Came across this Black hair article a few days ago in the New York Times—you know, discussing good hair, bad hair, wearing hair natural vs. relaxing it chemically. This seems to be a hot topic since Malia Obama’s been wearing her hair in… get ready for it… twists! Shocking! God, it’s like the general public has never been exposed to a normal Black girl wearing normal Black hairstyles. Wonder why?
I work at an ad agency… but I can safely point the finger at advertising for really messing up perceptions of what “normal” hair looks like. Even “normal” Black hair.
Growing up, I never believed I had nice hair. Because my hair never looked like the girls in the Pantene ads. Even after a whole day of washing and blow-drying my hair “straight,” it was still poofy as ever. It didn’t shine and bounce and flow over my shoulders. Even after I convinced my mom to buy a whole bunch of Pantene, it still didn’t look right. On the contrary, the products made my hair brittle and dry.
Thanks a lot, Pantene.
The problem is, we NEVER see normal Black hairstyles in hair product advertising. Even when there’s a woman of color in the ad. It’s mind-boggling. Like this Pantene Relaxed and Natural ad? Most Black women don’t have REAL hair like either one of these chicks. In fact, it’s really hard for me to believe that this is real hair. Those curls are virtually unachievable without hours at the salon. And the straight ‘do looks like a weave. I’m pretty sure it is one.
Give me some real hairstyles and real hair. Whether it’s relaxed, natural, short, long, whatever. Maybe that way the country won’t get all in a tizzy over some damn twists. Geez.