. I love Syd's hair it is beautiful and keep up the good work mom!

  9. Yes great response...and I've been on the receiving end of a relaxer type comment...I was getting her hair trimmed at a salon by a "professional" and she said "you know, we could comb a perm through her hair"...I couldn't believe what I had heard! I just responded with "no, we don't want to do that"

  10. Grrrr! That woman was a COMPLETE imbecile. I'm upset that she had the audacity to ask you that question! Great answer from you, though.

  11. I love your response! It really is awesome that Syd has enough confience to love her hair!!! Just shows what an amazing job you have done not only caring for her hair but also raising her to be so confident!!

  12. Awesome response! I think people get caught up in thinking "relaxed" or straight hair means "manageable". I have gotten comments to that effect (from my mama! Lord love her lol) and I understand its because she remembers the difficult time she had with my cottony fro. I've been educating her and exposing her to the curls and she has gone two days without offering to blowout my, Thanks for sharing



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