Undefined curls or undefined afros is something I’ve been hearing about for a while but never really paid much attention to. I don’t feel I can continue to ignore it because it’s really starting to bug me since these terms are actually targeted towards those whose 4c hair may not curl up and bounce like other natural hair types. Apparently to some, undefined curls or undefined afros are deemed undesirable or even unkempt. All I want to know is why? I know unkempt hair when I see it, and no it’s not attractive at all. But if a woman decides to just rock her beautiful afro with no particular curl pattern in it, what’s wrong with that? Why do people think that only curly natural hair is pretty?
There was a discussion on FaceBook yesterday regarding an article that had several pictures of women rocking their undefined afros in very elegant ways. The point of the article was to show that women with 4c hair can rock their hair without defined curls and still be beautiful. I think that is a great message to put out there and we need to hear it more. In the comments following the article, one naturalista made a very powerful, eye-opening statement:
“Curls are the new relaxer for natural women.”
I emphatically said “YES” when I read this statement because it is so true! There is a curly hair obsession reminiscent of the creamy crack (chemical relaxers) addiction among many in the natural hair community. There’s an insatiable thirst for curly hair. This, in turn, breeds product junkies because they are constantly searching for that magic potion to curl up their hair and give it the best definition. Somehow, curly naturals have become the standard of beauty to which we all should strive for, and again I want to know why? Please don’t think that I’m bashing those with curly hair because I’m not. I know there are many who have naturally curly hair, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are also those who go through painstaking efforts to make their hair curl. And then there are those who are ok with just letting their natural hair do whatever it is it does.
Many of us became natural because we knew it was the healthiest decision to make. We have educated ourselves and have personally experienced the harmful effects of chemical relaxers. We’ve vowed to get and maintain the healthiest hair possible by going natural. Somewhere along the way, the belief that curly hair is the only hair and the most beautiful hair to have has taken over. Maybe that belief was always there but I ignored it because I was so wrapped up in my own natural hair journey. I never cared about having curly hair because I knew from the beginning what my hair could and could not do, nor was I interested in trying to make it curl up.
As if we don’t have enough fighting and dissention amongst us as black women, it saddens me that we still have to deal with this very old, poisonous belief that kinky hair is ugly and undesirable, but curly (“good hair”) is beautiful. If less emphasis was put on having curly natural hair and more focus is put on natural hair health and the beauty of ALL hair types, then maybe there wouldn’t be such an obsession with achieving the ultimate defined curls. Maybe more naturalista’s would simply love their hair regardless if it can curl up, or if it’s just in an amazing afro standing tall and proud with no emphasis on curls.