By Dr. Phoenyx Austin
An interesting thing happened to me once when I went to a salon looking for hair products, specifically those for detangling and curl definition. I was speaking to a group of natural-haired women when a passerby naturalista stopped by our group. She appeared agitated. And without any warning she interjected with this statement: â€œLook, our natural hair was not meant to be â€˜detangledâ€™ and â€˜defined.â€™ Itâ€™s meant to be worn â€˜as is.â€™ And doing things to manipulate it with products is no different than women who have identity issues and get relaxers.â€
Now I wonâ€™t get into how that conversation ended. LOL. Rather, Iâ€™d like to take her statement as an opportunity to open up dialogue on this question: â€œDo you define your curls, or do your curls define you?â€
Iâ€™m one of the biggest natural hair lovers around. And yes, Iâ€™ll fight a sista or stylist to the death before I let them put a relaxer on my head. But Iâ€™m far from what I like to refer to as the â€œmilitant naturalista.â€ What do I mean by the â€œmilitant naturalista?â€ Well sheâ€™s the naturalista that feels itâ€™s her mission to aggressively â€œeducateâ€ and even chastise women (both relaxed and natural) about what natural hair â€œmeansâ€ as well as how it â€œshould be worn.â€
Iâ€™ve had a few â€œinterestingâ€ run-ins with these types of naturalistas. In fact, a couple months before that I had an encounter with another militant naturalista who steadfastly declared that â€œif your hair ainâ€™t natural, you donâ€™t love yourself!â€ Mind you, this woman was also wearing colored contact lenses and acrylic nails.
While no two naturals are the same, I tend to divide naturalistas into the â€œlive and let liveâ€ and the â€œmilitantâ€ types. And as much as I love and celebrate natural hair, I could never be a â€œmilitant.â€ Why? Because I love versatility and freedom. I define my curls- my curls donâ€™t define me. And quite frankly, Iâ€™m too busy â€˜doing meâ€ to chastise other women about how they â€œdo them.â€
So if youâ€™re a â€˜militant naturalista,â€ or if you know a â€œmilitant naturalista,â€ just tell her to chill a bit. Every naturalista (and woman for that matter) has the freedom to express her natural beauty the way she deems fit- whether itâ€™s via an untamed afro or defined curls.
Because quite honestly ladies, itâ€™s oftentimes hard enough just learning to love ourselves. So we should all encourage and celebrate each other, regardless of how we wear our natural hair. Donâ€™t you agree?
So what are your thoughts ladies- Do you define your hair, or does your hair define you?
Have you ever encountered a â€œmilitant naturalista?â€ How did you handle them?
Want to know more about our writer Dr. Phoenyx Austin? Then check her out on her Facebook page! Dr. Phoenyx is a physician, writer, & media personality- empowering women by providing fun and informative commentary that encourages us all to be free and beautiful!