When Will Naturals Be UNITED?

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Women power

A blogger on Facebook wrote about natural bloggers and vloggers on YouTube and Instagram who wear a lot of “bold makeup” in their tutorials. She stated how they go through their how-to hair tutorials and then show the finished product with a very made up face. Not all vloggers do this, but some do. She then took the time to shout out vloggers that she personally liked because they wear little to no makeup in their tutorials. She also related how she used to wear makeup but has since stopped because she learned how to feel beautiful without makeup. While reading this and trying to figure out where exactly she was going with all of this, I couldn’t help but notice how she made it very clear that she was anti-makeup, but in the same breath gave what I felt was a very backhanded compliment to the other known bloggers and vloggers who always have ‘beat faces.” (For those that don’t know, a “beat face” means your makeup is flawless)

She said that she wanted to reach out to those naturals who may feel that they have to put on a ton of makeup to make their natural hair look more appealing to others because this is what they see the YouTube vloggers do. Her concern was for those who also hide behind makeup due to deeper issues they may have. I know there are naturals out there who feel like they must compensate for their natural kinky hair, and it breaks my heart to hear that they would feel that way.  However, if your intent is to encourage these naturals and open the dialogue for those who do have deeper issues going on, don’t point the finger at other naturals as though their choice to wear makeup is something bad.

Let me be clear: I admire her wish to open the dialogue for those who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin to be themselves. I take issue with her approach. As though there isn’t enough pressure on women as a whole to look a certain way, fit into certain molds, and to be a certain size to even be considered remotely attractive, we as natural haired women of color continue to put added pressure on one another by trying to dictate what makes you a true natural. Why must we do this to each other over something that should be celebrated, not trivialized? Why must some be so petty?

Just like being natural is a choice, wearing makeup is a choice as well. We all have our reasons for kicking creamy crack (relaxers) to the curb and embracing our natural roots. We also have our own reasons for wearing or not wearing makeup. Makeup is an enhancement. It’s used to cover up flaws and enhance beauty. Some women don’t feel beautiful unless they are made up. Some women feel beautiful and at their best with a clean, bare face. No one should be shamed for either choice.

I’m all about encouraging and empowering women, especially those who are embracing their natural roots because going natural is not an easy thing to do. It’s a process, and sometimes it can take a long time for some to embrace the process. That’s why I started this blog, to document my journey and to hopefully encourage others along the way. It bothers me to see bloggers write things that divide rather than unite. I hate to see yet another rule in the non-existent “Natural Hair Rule Book” being pushed off on those of us in the natural hair community. Educate, uplift, be positive, encourage, and empower. Those are the things we should be doing for one another as women and as black natural haired women, not making ones feel inadequate or not natural enough.

I keep coming back to one question: Where does it end? Every time you turn around there’s yet another “rule” out there that naturals should or should not be doing. For many of us, going natural had a trickle down effect. Not only are we taking better care of our hair by using more natural and organic products, we have also become more aware of what we eat by making healthier food choices. Some have stopped putting heat in their hair. These are all good, positive things that ones have made a personal decision to do. Giving the impression, intentionally or not, that naturals shouldn’t wear makeup and embrace their natural skin is one writers personal choice being pushed off on others, and that isn’t right. Will the next rule be that naturals shouldn’t wear finger nail polish or fake nails of any kind because we should embrace and love our natural nails? When will we stop adding burdensome, unnecessary rules to having natural hair and start accepting and embracing ourselves for the wonderful, diverse women that we are?

I expressed my opinion on the article and there were a few, including the author, who didn’t like it. What they couldn’t grasp was how her words, intentionally or not, could be offensive to those who do wear makeup. Their response to me was “Well the article isn’t for you, why are you so defensive? This article is for those who do feel pressured to wear makeup or feel the need to hide behind makeup. Those are the ones we want to reach.” They totally missed the point. At first I went back and forth with some of them attempting to explain where I was coming from, but ended up sounding like a broken record. The comments from these “grown” women became childish, and that’s when I gave up and left the conversation. In my opinion it wasn’t a positive, unbiased or uplifting post by this blogger. You can’t claim to be positive by putting down others and then sit back and act surprised when those who do enjoy wearing makeup are offended by some of your statements in your article. Oh, did I mention that the majority of those who took issue with my comments were those who do NOT wear makeup, just like the blogger who wrote the article? Surprise, surprise.

In the end I will always advocate for encouraging and uplifting my fellow naturalistas. I will always support and celebrate encouraging and uplifting natural hair blogs that also educate it’s readers. I will always speak out against the endless natural hair rules that certain natural hair extremists try to push onto others. I will always do my part to UNITE naturals and be positive, not divide and discourage.

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