Dominican Hair Products Suck
Society Loves Embracing Euro-centric Beauty Ideals
My relationship with my hair has always been a negative one. My mom and grandmother's goal was always to straighten, tuck away, and hide my curls every chance they could.
When I was too young to put straightening chemicals in my hair it was braided so tight I thought my scalp would burst. When I got older, with relaxers, perms, and an excessive amount of heat, I was able to maintain hairstyles that could only be described as white standard approved.
I never understood the obsession with straightening your hair but it seems that people with straight hair wish to have curly hair and the opposite goes for people with curly hair.
I grew up in Ohio and I still remember trying to copy the pigtail looks that my white peers had then getting upset when I realized my hair wasn't falling flat like theirs.
Why is that?
Why is it that society teaches us to hate our hair no matter its texture but overall it punishes and calls ugly those who have kinkier or tighter curl patterns?
I remember taking on an internship in high school and a girl who wore her hair naturally, came into work with straight hair one day only to receive ongoing praise from our boss.
Back then I was not brave enough to speak up especially when I myself did everything in my power to keep my kinky hair pin-straight.
Our boss believed that kinky or curly hair was not appropriate for work and he had taken it upon himself to make a point of this by over commenting on how beautiful a woman was when their hair was straightened.
This was particularly startling because he was a Latino man who we assumed would understand the struggles of meeting hair standards within our society.
Many Dominican Hair products contain chemicals like silicon that are meant to make your hair as straight as possible. Some of the most popular Dominican hair products claim to grow your hair and while they promote the health of your hair they simultaneously promote its health while it's straightened.
One of the Dominican Hair products I grew up with is called Emergencia which translates to emergency in English. This hair treatment like another one called La Plancha (the flat iron), claims to be able to restore your hair after it's been damaged by heat.
These products are very popular Dominican hair treatments that inadvertently promote the use of heat for curly and kinky hair because the treatment promises to restore any heat damage.
I dare to question the reason why society deems straightened hair superior to any other hair texture. Oftentimes, women will straighten their hair just to curl it again because a looser hair texture is more desirable.
It is also what is most popular to do just because we see it all over magazines and media.
The Fashion Spot did a survey that showed 78% of all models featured in spring 2016’s fashion advertisements were white, according to the Guardian. 8.3% were Black models, 4 % Asian were models, and 3.8 were Hispanic models.
What Is Seen In Media Can be Negative
Seeing that many white people within media can have a negative effect on children of color.
The Clark Doll experiment was a test conducted in 1939 by a black couple where Two identical dolls (the only difference being that one was black and one was white) were put in front of children of all races. The children had to decide which one was more beautiful.
The white doll won in almost all questions of beauty.
This experiment was repeated in 2009 and showed the same results.
In media we often see people reject their natural curls and opt-in for a more white look. This can be harmful to children because they are not seeing themselves represented within popular media.
I suppose the idea is that the less effort or work we seem to put into our hairs the more beautiful we can claim to be but when did pin-straight hair and very loose curl patterns become the standard of beauty to reach for?
A good example of this is The Princess Diaries when the main character Mia Thermopolis is made over. The hairdresser's brush breaks because of his lack of knowledge dealing with curling hair and after Mia is made over her grandmother comments on how much better her grandaughter looks when she is sporting no glasses and straightened hair.
Straight hair is always represented as beautiful and put together while curly or kinky hair is presented as unruly and inappropriate within media.
I have always been insecure about my hair because I grew up surrounded by white people in Ohio and then my family moved to the Bronx and suddenly no one cared what my hair looked like. I also grew up watching characters on t.v that looked nothing like me. Every week my hair would be pulled and stretched by my mom so that I could look like the people on t.v.
It was a weekly battle with the kinks on my hair who refused to stay straight no matter how much heat, color, and chemicals I put in it.
It was a shock to find that people in the Bronx came with all kinds of hair textures and hairstyles.
To this day I struggle with accepting my naturally kinky and curly hair but I am proud to say I have started the journey to accepting my natural hair.