Have you seen the music video “Where the F*#& Is Your Hair” yet? It’s a parody video about a man’s reaction to his girlfriend’s natural hair set to the tune of Chris Brown’s “Don’t Judge Me”.
Several women within the natural community believed it was making fun of natural hair and found it repulsive and offensive. I first saw the video when it was reposted on My Natural Sistas Facebook page. The sistas weren’t offended by it, writing, “LOL! Sometimes you just have to laugh and not take it to heart.” In the comments, the reaction was mixed. Some hated it, others couldn’t help but laugh because it showed how shallow and closed-minded black men can be towards a black woman’s appearance. Some black men like women with big butts. Some like bigger breasts. Others prefer straight hair. It’s quite laughable that the size of certain body parts or the hair that grows out of a woman’s head could make or break a relationship.
Still, the video and the reaction to it made me wonder how representative it was of the male opinion on natural hair. One question always manages to resurface within the natural community, no matter how often we try to positively answer it and rid it from our minds: Does my man like my natural hair? We all want to say yes, but how confident are we with that answer? Instead of assuming the best . . . or worst about men, I decided to create a survey asking men their thoughts on natural hair, and invited my male Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections to participate. I managed to get ten men to complete my survey.
How do you feel about black women who wear their hair natural?
I was pleasantly surprised by the answers I received. The majority of the men I surveyed loved that women are choosing to wear their hair natural. “I love the fact that although some women wear similar natural styles, everyone has a different texture, so it’s a great way to accentuate individuality,” one man said. Another said, “I love it. I feel that black women who wear their hair natural are sending a [positive] message to today’s generation. I actually prefer a woman with natural hair.” I loved that this person mentioned the younger generations, especially in the midst of so many reports surfacing about schools that shame young boys and girls for wearing their natural hair. The more parents, family members, friends, actors, news anchors, and even school teachers who choose to wear their hair natural, the more confident these children will become with their own appearance.
A third man said that he appreciated that black women are finally choosing to stand up against the European status quo when it comes to hair and beauty and that natural hair is a great political statement. “I think a certain level of confidence and self-esteem is required of black women who wear their hair natural given that American popular culture, for centuries, has promoted an image of beauty where the expression of African traits was seen as undesirable. And in working to reverse that trend I also respect the political motivations for their choice.” When asked if they thought natural hair was attractive, the men who loved that women were going natural all said YES, in capital letters.
There were a few who weren’t as enthusiastic, though they weren’t entirely against it, either. “Some women feel insecure about their natural look and it shows,” said a man who was on the fence. Possibly, if he were to meet a confident woman who made the world love her natural hair as much as she loved it, maybe it would change his mind. Only one of the men I surveyed expressed a true distaste for natural hair. “I am not an advocate of natural hair. Appearance is important to me.” Have you ever heard a man say, “I like natural hair as long as it’s neat”? That is what this statement reminded me of. However, I couldn’t be too angry. This person was an older man who most likely was taught all his life that kinky hair is unkempt and unattractive. I could only expect that he would have a negative opinion about natural hair. I was thrilled to learn that the younger men were much more open-minded.
Do you think a certain curl pattern looks prettier worn naturally?
Kinkier hair is seen as the black sheep of the natural hair community. When women say they can’t go natural, they usually give their “nappy” hair as the reason. They believe that natural hair is pretty as long as it has a loose curl pattern. This only promotes self-hate in our younger girls, and derails the message the natural hair movement is meant to convey. I wondered if men shared the same damaging sentiment. I showed them examples of different curl patterns and pictures of celebrities and models who have them. Unfortunately, the men also preferred the looser curl patterns—types one, two, and three. “Straight,” one guy said flat-out, “I personally love straight or wavy.” The kinkiest hair texture selected by most of the men was 3C, although one out of ten picked a type 4 hair texture: “I think kinky-coily looks the best when worn naturally.”
Still, there were others who said that curl pattern doesn’t matter. Natural hair is beautiful either way. “I think a confident woman looks better regardless of hair type, but in this situation you really have to ‘own it,’” was one answer. “Doesn’t matter. Any type of woman can pull off their natural look,” was another answer. Although it is relieving to know that some men love natural hair in general, no matter the hair texture, it would’ve been nice to have a few of them confess an undying infatuation with 4C hair.
What is your favorite natural hairstyle?
Even though men say they love natural hair, they like one style better than the rest. Have you ever hesitated to try different things with your natural hair because you had a picky boyfriend? Maybe you feared a wash-n-go on your 4C hair wouldn’t meet the “neat” requirement that some men have. Are all men finicky about our hair like that?
I showed my survey respondents pictures of the most common natural hairstyles: TWA, twist-out, braid-out, and wash-n-go. The twist-out and braid-out were the top two styles. “Braid-out,” was one answer. “Each natural style looks unique. Trying to pick one over another is tough but the Twist-Out style will probably be my favorite,” another answered. A third man said, “I love braid-outs and wash-n-go.” I also received a lot of “no preference” answers. I wasn’t surprised that the older gentleman who doesn’t like natural hair didn’t bother to answer this question. Unfortunately, no one preferred the TWA. However, I don’t want that to discourage anyone from getting the Big Chop. Although these men didn’t say it was their favorite style, we shouldn’t assume that they wouldn’t like a woman with a TWA.
Obviously, the TWA, twist-out, braid-out, and wash-n-go aren’t the only hairstyles we wear. Natural hair is versatile, and we can do pretty much anything with it. The fact that men love two of the most common natural hairstyles should give us hope that they will love others as well.
Would you date a woman with natural hair?
Finally, we came down to the defining question. Women were both offended and amused by the “When Your Girl Go Natural Video” because they believed that, although it was a parody, there was some truth to it. We’re always wondering if our men like our natural hair. Some of us even blame picky boyfriends for not wanting to go natural, but is it all in our heads? Would a man actually leave his girlfriend because of her natural hair? Based on the answers to the previous questions, I was very optimistic. The guys didn’t disappoint, either. Nine out of ten of them answered yes, they would date a woman with natural hair. “Yes, and I am,” said one of the guys. Another said, “Yes. My fiancé has natural hair.” Even my oldest survey respondent said that although he wouldn’t necessarily date a woman with natural hair, he has in the past: “I have dated women with natural hair which enhanced their natural attractiveness.”
Although I only surveyed a small group, I truly believe that most men love natural hair. Even if they don’t, you shouldn’t allow that to dictate how you wear your own hair. If he can’t accept all of you, then he can’t have all of you. Know that you are beautiful whether your man likes your hair or not. That strong confidence will eventually attract a real man who will love you even if you’re rocking his least favorite hairstyle.