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more thoughts on length…

Avatar • Feb 25, 2009


i know this is more like ‘sunday retrospective’ material, but the recent length/growth/strand retention discussion ruffled feathers, and some things, i’m sure, have been left unsaid.

here are three, very opposite responses i’ve received in response to the post…

from Asha, who submitted a question
I went on your website and I was so pleased to find that it is possible to grow Black afro hair naturally long!!!
My hair seems to be more black than it is white. I absolutely adore the natural look, however I find I can never grow it past my neck despite the fact it has never been cut!

from flowerchild, a regular commenter…
I don’t feel like talking about length is oppressive. I think that everyone’s primary focus and concern should be on hair health. When you take good care of your hair, it will grow. When people say “I don’t care about length, I just want healthy hair”, I don’t think they’re saying they don’t want long hair. I think they’re saying that they are willing to do things like take two inches off their ends if they feel their ends are a little suspect. … I know you’re on the other end of the debate but your blog contradicts you. It may be called Black Girl With Long Hair but you provide us with information for maintaining healthy hair. Your posts are about the best moisturizers, conditioners, oils, and all things relevant to having healthy hair.

from an angry blogger…
“if you hair isn’t growing you’re doing something wrong”
Goodness. In that case, if you’re trying but you can’t lose that last 15 pounds, YOU are doing something wrong. If you are single and don’t want to be, YOU are doing something wrong. If anything isn’t how it should be, even though you’re doing all you can YOU still are doing something wrong.
I’m open to hearing other’s points of view but this is enough. I try to stay away from such narrowmindedness in any area of my life. …These things are just pure mean spirited judgement. And that’s just sad!

***

three very different responses… but one thing is for certain: the issue of length among black women really touches a nerve.
there are a few things i want to say before i open the floor to your comments/discussions.

#1
i don’t want to be “that blog”… you know — the blog that is cultishly obsessed with one issue. my blog is called ‘black girl with long hair’ primarily to make a personal and political statement; that, in defiance of relaxers and all things synthetic, black women ARE capable of growing out their natural textures. and that was kind of the point of the recent african style week. now, as flowerchild pointed out, this blog really isn’t, at its core, a length idolizing blog [pause for sarcastic reaction] it can’t be, because length is a choice. i am very aware that not all black women want or need long hair, and my discussions on length’s importance are limited to the fact that it is, in many cases, a sign of hair health. health should — and always will — be BGLH’s primary focus. (oh, and styling… i LOOOVE styling!)

#2
in response to the angry blogger’s comment. naturally, i was defensive when i first read it. but as i turned the comment over in my mind, i thought back to coffee i had with a friend three months ago. we did our ‘big chop’ around the same time. but as my hair has managed to grow towards bra-strap length, hers is still around 4 inches. she talked about how frustrated she was — that after taking the plunge and cutting her relaxed hair, she was stuck in a limbo — hoping for length, but also wanting to be affirmed for the beauty she already possessed as a woman who had made a bold move to embrace her natural self.

that gave me pause. and i wondered if, in my zeal to inspire natural women to believe in their hair’s growth potential, i was isolating those whose natural hair — by choice or circumstance — remains short. i could understand, then, how the angry blogger could feel that certain comments were “pure mean spirited judgment.”

so, there… *phew*
now, your thoughts? [and i also understand that some of your are simply tired of discussing this…]

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Naturally Sophia
Naturally Sophia
11 years ago

When I found your blog, I was happy that it was not overly consumed with length. Having Sisterlocks and a blog about Sisterlocks, I came into contact with many who are over-zealous about length. I understand how our culture makes length the end all be all. But I’m over it. I was born with hair and have had long hair most of my life. But if I had chemotherapy tomorrow or alopecia of any sort that would be out the window.It’s important not to isolate our sisters with short or no hair. Hair should be about health and positive self… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

i thought i was the only one growing tired of the whole length goal that so many women have. i am more concerned about healthy hair and finding new treatments and products to use. i honestly skim past all of the articles/blogs specifically geared towards length because they all say the same thing. i have worn my hair in long weaves and i am currently rocking a twa and you know what.… with both styles i catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and i think i’m the ish. lol 4/10/12/18 inches… who cares! men only think about the… Read more »

Beautifully.Conjured.Up
Beautifully.Conjured.Up
11 years ago

At the end of the day, this is your blog, and you may post about whatever it is that you wish. The main reason why I started reading this blog was because it was focused on length in conjunction to health. Now, had this blog been focused on short, healthy hair, I wouldn’t have came back, for that’s not what I’m into at the moment. It’s okay for people to disagree and/or agree with your philosophy, but if they disagree so much with it, then they should feel obliged to click the “X” button in the corner. Don’t change your… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ anonymous… thanks for your comment! i’m gonna have to step in and be the diplomatic blog moderator here again.

i want to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the following statement:

men only think about the hair between your legs.”

alright… continue discussion

Naturally Leslie
Naturally Leslie
11 years ago

Good for you for taking on this topic and being willing to openly discuss opposing views. It takes guts to put yourself out there and receive feedback from your readers. You have handled yourself well and I am enjoying reading everyone’s ideas about this topic. I think this kind of discussion is healthy since embracing natural hair, in my opinion,is part of a healing process for us as black women living in a society that does not typically accept or affirm our beauty. So sometimes in the process feelings get hurt and people disagree. But, the beauty of it all… Read more »

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I feel like I have been ported to another dimension. If your hair doesn’t grow, IT IS a mark of something OUT OF THE ORDINARY (health issues, pregnancy, hormone imbalances, diet, exercise etc).

Maintaining short hair with regular trims is completely different to having breaking hair (either due to not moisturing or poor combing).

Why are we debating this?

Chai
Chai
11 years ago

I will admit, I was one of those little black girls who dreamed and wished for long hair growing up…but somewhere along the way…I began to think of what I wanted out of my hair, and not what my mother always dreamed for me, or what my cousins or friends were still aspiring for. I was the lone ranger embarking on my natural journey, but I think it was a healthy one because I didn’t focus so much on length, but rather the journey, and the overall health of my hair. I had some bumps along the way, but those… Read more »

FlowerChild
FlowerChild
11 years ago

BGLH, I too want to commend you for allowing your blog to be a place where people can talk about things and have a healthy debate about topics that we are clearly divided on. It’s nice to know that you are not a closed minded person or blogger — there are a few out there. Whether or not some people feel this isn’t a topic that needs to be debated because their “answer” is the best or correct isn’t relevant. In no way are my feelings on this topic a representation of some type of change I want to see… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ flowerchild… no, not at all! lol!

Sessé
Sessé
11 years ago

This is what i red in a book (I am francophone so pls forgive the mistakes): There are 3 part in a hair life. the first part is the growth period. The second part is the maturation. the maturation happens after it has reached it full lenght witch is genetically determined. so no matter how well your hair and scalp is taken care of and no matter how fast it grows, it will stop growing when it reaches it genetical lenght (like humain beings). the 3rd part is when the hair falls . it detachs from the root like leafs… Read more »

Mel
Mel
11 years ago

I completely agree with JC.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

oh i’m sorry if i offended any one! i have mostly male friends.… their influence sometimes comes through. i have to keep that in check!

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ anonymous… lol! i only intervened cuz i’ve noticed that some of the blog followers are really young. now if this was a full grown-woman blog, you know i’d have a LOT to say about that comment, lol!

Candy Reign
Candy Reign
11 years ago

I can really respect the way you handled the angry readers comment… however I really supposed your main purpose for this blog. I’m 19 and I cut all my relaxed hair off in August. When I got home from the salon my Jamaican mother was so upset about my decision. I knew she doesn’t believe woman should have short hair but I’ve never had a problem with my hair not growing in my life. So I asked her why it was that serious “It’s just hair it’ll grow back.” And she responded “Black people can’t grow their hair long Candice!… Read more »

Geena L
Geena L
11 years ago

HEY BGLH, This is my first time commenting on anything and coming from a nutrition background, I must say, I agree with JC. There is a difference between women who choose to have short hair through regular trims versus those who want long hair and keep losing it due to something missing in their diet or hair routine. The angry blogger made a comment about, “If you’re trying and you still can’t lose those last 15 pounds are you doing something wrong?” The answer is “YES” and “NO.” No, because you may very well be doing all you can and… Read more »

Rhapsody in PURPLE!
Rhapsody in PURPLE!
11 years ago

I like that you have to continue to repeat yourself BGLH. I’m pretty sure you have explained what your blog was about more then 5 times… I dont get why people don’t understand that your blog does not just focus on length. If you dont care about length then come to this blog and learn about health. Filter what you read on here. There are options. YOu dont have to read the blogs on “strand retention Dont get so angry about someones elses opinion because you cant change it anyway. As long as you think your hair is healthy it… Read more »

mellowyel
mellowyel
11 years ago

@ Jc (and Geena L, I guess) I agree that if your hair does not grow AT ALL, there is something wrong in some area. But if I’m a all-around healthy, unstressed person, and I grow a quarter of an inch a month while you grow a half an inch, what does that mean? I understand that health is the goal and not length, but I don’t think that someone should be made to feel bad if they’re doing the best that they can for their hair and it still doesn’t grow as fast as other people’s hair does. Because… Read more »

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