Friday, June 04, 2010

Curly vs Straight

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So I'm back from my whirlwind experience as a guest on the Today Show. I got to stay in a fancy hotel, was ferried back and forth in sleek Lincoln Town car and I sat next to almost-American Idol Crystal Bowersox in the make-up chair at the NBC Studios. I didn't watch this season of American Idol, so I just said hi to her. I wanted to comment on her hair, but I held my tongue.

My 30-seconds of fame on the topic of Curly vs. Straight hair felt insignificant and rushed, but I'm glad the whole word got a brief glimpse of the cover shot of my book, Hair Story and perhaps took an extra moment to contemplate the perceived differences between women with straight vs curly hair. In case you missed the show, you can watch the segment on the Today Show website. I refuse to watch it. I can't stand to watch myself on film...except in home movies where I tend to crack myself up.

Anyway, as I straightened my hair for yesterday's program, here's what I learned about the difference between going curly vs. straight. A lot more men hit on me with straight hair. And that's all she wrote.

What about you all? What's your personal experience going curly vs. straight?

I'm listening.



AnaCeleste said...

To start off, thanks for posting the link to the show! I thought it came on this morning (Friday), but I guess it was yesterday. I've been wearing my hair natural for 3 1/2 years and I actually get more responses from men now that I wear my hair natural. I feel it makes me stand out. Women who want to go natural also approach me and tell me how they're transitioning and are contemplating going natural. I feel that when wore my hair straight I was just a dime a dozen out of all the other black women who straighten their hair. I feel your input in the clip was great, but IMO, I feel that hair politics are slightly different for the Black community than for whites. They showed pics of Michelle Obama and Beyonce with "curly" hair, but honestly, it was relaxed hair that had been curled, or in Beyonce's case, a curly weave. To me, there was still this Eurocentric ideal present, a sort of "safeness." I feel it would've been better if the segment focused on the issues Black women face when it comes to wearing their hair in it's curly, unchemically altered state. I'm still glad that you mentioned the pressures to conform. On a side note, I was just a teeny bit disappointed that you didn't sport your natural hair (sad face). What made you decide to straignten it versus wearing it natural? I remember from a previous entry that you mentioned you were taking a break from your locs. But it's great that they showed previous photos of you with your hair natural. I have a copy of "Hair Story" and read it when I was transitioning out of my relaxer. My mom did as well.

Anisah said...

In the 80's, we paid to have curly hair! I'd love to have curly hair.

My 13 y.o. daughter has wavy hair, and she straightens it. Straight hair seems to be in among teens.

My 15 y.o. son's hair is curlier than his sisters, but mostly he just wears a hat to keep it straight on top. I think the girls like curly hair, plus the blue eyes and dark eyelashes don't hurt at all!

Their dad has the tightly curled Arabic hair. But being a guy, he doesn't do anything with it except keep it cut short.

As a Caucasian, I don't have the very curly hair that African Americans and many Arabs have. So I probably don't know what they go through as far as hair. For me it's either up or down.

I think (general) you should just do what you want with your hair. I am not very creative, I just put mine in a pony tail. Perms are too expensive, or I might get another one.

I enjoyed the show. You seemed a bit nervous, but I think you still did well.



evelyn.n.alfred said...

I straightened my hair out a few weeks ago...and I got soooo many compliments. Most of them from Black folks.

*ponder on that a moment*

By the way, what would you haave said to Ms. Bowersocks?

Pernicious Panda said...

Here is a local (Seattle) newspaper article you might be interested in:


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Lori, you were great (and I liked your outfit).

I agree with what AnaCeleste said. Showing Beyonce and the First lady with curly relaxed hair is not the same thing as wearing your hair naturally.

I've been natural for over a decade. After the big chop I got more play from white men while being invisible to the brothers. I think it was more of a living in L.A. thing because here (in Rome) the African brothers always have something flirty to say.

Regina said...

Ok.. so, I'm an Irish Catholic girl with poker straight hair. My hilarious curly hair story is as follows.

In 6th grade, I wanted a perm like it was my job. I begged and begged and then begged some more. My mom finally relented, and let her hairdresser friend do the perm. I also told them I wanted it to be short. I think you can see where this is going... When all was said and done, I had ear length short curly hair. Right before picture day. In which I decided that I didn't like my teeth so I did a closed mouth smile.
I was mortified by that picture and wouldn't let anyone see it. It was included in my 'memory book' for college graduation. Now I think its funny and cute but you wouldn't catch me looking at that picture back then.
Suffice it say, I now enjoy my straight hair.

(I know its not quite the same theme as black women curly vs. straight, but its a funny story nonetheless.....)

JBH said...

First of all - LOVED the Today Show clip! So proud! Did you have to straighten because your counterpart was the "curly" one?

I have the *true* Japanese straightening...from my gene pool!

Growing up in the late 70's/early 80's (when feathering and big, permed hair was IN), I learned early on that I was fighting a losing battle, unless I chemically treated my hair. That was OK with me...I learned to work with what I had. Lots of straight "vidal sassoon" bobs for me. Or super short pixie cuts.

I've only permed my hair once (in 2002) and never did it again. It was just easier to wash, mousse and go. So I tried the *other side of the fence*...but it was no big deal.

I love my straight hair - my authentic self:-)

LT said...

Thanks for the review of the spot. I agree with most everything you said. One thing. My hair is still natural. I just blow dried and flat-ironed. My goal was to show the diversity of natural hair. Of course I didn't have time to explain that. whoops :(

Thanks. And we all have our own hair stories, don't we?

It is interesting isn't it that it's mostly Black people who "prefer" our hair straight.


Thanks. Total Target sales rack but don't tell ;)

Thanks for sharing your hair story. Lol!

I wore my hair straight just to show the versatility of natural hair.And thank you.

Carleen Brice said...

You done good...but I miss you curly. Glad you kept it natural. Regarding you & Evelyn's experiences with black folks: my grandmother hates my locs and hates my cousin's 'fro!

Towonda said...

I am new to your blog and can't believe I have been missing out! I am an African American woman and have worn my hair all sorts of ways depending on my mood and what era I am trying to pretend I live in. I noticed when I wore my hair in it's natural state (which means extremely kinky for me), I received compliments from both men and women who seemed to have a high regard for everything natural. It was great except the compliments were usually followed by not so great commentary on women who relaxed their hair. What I sometimes wanted to say was that I wasn't wearing my hair natural to make any political statements or separate myself from the "relaxed" sect. It was just another hair style for me and next week I may want to go for another look and relaxed my hair, or shave it off all together. I think people should do as they please if they aren't hurting anyone. Now I think I can say that because I am in a creative industry which seems to embrace anything that is "different". I am sure with some other industries, people are still judged on how "safe" they can appear so I understand how hair can play an important role.