Revisiting Being Natural In The Corporate World

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Law Firm

Some time ago, I discussed being natural in the corporate world. When I decided to go natural two years ago, it was an easy thing to do because I worked for a liberal employer. It was an advertising agency that encouraged individualism and showing your personality, so my transition to natural was accepted. I have since quit my job at the ad agency and accepted a position at a law firm. Super corporate, right? But we also live in different times, times where I’d like to think that companies are more aware and a bit more accepting of different cultures and how they wear their natural hair. As long as it is neat, clean, and presentable there shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong. There are still a lot of black women in the corporate world who are unfairly treated, judged, and ridiculed for having natural hair.

Seeing that I work for a law firm and I’m their receptionist, I know I have to tread lightly and keep my hair tame for the most part. Lately I’ve been rocking bantu twist outs with a head band. Then my husband encouraged me to forego the headband (he hates when I wear them) and just rock my curly fro. I looked at him and then at myself in the mirror and I said “You know what? You’re right! There’s nothing wrong with my curly fro!” I received compliments on my hair while one boss stated “Oh you’re wearing your hair all big today, huh?” Now you know I could have been all kinds of offended, and honestly I kind of was at first. But there are people out there who simply don’t know. They don’t know a thing about African American hair, kinky coily hair, or the many ways that we can style our hair. So I let her comment pass and just said “Yeah, my husband told me not to wear the headband today and just rock the curly fro, so that’s what I did.” Then moments of awkwardness ensued.

I’ve decided to play things by ear and wait and see if anything will be said to me about my hair. Lord knows I hope nothing is said about my hair because….well we’ll cross that bridge if it ever comes up. The previous receptionist that I’m replacing wore wigs and quick weaves, so they are used to seeing someone at the front desk with straight hair. I think it’s time they expand their minds with me and my natural hair which will always be neatly styled. I won’t push the envelope with crazy styles, but I do plan on getting some kinky twists (braids) and I will continue to rock my afro. Nothing makes me feel more powerful and confident than rocking my afro, and rocking it BIG! Again, it will be tame at work. 😉

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6 responses »

  1. I enjoy reading positive corporate world vs natural hair stories. Thankfully, my office is the most liberal places on earth and my hair isn’t even thought of as a problem at all. I hope you never have to get to the proverbial bridge when it comes to your hair at your work place.

    • Hi Justvou!! Thank you for your comment! While I looked forward to working at a law firm again, it was nerve wrecking! I’ve now been there for 3 months and I haven’t heard a single negative thing. I’m also rocking my kinky twists as promised and have received many compliments. I think the “air” is finally changing, and that’s something for law firms that are known for sticking to tradition and not welcoming change. I’m gonna post pictures of me with my braids shortly!!

  2. Hello, hello, my blog buddy. The sad thing is that we even have to think about how we as naturals where our hair to work. I mean, really. I know that society is not fully accepting of our kinky hair, but come on, for us to be judged because of a hair style at work is silly to me. I have a super corporate job as well, and I would flat iron my hair for large meetings and training events because I was the only natural there. I didn’t want to be judged. I would wear my hair in a bun, and slick it down with gel. It took several months before I found the courage to wear my fro to the office, just like you mentioned. I got a lot of looks, people touched my hair as if it was some science project. It was a tough first day, but I made it through! My team members now look forward to my hair styles, be it twistout, or bantu knots, a curly fro or even braids! They touch my hair and ask, wow, how did you get your hair like that? Ha! It really is hilarious. Congratulations on the new job and good luck with wearing the fro and bantu knots. I would love to hear an update on how your natural styles go over at work! 🙂

  3. Hey NickyGoGlam! Girl how have you been? I hope FABULOUS! I worried myself silly over how to wear my natural hair to this new job, and even spent hours blow drying and trying to straighten my hair only to have it draw back up after getting to work! Mind you it’s summer – so my attempts at blowing out my hair were useless. I quickly gave up and decided to do the bantu knots. It’s a shame that we’re the ONLY race of women who have to worry about how we wear our hair to work because of close minded ignorance and intolerance.

    I read an article recently from a naturalista who said when she wore her hair straightened a workmate said that she looked “More professional” with her hair that way. The gall, the NERVE of people!! But this, sadly, is what we as African American women are dealing with. I worked at the ad agency for 7 years and enjoyed a lot of freedom from how I dressed to how I wore my hair. Now I find myself very aware of how I style my hair since working for a large law firm and it’s sad. I’ll keep you posted and I’ll be posting pictures soon!

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