Hair -- they even made a musical about it - - Hair. It is the stuff of biblical discussion (Samson - locks cut of course a woman is blamed.. queue Jimmy Buffet "maybe it's my own damn fault" and rethink all that woe is me he was a grown man who got a hair cut for f*&k's sake if that was all his power pretty lame). It is the stuff some women need to shave off and wear a wig or cover up, or men cannot cut. These doctrines seem pretty flimsy when you see it in writing - seriously if my hair makes you go over the edge to wanton behavior I am having a better hair day than I could ever imagine.
My relationship with my own hair is almost as complicated as my relationship with my weight (though the weight wins pretty much every time in terms of shit show).
I am not sure if it is a planted or actual memory but when I was very young and very curly my mom was notorious for combing my hair (OOUUUCH - pre conditioner w a comb people) into this ponytail on top of my head. It looked cute but apparently it was not something I wanted from the struggles and vocalizations I apparently made. As a child in an Eastern bloc nation I had the requisite ponytails with the big bows on for pretty much all picture taking and school functions. You know the look, if not google any of the gymnasts from Romania or Russia or Poland (you get the drift) and you too can be graced with bows that could potentially be reused as the car gift bow that you see around Christmas time commercials, yes they were that big.
I grew it long as a tween (though I and my friends were not called that), long, longer it was not that bad. It was a dirty blonde, wavy, gone were the treacherous curls of my youth. It wasn't bad - I am pretty sure I did not love it then. I know I braided into two braids at night to get it to looked "crimped" - it was a thing I swear. I know I curled it to have some bouncy curls like those girls who told one friend who told another friend (not my own curls but ones that were "made") - my particular hair was not the straight, blonde swingy kind they had. I adored Charlie's Angels and tried to flip the hair - those types of hair cuts should have been allowed only for the bouncy, straight hair girls for the rest of us they should have just said No when we asked.
It got crazy with the 80s, I went short (yeah cause with curly hair and lots of it that wasn't going to be something I was going to struggle with every day said no one ever). I started on my road to color - ok so maybe Sun In should be banned, especially when most of us will use it and get calico cat orange streaks that is not a good look for anyone. I went platinum for a bit until I hated that shadow on my hairline so badly that I did it enough to get sores and had to stop - it was a cool look with red lipstick but am glad I still have my hair after that. It went big - like really big. It was blow dried bangs, blow dried upside down with hairspray - it was big but never big enough. It defied physics being squeezed into a banana clip. It was freaking huge.
Then it started, the really hard thing for me to come to grips with - my hair, my hair was not meant for that Rachel and any other truly straight hair do that is in. I straightened with a flat iron (ignoring the burnt smell that cannot be good for anyone's hair), I blew dry and I bought any product that promised me straight, frizz free hair - until it rained or got humid because then them promises were empty and all that work (cause it is work to blow dry your hair when it is curly like mine for 30 min) would expand, be an frizzy halo -- try to be itself - what was it it thinking?
It is not just me - we associate that bouncy, blow-out look with polished, smarter, wealthier, famous people look. Wavy hair or beachy hair (which by the way real people who go in salt water do not have that beachy look unless their hair was that bouncy, straight style naturally before so again we of the curls will fail and often fail big, thank you hats) is sexy. Curly hair though - well that until about 2 years ago was not to be celebrated unless you were under 11. It is "wild" after all. I hated my curls - they needed to be tamed so Keratin I loved you. Never mind that some of it came with a warning from FDA - I had arrived, soft, bouncy, Breck hair.
I associate my hairdos with times in my life. Yet I have been lucky enough to meet a stylist who relentlessly pursued me until I allowed her to teach me how to easily wear my curls. No more combs, just a little product, great conditioner and scrunch (if you need a little diffuser drying). Deva products are amazing. Tshirt to scrunch hair (an old one) excellent for defrizzing. Do not touch your hair until it is mostly dry (hardest part). It is who I am - it is who many of us are - the women who did not understand why our friends got perms for a bit but who eventually were reminded their hair was the "wanted" one.
What are we saying to women with this ? So many things - our hair is our power not in the ways that the rhetoric in those outdated and misogynistic tomes tell us but if we embrace it we can embrace who we are. If we choose to straighten it then so be it but for me I am just as polished, competent and not famous with it curly. I am in fact wild in ways that I want to be, it does not hold me back from jumping in the pool or worrying about the weather when my hair is curly now. Yeah a blow out is a nice option but celebrating our different looks instead of just going for the one in tabloids is how this girl with the great big curl in the middle of my forehead is learning to like what she starts with. Love me love my curls !