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Are Naturals Afraid to Criticize Natural Hair??

Avatar • Sep 28, 2011

A while back,  I stumbled upon a fotki album with photos by a natural who had just had her hair styled in a salon for an event. In all honesty, the final look was not cute and the lady in the pictures looked like she was going to cry.  She posted up the photos  and was highly critical of the style for clear reasons (too scalpy, uneven twists, the back twist out had not really dried before being unravelled which ruined the final style).

The lovely ladies of the natural worlds rallied around to say the pictures weren’t bad and they would even have the style themselves (Pinocchio!!). I think it is a normal and nice thing to want to raise someone’s spirits but I really don’t think it is right to tell a blatant lie. What if this woman did this style again, she looked a mess and knew it, why lie to her?

For the record, I do think it is quite mean spirited to walk up to random people on the street and give hair advice, however, I think that it is a different case when people place pictures up and ask for comments. I rarely if ever see a negative critique of any natural or curly hair pictures. In truth, being natural does not mean that your hair will look good all the time. There are ways to resurrect a bad hair day but how would you know your hair is not cute if we all just say, ‘Oh don’t worry, you look pretty.’

Do you think something negative about natural hair can be said with kindness or is this not possible?

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Janique
Janique
9 years ago

Someone can say something with the kindest of intentions, and it still can be taken the wrong way. A lot of times, I see if someone posts an opinion that someone’s hair doesn’t look good, people may see that as “hating” or being biased against a particular texture of hair. People are still very touchy when it comes to the topic of natural hair. It would be nice to be able to give constructive criticism once in a while, but I think some naturals would rather say a style looks great no matter how it looks so that the person… Read more »

Dee (durelene)
Dee (durelene)
9 years ago
Reply to  Janique

I am sooo agreeing with u on this one sis, I wont comment unless I truly feel its nice. Sometimes naturals are hard on themselves though they think something looks bad b/c it didnt turn out like they want but it still looks good so in these instances u gotta let them know .

Fotki is a positive site I have never seen a negative comment in the 2 years I have had a page.

Mai
Mai
9 years ago
Reply to  Janique

I second this. Some people ask questions or post pictures expecting a specific response and when they don’t get it, they react really childishly. So sometimes it is easier to say something nice than to voice a productive, appopriate critique.

Raquel
Raquel
9 years ago

YES to this post.
the natural hair community can be way too “kum-ba-yah” high school musical style “we all in this together.” enough with that bullisht sometimes.
let’s keep it real. not saying we need to go around giving unsolicited advice like, ooh girl your flat twist parts is crooked. but we need to stop lying to each other. u know them twists need to come out of her head. don’t be up on the forums saying “that looks great, girl!” lolz and ciao.

Elle
9 years ago
Reply to  Raquel

I have been saying this forEVER! I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that many women are still self conscious about wearing their hair in its natural state, so we don’t want to say something to them that can make them feel bad. A noble gesture, yes, but please, don’t set your friend up! I remember one time I did a twist out on my shorter hair and it looked a bijiggity hot mess, and people were like, “Oh no it looks cute!!!” and I was like ummmm are you blind? There is nothing wrong… Read more »

Elle
9 years ago
Reply to  Elle

One more thing…there is a huge difference between just offering up some criticism on a silver platter and asking people’s opinion and receiving an honest response. I see it all the time on forums — someone asks if something looks good, or if they are a certain length, and then if there is dissent, the defenses go up. If you don’t want honest opinions…don’t ask. If I ask for an opinion, and someone tells me something I don’t want to hear, I really don’t think I can be upset. Thank them for their honesty.

herlucidsKy
9 years ago

Whenever I come across someone with “interesting” hair I tend to keep my thoughts to myself but if the person ask for an opinion then it is fine to state that opinion even if it is contrary to everyone else’s opinions. All in all, I think you can exude honesty without coming across as rude or negative. It’s not always what you say it’s how you say it.

Pretdva
Pretdva
9 years ago
Reply to  herlucidsKy

+ 1

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
9 years ago

I think it depends on your relationship to the person. I wouldn’t offer an opinion to a stranger but for a close friend or family member, you might actually be saving them future embarrassment if you tell the truth early on. In a tactful way of course.

JJ
JJ
9 years ago

Just like anything else in life, if your opinion matters to the person, or they ask for it, then let them know, in a good way of course.

Shruggy
Shruggy
9 years ago

Online natural communities including fotki are usually tied to achieving a goal which in some cases is thickness but in most cases is length. It’s a bit like weightwatchers in that even if someone has not achieved their desired goal just yet, people want to offer encouragement and support. These websites are not Hot or Not, they are there to offer support, encouragement and positive affirmations to people who have set certain goals for themselves. The overall vibe of the natural community is the same so I can’t think anyone would remain on one of these websites or forums long… Read more »

EG
EG
9 years ago
Reply to  Shruggy

BGLH – I kind of wonder why you would ask this question when your own website is all about the positive aspects of being natural.
They asked it because some of us don’t like being lied to. I would have a hard time trusting someone who would let me go out looking like a fool, how is that for my benefit? Yes we are here to encourage, but we are also here to be honest.
So BGLH, keep being honest.

Zyaran
Zyaran
9 years ago

I would voice my opinion, but even making comments whether on here or other blogs, some people don’t want to hear it. Even if it’s the truth and will jump down your back for it, I’m like get over it. It’s like come on now every answer cant always be so rosy you know. But as far as in public it depends if the persons ask me, and yes I will give my honest opinion. But if I’m just passing you in the street I will mumble under my breath or just shake my head at you. The same goes… Read more »

CurlyInTheA
9 years ago

I think it depends on what site the hair is featured on. A Fotki is pretty much like an online pic album; just as you probably wouldn’t say, “that picture looks horrible,” so it goes with Fotki. But now YouTube? That’s where you get more of the jacked up comments, because people see it as a review site — some things you like and some things you don’t. I definitely think there’s a such thing as constructive criticism, but I also think that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Now, if I’m asked, I will give… Read more »

b.
b.
9 years ago

This question made me think of that Type F hoopla and the comments the natural hair “stylist” received. Much of the outcry was about the misinformation she doled out and the haphazardness of her presentation. However, there were SO MANY comments about her appearance in general, and they were not phrased in a constructive manner. She didn’t know what she was doing and the state of her hair was indicative of her lack of knowledge…but giving criticism versus being catty and mean are different things. Those few days when that lady was put on blast I kept thinking…she’s a person… Read more »

AishaSaidIt
9 years ago
Reply to  b.

You are so right. But girl we had a good ‘ole time with the jokes about her and the blonde wig lady. I mean hours and hours of tearful laughter. (wooooo) Some of it was mean spirited and sometimes we don’t see virtual images as real people. I would love to see a hair idol step in on one of the tutorials with them and demonstrate the steps on how to get their hair back to a healthy state. This is not an apology, TypeF and the ladies involved where dead wrong. These were no kitchen/bathroom tutorials by the girl… Read more »

AishaSaidIt
9 years ago

First this is a great topic. Here are my thoughts. 1. This whole natural thing is highly sensitive because of our history. And since there are many stories of people frowning upon natural looks simply because it’s not the standard, I find it hard to tell another person with natural hair I’m not feeling it. 2. Since I am no master of natural hair and still ramping up on my own skills I don’t feel it’s my place to criticize any else’s. 3. I save sometimes straight forward criticism and suggestions for my loved ones. They understand it’s coming from… Read more »

b.
b.
9 years ago
Reply to  AishaSaidIt

What you said. YES.

NoirCerise
NoirCerise
9 years ago
Reply to  b.

aggreed!!

Raven
Raven
9 years ago

I think it is possible to give criticism in a nice way; however, it’s more dependent on the person you are giving the advice to. Me and my roommate for example don’t have much problem in telling the other how they’re hair might look. Sometimes she’ll do two strand twists and I could take a look at it and simply say: “You got lazy in the back”; and by that I mean she didn’t as good as she could have with the back of her hair (she hates having to do the back because it makes her arms tired). I… Read more »

JP23
JP23
9 years ago

In person, one on one yes I would give my opinion if asked. Online, NO. People cant see my face when I am typing so I understand them possibly being offended. Im with most of the posters on her, if I cant find something nice to say I try not to say anything at all. Sometimes when a person is asking for opinions, they really mean they want reassurance. I dont think there is a right or wrong way to do it, but I just try to imagine if it were me. I guess do what you are comfortable with.

June
June
9 years ago

I don’t know about this kumbaya you are talking about. Have you been to naturallycurly’s type 4a page? They seem to always be in attack (“keeping it real”) mode. Have you read some of the youtube comments? They can be quite nasty and creepy sometimes. Kudos to all those that put up videos, some of those comments would have had my running for the hills. I think fotki is just an inspirational and positive space, and I love it. But, all over the internet there are people leaving nasty and/or honest comments. There is a reason a lot of natural blogs… Read more »

Brina
Brina
9 years ago

It sorta depends. When I started out as a natural, I really didn’t know what I was doing and had no one to teach me the way, so I am sure I had some bad hair days. It wasn’t that I was getting my hair professionally styled, it was just hair to deal with at first. Truly, if I had gotten mean criticism then, I would’ve been crushed and went back to straightening. Now, about 2 years later, a little criticism probably wouldn’t hurt as much. I have a few ladies kind enough to take me under their wing (could… Read more »

lovely me:)
lovely me:)
9 years ago

ok so i think people are missing the point and completely forgetting the questions ‚but such is life. i think people can comment on natural hair wit “kindness” so to speak just some people are used to or assume people are coming at them from a negative space and get defensive automatically or they are within themselves not comfortable with their hair or their look.i am a sagittarius and its in me to speak very frankly, u ask my opinion im goin to give it and its not goin to be very sugar coated-but thats not cus im a hater… Read more »

Shie
9 years ago

Being honest doesn’t cost u anything,.if u ask for a opinion will deffinately tell u the truth no matter how hard it is for you to listen.

Meshia
9 years ago

I don’t know if I believe that everyone who told her that her hair was pretty was lying to her. I would apply the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” to this matter. I’ve seen plenty of youtube tutorials for hairstyles that had “thumbs down” & “thumbs up”. Meaning some thought it was pretty while others just don’t. I do feel as if there were alternatives to lying to the woman if that was the case. Constructive criticism such as ways to alter the style to make it better would have been better; that is if she even asked… Read more »

Pink Panties & Leopard Lipstick

#Agreed

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
9 years ago

I probably would keep my mouth shut. It’s really hard to say something critical without hurting feelings. I am sure that the woman has friends/family who can be honest with her without hurting her feelings versus complete strangers on the internet.

lovelee
lovelee
9 years ago

advice is good if it is givin well. I’m still new at this 1 half years and I’m trying new things and products and I know at times my hair looks OMG!! WTH!! and I know it and I don’t want or need someone to tell me I’m messed up. I had bad hair days when relaxed and styles that weren’t up to par many times. I do see people with hair I want to help but then think who am I to tell them what to do. It’s not my hair maybe that was on purpose.

anonymous
anonymous
9 years ago

i think this question is silly. is the woman in the photo supposed to be the person who needed to know here hair looked “not cute”–? my hair looks like this (on some days) and i still love it. who’s to judge what’s good and what’s not with regards to hair–? the last thing blk women need to be doing is nitpicking over some stupid sh*t like this.

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