The Length Hang-up

Have you heard? Black women are ditching straight, silky weaves and opting for curly weaves. The craze is so great that the Philadelphia Inquirer recently ran an article on the trend.

Don’t call it a comeback though y’all. And don’t be so quick to call it progress either. The reason black women turned to weaves in the early 90s is the same as why they embraced the hot comb, and later the relaxer, so many years before. Because it is about length, not texture.

It is sheer happenstance that most of the time naturally curly or hair that is considered “good” because it more closely resembles that of other races or ethnicities is also longer. Believe me, I learned long ago from friends that if the kinky-haired sister can get the length she wants, the texture is really of no more concern. You need look no further than the blogosphere to see the length epidemic is a huge part of the natural hair movement. The number of articles and tutorials on how to “stretch” hair, do twist-outs to achieve a different texture or create a curl pattern, and on how to retain length far outweigh those on how to keep hair healthy and embrace what God gave you.

So what is the deal with long hair and why do black women still have a hang up with it? Halle Berry wears it. There is a consensus that Toni Braxton should only wear it. Yet most black women still long for length. Regardless of how many beautiful celebrities embrace short cuts, there is still the belief by many women that longer hair is more feminine and therefore makes them more attractive to men. I honestly feel that is it. You have to have confidence to wear short hair. So once women get their confidence up, they can usually rock the shorter hair.

I have worn my hair short, medium, and long. I can honestly say though that I’ve never wanted a TWA and don’t ever plan to wear my natural hair short. I just like my natural curls long and full. Others reject short hair period though.

My hair at a shorter length in 2010.

The natural hair movement is full of pride, but until it can overcome issues such as encouraging protective styling with the use of weaves and putting an emphasis on length, it will just be a trend to those on the outside.

Kelly Rowland’s curly extensions. Very nice.
One of Solange’s afro weaves.

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