The natural hair community…a place where women with kinks, coils, and curls of all types can come together in a state of euphoria. We share journeys, encouragement and curl advice.
While forums and social media have created a “come one, come all” platform for women to discuss natural hair, I have noticed that, depending on your hair texture, it’s just not okay to offer your 2‑cents to any and everyone.
Let me be specific though.
From what I have seen, the issue appears to lie in women with a looser curl pattern offering advice to women who might have to put just a little more elbow in the work than they do. For whatever reason, the women with the flawless spiral curls and sickening baby hair just don’t get revered in all parts of the natural hair community.
Personally, I don’t know where I fit in with the curl categories. Sometimes I have type 4 kinks, sometimes I have type 3 curls, sometimes I have something that’s completely unidentifiable…could be sheep’s wool, could be human hair…ain’t no telling. At least that’s how I see it. However, I once found myself in a situation where my advice was completely undermined when I thought I was doing a good thing!
I’ll never forget, I responded to someone’s post about detangling. Now granted, our hair was different, but hey…I figured she might be able to use this jewel I was about to drop. It went a little something like this:
Her: Help! I always struggle with detangling, what should I do?!
Me: Hey! I like to part my hair into four sections and just detangle from there. It really helps! 🙂
Her: Just four? Lol thanks girl, but I’m like REAL natural, I’m sure I’ll need more…
REAL NATURAL?! I didn’t know I was a fake natural. Thanks for the memo, sis! I guess what grew out of my scalp was the Great Value version of hers. Now I don’t experience that often. However, she’s not the only one I’ve met with such a response.
Typically I’ll see comments like the following:
“That’ll never work for me, I’m real natural…”
“You wouldn’t understand, it’s not so easy…”
“Yeah, no, my hair takes more work…thanks though”
While those aren’t directly nasty things to say, it’s impossible not to notice the blatant “yeah, forget what you’re talking about though,” behind the message.
It can almost be compared to the “dark skinned vs. light skinned” dichotomy. One side feels more entitled to the African American stamp of Authenticity than the other. To sum it up, the “black struggle” is more real for someone of a darker complexion than lighter. A light skinned woman can’t always offer advice about self-love to a dark skinned woman and be received positively. From what I’ve noticed, it’s the same dynamic within the natural hair community. Doing something as harmless as sharing advice, can sometimes be detrimental. But why?
Now I get it, sometimes people go too far with the advice-sharing element of this kinky/curly sisterhood. You’ll have some leave a thesis under your post and it’s like dang girl, I didn’t need a lump sum…a tad bit would suffice. Even worse, you’ll have those who offer you advice when you didn’t even ask! “I’m sorry, did I summon you?”…I’m just saying.
Personally, I don’t use advice from everyone. I don’t think anyone does. I’d much rather exchange hair tips with someone of a similar type, however I don’t shoot them down on the slick if it’s something I can’t use. I give a nice “thanks, girl,” and go about my day. No shade distributed.
So what is the real reason for the attitude some have adopted towards the curly advising the kinky? Why must the remarks be subliminally condescending? Is it because of insecurity? A form of jealousy? Innocent banter? Or is it simply just another unspoken rule along with many others in the world: You can marvel, you can crush, but do not, by any means offer curl advice to someone of another curl type. Thanks, Management.
Tell me what you all think! When is curl advice offensive and when should you use discretion while sharing? Let’s Talk About It!