He Said/She Said, PostRacialist

The Wet And Wavy Womanizer and the Long Hair Fetish

“Can I touch it?”

He could barely get the question out before his hands went right into my hair. He wanted to touch it. He wanted to pet it. He wanted to put it into a ponytail with a dirty rubber band he found on the marble top of the bar.

“I could fall in love with this,” he said as he scratched my roots. By the time I freed myself from his hair molestation my blow out was frizzy and wild. Not that he cared. I gave him the look. The John McEnroe “Are You SERIOUS?” look and he tried to cover his painfully obvious fetish.

“I just love that your hair is real. I don’t care what a woman’s hair is like as long as it’s real.”

Yet he wasn’t attacking the sister rocking the TWA two stools down even though she was incredibly fierce in her own right. No. It was me and the ten pounds of clothes I had on in the summertime. I believe that everyone is entitled to love who they want to love, but I think people should be honest with themselves.

Black men have just as many hair issues about black women’s hair as black women do.

More after the jump.

We’re not crazy by ourselves. We aren’t imagining things. We aren’t making it up. I’ve heard the words come out of a many fellows’ mouths and seen their actions scream at me in stereo — I love all black women, just ignore me as I break my neck to talk to that light skinned girl with the long hair.

I know this because I’m the light skinned girl with the long hair and I’ve seen it over and over and over again.

Recently I started dating again to mixed results, revisiting an old problem that just won’t die no matter what I do. But the reality of people treating my hair and skin tone as a fetish object is painfully real.

I don’t like being treated like a fetish. If you think I’m beautiful, great. If you fall in love with me for me, wonderful. But I freeze up with aphrension when a man gets stuck in my hair and can’t get out of it. There’s a difference between saying, “Your hair looks nice today” and saying “Your hair looks so much better than all these other sisters who be wearing weaves.” One) Why do you think it will turn me on to dissrespect other black women in your pursuit of me? Two) What?!

It all gives me flashbacks to an ex who would talk about how gorgeous India.Arie was, but married me. Who would bash Halle Berry and other light skinned people, but would admit that it had been his dream since he was a child to marry a girl with light skin and long hair. That he hated the perm I had then, but then bemoaned my TWA when I cut my hair off.

“I wish I never told you to cut your hair,” he said, wrongly assuming that I’d gone natural because of his constant psuedo black militant, intellectual banter. I’d cut it because I’d wrongly thought he was the first guy I’d dated who didn’t care about my hair. That I could cut it without fears I’d be loved less or ridiculed as unattractive. After all, the man before him used to sing Hakuna Matada and call me “Mustafa” whenever I wore my hair just wavy. He was so hostile towards unstraightened hair that even an unstraightened perm was offensive. But he managed to outdo the jerk before him with his hair 360 degree turn, I’m no longer attracted to you, garbage.

“Just date the white girl already,” I used to say when I was frustrated. It made no sense to expect straight hair perfection out of me when my straight hair was a pressing comb illusion.

I am not my hair, as the song goes, but it seems that if you have a lot of hair and you don’t mind dating the occasional completely superficial fetishist you TOO can wallow in the shallow love of the impossible beauty standard.

There is nothing wrong with being an admirer of a particular type of woman, but you shouldn’t disparage other women or berate the woman you claim to love for not living up to your video girl fantasies. Women have enough insecurity issues. We honestly don’t need the help in getting better in touch with our inner crazy.

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44 thoughts on “The Wet And Wavy Womanizer and the Long Hair Fetish

  1. OMG… Why are they this way? When my hair dries it looks like Rotini. So you have the, "Wow, you have good hair" fetishists. Then you have the, "WHY DON’T YOU EVER STRAIGHTEN YOUR HAIR (ANYMORE)?" fetishists. To be honest, I used to prefer my hair long and straight but my brief stint of living in Atlanta turned me against it. My hair wasn’t even that long, it was a hair cut and I still was faced with the scalp rapists. I couldn’t take it. I chopped that shit off. Then, because I got tired of my family telling me that I couldn’t pull off short hair (a short straight bob), I chopped all the relaxer out. My hair is a nice length now and most wouldn’t know nor will they ever know. I love my curls. It’s pretty straight but I think my hair is pretty always. It’s mine. lol. I’m so sick of people telling me, "You have such a nice ‘grade’ of hair. Why don’t you just straighten it or get a ‘baby perm’? It would look so nice." No, it looks nice now.You know who’s even worse than the black men, the non-black ones who think all black women either have nappy hair or weaves so a debate has to ensue about my hair. "How did you get it ‘like that’?" *petpetMOLESTpetpet* I don’t understand, it’s just hair. I’m glad I’m medium skinned, I might have to become violent.

  2. Lisa J says:

    Thank you for pointing this out, b/c I’m tired of seeing all of these discussions where black women are put down as "CRAZY" b/c of our hair issues, like we made it all up or created it ourselves. We are like the Rodney Dangerfields of the planet; we get no respect. Of course we are cuter than he was šŸ™‚

  3. Thank you for posting this. I have that problem rather my hair be short or long. One time I even had a woman ask me was I black? I was so taken off guard with that statement. If a man can only see me for my hair then he should go date a wig and not me. Women also add to the problem because they will molest my hair also and make statement "if I had your hair" What if you had my hair? My hair is just my hair, it is not who am I. I wear my hair straight or curly depending on my mood, but people judge me rather I have it straight or curly. Don’t get me started on the random people who will attempt to touch without asking.

  4. Spinster says:

    "Black men have just as many hair issues about black women’s hair as black women do."ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY. It’s sickening, actually. :-/

  5. Court says:

    My boyfriend and I get into this discussion from time to time and he swears up and down that the power is in our (black women’s) hands. That if we were all to just go natural, black men would "come around" and follow. This is his indirect way of laying the issue at our feet and blaming us.The hair issue has many dimensions, so I won’t say it’s simply about black men, but at the same time, it irritates me when they try to step out of it as if they have no part in this. The way many black women see it, we’re supplying a demand. The demand: a woman that is physically and socially becoming. Who exactly decides what is beautiful in a larger sense? Definitely not us.

  6. malted_tea says:

    The Mustafa reference was funny! Having had dated a rainbow of cultures – and spanning different age cohorts – in the past 15 years, I can’t think of any partner, date or friend who has mentioned my hair. Strangers, yes, but even that’s rare. In that span of time my hair went from naturally braided to permed straight then back to natural with afros ‘n locs. Throw in some color, some cutting, some extensions, some locing and there you have it.I’ve only heard my daughter and my 30-something year old cousin tell their experiences about how their friends try to play up in their hair. I know it happens (and I let my daughter know that people shouldn’t be touching her ANYWHERE unless they ask her since it’s an important sign of respect). It just doesn’t happen to me.Lots of hair posts over here these days, it seems.

  7. dilettante says:

    Boy am I glad you posted this- I was soo tempted several times to put this on "hot topics". I care to an extent what my employer /teachers , etc think of my hair, to a far lesser extent what other [black] women think- but the the driving *external* force in my hair choices have been MEN. Black Men from Detorit, the south side of Chicago,West L.A, the Northen part of Sudan etc. I wonder how many minutes of film time in Chris Rocks movie will investigate this aspect? Obviously his concern for the Indian chick who might be attached by black women wanting to scalp her is touching, but will he look closer to home?

  8. Shelby says:

    A-fucking-men!!! I’m not really light-skinned, but my hair is waist-length when flat-ironed and the comments I get for it are pretty sad. I’m always suspicious of any attention I get from men because, usually, it’s my long hair that they’re attracted to. And I hate being *that girl* you know? I get major side-eye from other Black women all the time but I can’t even get mad at it. The comparative privilege given to ong-haired/light-skinned BW is just flat out depressing. I’m still working on not fetishizing it my own damn self.

  9. NLSmith says:

    Thanks for the post from the light-skinned/long-haired perspective. I understand that, just like with white people and racism, it’s hard for out-siders to see and understand issues that affect others. I’m at an age where I feel like I’ve pretty much overcome my "hair issues", so I’m more concerned with my daughters not having those same issues. This is why I’m glad that this "good hair/lightskinned" issue is finally being discussed more openly so that we can pretty much "air it out" and hopefully…get over it. So personally, whenever my daughters come to me saying I wish I had longer hair, blue eyes, lighter skin (or insert any beauty standard that’s constantly reinforced in american culture) like Becky, Sue or Tina…I simply reinforce to them that:1)They’re beautiful just as God made them2) "Good" hair is the hair that got put on their heads and it’s "good" as long as it’s clean and healthy3) If they want the hair (the skin, the eyes, etc) then they must take the entire package with it…so basically: don’t think those features will make their lives any better than yours or problem free. But outside of my home (and on TV of course), my message is countered by the individuals that you speak of in your post. And once again I stress that these issues don’t begin at age 18…so don’t think the children don’t notice adults fawning over the lighter skinned/longer haired child. And don’t think they don’t hear the "I hope she doesn’t get any darker" or "I hope the hair stays that texture"..when black adults are commenting about black babies.These disparaging views are ingrained in our culture…and like it or not it affects our children’s self-image. I’ve just accepted as a mom of medium skinned toned girls with type 4a/4b textured hair that I’ll have to work a little harder to make sure that they have a healthy self-image and sense of self-worth.

  10. ZooPath says:

    I just wish everyone could get over long hair as being considered more attractive, I’ve never had short hair in my life and I’m almost 30. My husband says he’d be fine with it but it would be a "down-grade" IHO because long hair just looks better to him in general.

  11. thelady says:

    It is really creepy how obsessed some black men are with long hair. In college a male friend of mine asked how long my hair was and I said shoulder length. Well when I finally wore it down he freaked out and starting gushing because it was longer than he was expecting. "Why didn’t you tell me your hair was this long, blah blah" like I was supposed to have given him exact measurements, it shouldn’t be that big a deal. When I wore my hair texlaxed the guy I was dating wanted to know how long it would be if I straightened it. Does a few inches of perceived hair length really have that much effect on my attractiveness?

  12. Monie says:

    I don’t know but I feel that making this a Black men vs. Black women thing doesn’t help. I think Black people in general are socialized to worship long str8 hair. The blame for long hair worship should be placed on a society that says your natural hair is ugly and unless you conform to another standard of beauty you will not be attractive. So both Black men and women are victims in this case I think.

  13. The_A says:

    Wow. hair molestation.I never really thought about it that way. So true & its such a creepy violation of personal space. I remember being on business travel having dinner @ the bar by myself after a very long day. Two old ass playas showed up on either side of me molesting my hair like I’m a chia pet. This is while I’m getting the ‘hey baby what’s your name’ bs. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough!!! No matter how a black women wears her hair, there is someone who, often vocally, has a problem with it. Chris Rock wouldn’t take on that angle because its easier to just joke about women being crazy.

  14. Nikita says:

    This is my 2nd time going natural and the response is what I expected. BW love it, BM – meh. LOL. I do not believe it is a us (bm v bw) versus them kind of thing with this issue. What is being examined here is the fascination of black men with hair they themselves are generally not born with and their inability for some to say honestly, yes we too get caught up in the matrix. Black women are NOT crazy for noting how men, bm in particular react to their beauty. More and more light skinned black women with long hair are speaking up about this "preference" and are stating that it is foul and they are offended by it. I think as we begin to re-examine ourselves, our beliefs, our culture etc., there are going to be instances where both genders accepted ideas that we really shouldn’ve adopted. When it came to our hair (which I think you should wear whichever way you want, by the by) it is a touchy subj. because of the history of it and the implied and sometimes stated idea that it is ugly and undeirable because it is not the norm for everyone else. And there in lies the rub. We are not the norm, we are uniquely beautiful, but some form of the "norm" is more highly desired. On some level the suggestion of not good enough is being suggested. To have so many bm have this preferene and not examine what they are saying to us and the world at large is painful.

  15. n says:

    I dont wear my hair down because of the "molestation". Males and females have been touching and pawing at it since I was a child and Im tired of it. The weirdest was a neighbor who kept asking if he could wash it for me. NONo one other than me has styled or cut my hair in 17 years, I dont even like STYLISTS fawning over it. Its the half fawning and half horror at the quanity of hair I have that bugs me. Just wash it and be quiet,ok?I wont date men with a hair fixation.

  16. lee says:

    "The weirdest was a neighbor who kept asking if he could wash it for me."that’s really creepyi have to agree that it’s not just black men…. it’s all people (black women included)… long hair/light skin is praised and hailed as the best in all cultures. my mexican/italian boss made a comment to me yesterday that she wishes she had hair like blond women. i had to ask what she meant because i’ve seen people with blond hair that is straight, nappy, short, long. she’s like you know, long, blond, bone straight hair. people tend be fetishists of what they don’t have. skinny chicks want to have hips and boobs, big girls want to be skinny, short people want to be tall, tall people want to blend in. it’s very (EXTREMELY) rare to find a person that’s happy with what they have. i’ve rarely heard light skinned black men get all crazy over light skinned girls…. or men with "curly" hair go crazy over girls with "curly" hair.however, i believe your last statement was the most poignant part of your piece. "There is nothing wrong with being an admirer of a particular type of woman, but you shouldn’t disparage other women or berate the woman you claim to love for not living up to your video girl fantasies." AMEN!

  17. David Wise says:

    Wow, this column some much reminded me of the "Emperor’s New Clothes" tale. Since no one is breaking the news to you, Danielle, I’m almost tempted to. Oh, well, nevermind. Hee, hee

  18. its not me, its you says:

    a few days ago, my husband and stopped at our neighbourhood market to grab dinner. we encountered a friend of a friend and his friend. i proceeded to shop while they chatted.my husband revealed on the ride home, rather angrily, that the f-o-a-f asked him ifhe was *still with the same wife.*apparently, this cat didn’t recgonise me since my hair had been straightened!and what infuriated my husband is that he classified them as *hair dudes* (or some term a bit more blue) who only look at women with straightened or long hair. there was probably some other meat to their exchange which made him even more angry but he mercifully failed to share.my husband has hair issues, too, but probably the opposite of what we assign most brothers. he grew up with two light skinned sisters with long hair. but he has always gravitated toward short hair. so if my hair touches my ear, he might look at me sideways. he offers to cut off five inches of my hair after shaving his head or trimming his beard. he always looks excited after i wash my hair and leave it *alone*. this helps since i am a ‘fro vet (rockin’ it since ’91{holla-holla}) so this was non-negotiable. this is going to be the case 90% of the time.he doesnt chastise me when i do grow my hair or wear it straight, he merely prefers it short because he can see my lovely face. awwww.there are dudes who may honestly prefer short or natural hair, natural being curly or fuzzy or kinky or nappy or buzzed with no psychological baggage attached. it could be because it is true and honest and it can because it is what makes us who we are. i’ve only met about three of them but…..

  19. Aabaakawad says:

    Quoting Snob quoting her ex:"… it had been his dream since he was a child to marry a girl with light skin and long hair."Quoting NLSmith:"And once again I stress that these issues don’t begin at age 18…so don’t think the children don’t notice adults fawning over the lighter skinned/longer haired child. And don’t think they don’t hear the "I hope she doesn’t get any darker" or "I hope the hair stays that texture"..when black adults are commenting about black babies. These disparaging views are ingrained in our culture…and like it or not it affects our children’s self-image."Quoting n:"Males and females have been touching and pawing at it since I was a child and Im tired of it."Perhaps this is the real heart of the matter, rather than crazy women or crazy men.Wishing you all progress.

  20. JJ says:

    I don’t understand the whole long hair thing. Both Halle Berry and Rihanna careers exploded after cutting their hair. I’m brown skinned some may consider me light skin and I never had long hair growing up. It was never short but it was never really long or thick until a few years ago. I changed hair dressers and my hair began to flourish. I got some looks from black men admiring my hair. The black male security guard from the office building called me beautiful everyday and some of the white men in my office took more notice as well. I have since gone natural, I have about 6 inches of hair when stretched so it’s not extremely long and I get just as many stares from black men and white men as I did when I had a perm so I just think it depends on the man. A lot of black men have this hair issue but many do not. It could also be the fact that I live in NYC which is a city that might be more accepting of natural hair.

  21. travlegiirl says:

    And this is exactly why people in the the beauty supply/wig weave industry are financially set for life.We are or (a whole lot) of us are replying the call to black men’s or others needs.Sad but true

  22. Call it what you want. says:

    Can’t we as we just ignore those nignorant black men who openly display such shallowness. If you can be that outwardly shallow and admit that you want somebody lite bright then does that person even deserve the time of day?As long as black women buy into this three pronged trap of society, our men, and what will other’s think BS we’ll never be happy.

  23. j2 says:

    lee, I’ve also known tons of white women who wish they were blond and blue eyed because they get the media message just like everybody else that "Barbie" is what’s attractive and that everybody else black, white, brown, red, yellow, or in between who doesn’t meet that standard is somehow ugly or defective. I really think women in general regardless of race are under attack in this country by a media and pop culture that sets standards of beauty that’s impossible for 95+% of us to ever obtain. It used to be that white women had at least some chance of meeting some scale of what society deemed attractive in a woman (think about when Lucille Ball was considered attractive: that’s a body type that’s attainable and also very average looks could still be pretty) but now they can’t even meet it. Now women are considered ugly if we don’t look like supermodels. Worse, men regardless of race or attractiveness (they could be fat and ugly) all think they’re entitled to supermodels and that they can demean and treat women who don’t measure up to the white (and black) ideal like sh*t. It’s crazy. Women need to take back our own bodies and self-image. We come in all shades, all shapes, all hair types and flavors and we’re all beautiful so long as our hearts are beautiful. Perfection is something no one will ever reach. It’s time to accept and love the way God made each and every one of us.

  24. Brandi says:

    When I went natural, I had the weirdest experience (well not that weird). At work, two women I’d never even see before walked by me and said "I can’t believe she cut her hair". It wasn’t said in a negative tone, just kinda flat. It was strange b/c these women obviously knew me and my hair although they were complete strangers to me. My hair is now shoulder length when I wear it curly. I’ve never straightened it so I have no idea how long it really is. Anywho, when my hair is wet my husband gets all excited b/c my hair is so long! He was fine with it short but it’s obvious what he prefers.

  25. knockoutchick says:

    Great post! Thanks!I think all women of color living in countries with a large Euro or white presence have the same issues.White, Latin, Asian and Arabic men have always shown preferences for long hair. BM now living in majority white cultures now adhere to and express the same preferences, as all black people are effected by these norms. Of course as black people we are the only group whose hair and skin appear radically different from the other groups mentioned, that is why this is troubling for black people. If BM reject tightly coiled hair, he is rejecting BW in our natural form and that is what is happening. Since soooo many women base their self esteem and value on how men view them, black women are deeply troubled. I separated myself from basing my self worth on what BM think about my hair long ago and I have been a much happier person.It is logical that white, latin or Asian men prefer long hair…as their women tend to HAVE long hair naturally. Not all BW do.So the difficulty comes in the norm in A society not being what is natural to our group.For instance it is normal that some BM express preferences for women with fuller hips and behinds as many BW have these features. What would be odd if tomorrow the MAJORITY of WM began expressing preferences for WW with larger behinds.We have seen the occurrence of WW who express interest in BM purchasing butt implants to mimic BWs figures, imagine this tenfold, it would be creepy.One of the many reasons why beauty norms weigh so heavily on BW is that our hair and skin are indeed quite unique. It is much harder for us to adhere to Euro/ Eastern or Western beauty norms.I noticed very early on that many of my white colleagues dyed their hair blond…in a way acheiving instant desireability among WM. I know WW who have deep black hair but have NEVER gone out of the house with undyed hair. The only way I knew they were dark haired was through friendly admissions after years of working with them and building a trust and closeness, a secret so closely held they made it seem like a matter of national security šŸ˜‰ I would often joke that blond hair color was self esteem in a bottle for many WW, because no matter how average looking a WW might be she could instantly improve hear beauty ratio by dying her hair.Now whether she actually looked better with blond hair is not the issue, she FELT better…it seemed illogical to me but I have seen it with my own eyes.So what do BW living in the West do…they buy miles of fake hair and hair dyes so that they may have try to have their own "self esteem in a bottle".Of course BW can’t so easily hide their beauty changes. I have heard horror stories about BW not wanting the men in thier lives to touch their hair. Hair touching is a VERY sensitive issue among BW. I think part of why some people are interested in touching BW’s hair is that again our hair and appearance are quite different. Also because BW change their hair styles so often it makes it even more curious for people of other races. I have long thin curly braids of kinky hair…and I have had so many people compliment and want to touch my hair….I am used to it now. American white people seem to understand our issues and won’t touch my hair…but other European friends male and female aren’t aware and stick their "FANGERS" in my hair all the time…so I had to let that all go. Anyway I am very open and I don’t mind. I love my hair and hairstyle.I have a beautiful GF from Botswana. She is petite, very thin and has that beautiful round shaped head face and almond eyes. To me she looks like a doll šŸ˜‰ Also she has very short tightly coiled hair, she wears in a TWA. I don’t think her hair grows beyond that length.We she came to America, she was amazed at BM having preferences for long hair. BW in Botswana wear many different hair styles but it is acceoted as just that….changing ones style.I think here in America it is true both BM and BW are deeply effected by these norms and hurt by them.I also think one of the reasons so many BM do sport bald heads is that they too have issues with their own nappy hair. We are all living here and bombarded with the same media images. Notice how many BM who are into rock and roll or punk have relaxed hair, long dreads….or even braided extensions. I guess since slinging hair is a part of the rock experience for some….the long hair becomes needed.

  26. T. Rogers says:

    Let’s get something straight. SOME black men have serious hair and skin tone issues, particularly when it comes to women. Some of us are not nearly as hung up on it as many women think. And at the end of the day your hair insecurities do have to be laid at your feet. It is not any man’s responsibility to confirm a woman’s hair. He either has to accept it or not. Period. Just as it is not a woman’s responsibility to make a self conscious man comfortable with himself. It goes both ways. And this is not just a black thing. The problem is ALL American women are targeted by a fashion and beauty industry that cannot allow you to feel comfortable with yourself. If you did then who would buy overpriced brands like Prada and Gucci. If you did then plastic surgeons would not be making the killing they are. No this is not about "black men" or "black women" as a whole. It is about the individual setting themselves free from all this BS concern about becoming beautiful. Lastly, I don’t buy a lot of this because I learned long ago that women don’t really dress and style their hair for men. They dress and style their hair for other women.

  27. France says:

    thanks for writing this! I can so relate, except for the opposite reason lol. I am a brown skin Island girl with slanted eyes and "unusual" brown hair. I’ve noticed that I attract alot of nonblack men and light skinned brothas. It soon made me uncomfortable to hear these people compliment me on being so "exotic", as if I was a parrot from the Amazon! One light skinned guy blatantly admitted that he was attracted to me- black, Caribbean girl, with outstanding features- because I helped "reaffirm" his blackness. No longer was I just a beautiful black woman, I was now a symbol of the African roots and black nationalism/solidarity that his light, almost white skin could not belie. It reminded me of the scene in School Daze with Lawrence Fishbburn and his dark skinned gf when she told him off after he belittled her for pursuing DST.

  28. Misrak Aja says:

    Peace. Nice article. We have a lot of self-hatred issues as a people. However, I’m learning that people sometimes aren’t necessarily attracted to a certain hair texture because of self-hatred; sometimes it’s just a passion for the exotic. For example, I have locs. This is no exceptional thing because many, many people all over the world have locs. But I live in Venezuela. Most of the women I’ve seen here have curly or straight hair. But men fall all over themselves for me and my hair. I get soooo many compliments all day. One chinese person came up to me and kept telling me how beautiful my hair is. It’s basically because many of them just see me as exotic. We as Black women need to start embracing our rare and exceptional beautiful ‘cuz we’re all fine as wine (smile).

  29. Timme says:

    Wow….so uhmm…I’m not the only one who thinks this way..It’s true.. Black people are shallow sheeps and puppets when it comes it their own hair, amongst other things. Going to shoot myself now..*kidding*

  30. Aabaakawad says:

    @ jz and knockoutchickThe funny thing is that study after study of WM’s attraction to hair color using photos of the same set of WW in brunette or blonde wigs shows a clear preference usually for brunette. Also a mild assumption that the brunettes are smarter. So even WW’s assumptions about the sexiness of blonde is wrong. This is more about the dynamic between WW and the beauty/fashion industry, which of course NEEDS an out-of-reach standard to drive profits.

  31. Lyra says:

    Great post. I actually just finished reading a segment over at Racialicious about skin bleaching so all this beauty stuff has got me thinking. The bottom line with hair is that BW should style it in a way that they like but will also keep it healthy.I’ve had a couple conversations with my bf about my hair but ultimately told him that it was my hair on my head and I’ll do what I want with it. Since 2005 I’ve had braids, relaxer, a TWA and now locs. He’s seen pics of my relaxed hair (almost shoulder length) and asked if I’d ever consider straightening it again (I said no). He also mentioned that he probably wouldn’t have been attracted to me when I had an afro (I think I said "sucks for you").Part of the problem seems to be the concept that long hair = feminine. Therefore the inverse for many people is short hair = masculine. The thought process then follows that, if a woman cuts her hair short, she’s attempting to look more masculine (i.e. lesbian). If you look at the images presented by various media outlets, BW either straighten their hair or wear weaves. Where are the representations of BW with afros or locs or braids? Is that why little children get confused when they see a BW with short hair to the point where they have to wonder if it’s a woman or a man (a whispered question I heard several times in the vicinity of children and their parents)? I really worry about the next generation (regardless of race) and what kinds of misconceptions they’ll have developed from how the media represents people.

  32. Lauren says:

    To sum it up: Wow!To expand the "wow":As a black young lady attending a PWI, I over hear some white men say, "She’s cute for a black girl." And I just know that it’s because of my features and hair. Now I do not consider myself to be light, I’m brown. But I have more hair on my head than the majority of black girls here on campus. So I’m always asked about my racial background or people want to touch my hair. One day I was combing my hair in the bathroom and a visiting mom, who just happened to be white, stood there and watched. It was humiliating as she stared at my hair in awe. So I cut my hair but it’s still considered long and I just want the attention to stop. Yet at the same time, i wish that it was down my back again. I consistently find myself negotiating my bi-racial background because part of my phenotype screams black but then the details hollas "white". Thus forcing me to recognize just how euro-centric my views on beauty are and how my views were imposed on me from childhood. SMH.

  33. A little off topic but,My pete peeve about black women and hair is when their hair is used as an excuse for not working out and losing weight. The whole I can’t work out because of my hair.yuck, get it together.

  34. OMG where on earth did u meet these crazies!!! i guess somewhere on earth. I tend to get hair statements from female family members but after I went from short to long, and so many styles inbetween in so many short periods, they stopped caring about what I did with my hair, and learned to love whatever the current style was, and sometimes prefered I stayed short or long.I wish a lot of people would be more appreciative of different hairstyles, and stop making people feel insecure for having too short, or too long, or too wavy or too straight hair.

  35. SistaOpinion says:

    I am an unquestionably dark-skinned black woman. Like most black women I’ve worn my hair in a variety of styles but I have now been natural for more than half my adult life. I have unquestionably nappy hair with an average shrinkage rate of about 70%. Two comments:1) The only time I have EVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE experienced repeated, concentrated unsolicited attention from black men was when I was wearing bra-strap length Senegalese twist extensions done with about 12 packs of Kanekalon. (It was my very first extension hairstyle and I told the braiders I didn’t want to see any scalp.) This was back when I was living in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago, and I remember being astonished that all of a sudden, this long (and, to me at least, OBVIOUSLY fake) hair made me visible where I was invisible before. If I were a different kind of person that might have been the start of a long love affair with fake hair but later that year I went natural by chopping down to a 1/2" TWA…and that was when I REALLY became invisible, lol.2) At different times in my life I have known black women with long, naturally straight/wavy hair who would ALWAYS wear their hair up. At the time I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t show off their hair more. Now I get it: I haven’t worn my hair straight in years and one of the reasons why is because of the way people react. You would think I’d walked on water the way people would get all up on me with their fingers and their compliments. If I were to straighten my hair today, most of it would fall below my shoulders, which would make it longer than it’s ever been. Part of me is curious to see it…but it’s very likely I’ll punch in the nose the first person who says, "You should keep it that way." I refuse to spend my life feeling inferior because my African genes kicked the shit out of my non-African genes, sorry.

  36. Dominque Sade says:

    It is absolutely sad, but absolutely true! Men tend to lean more towards the woman with the light skinned and long hair. I can say this because I am light-skinned, or red-bone as I am often referred, woman. I use to have long hair, down my back. But after dealing with damage, I decided to cut if off as short at Nia Long once had her’s. I LOVE MY SHORT HAIR! And I have had many guys come to me and say, "Usually, I don’t talk to women with short hair, but you rockin’ the shit out of it!" I just laugh and keep moving. My hair is not to be messed with or played in. I don’t want you pullling on it if were are having sex and I don’t want you running your fingers through it. When it comes to my hair, I am very meticulous. I feel like men have adjusted to the tradition of women having long hair, and fair skin being those that I have it. My father was furious when I first got it cut because he was used to women having long hair, it was tradition in the family. and my male friends in high school were like, "Where is you hair?" It had it bobbed then, but my sophomore year of college, I went Jacque Reid (BET) short and they fell in love with it. If a man is with you for your hair, he never cared about you in the beginning. As for the weaves, I don’t wear them because they just don’t fit me and they make my head feel really heavy. LOL But I don’t knock this sistah who wears them, but I would say be careful about letting a man touch it.

  37. Nooch says:

    Miguel,Exercise does NOT guarantee that you will lose weight, and certainly not a significant amount if no changes are made to your diet. Also exercise should be a habit for everyone regardless of size. You are disgusted by their appearance, not by their habit because MOST people don’t exercise regularly, and it’s obvious that’s not your concern. And I’m willing to be you’re as "yucky" as the women who disgust you. YOU need to get it together.

  38. Serene says:

    I am a dark skinned or aka " chocolate – lol " woman who can relate to another poster about somehow authenticating black men by being with the "exotic" chocolate woman. Some say they feel more proud to have a beautiful dark skinned woman on their arms… especially in school, the white dark and light men deemed me the most beautiful woman they had ever seen in their lives. My ex would say that the chocolate woman is so sexy and smooth… lol. I find that men have a different fetish with all woman. With white girls, it’s so called open to whatever and submissive sex thing… with light girls it’s the curly hair…. with dark girls it’s the skin, lips, butt, and overall sex and sexiness…. men have different things with different women. I think the media pushes this whole men only like light skin and long hair but being a dark skinned woman I’ve experianced the opposite with men hitting on me over my light or mixed friends. I’ve even heard black men laugh about how Mixed girls can smell like wet dog after a shower and say that the light skinned girls are too pale and blotchy with red flaky skin amongst other stupid and silly things. People can be so silly and stupid. I just don’t think about it and be me. All women are beautiful in one form or the other.

  39. Serene says:

    I wanted to add…. My fiance was once married to a light girl with curly hair. He is now with me the total opposite and says that I am the vision of the woman he has always wanted. Even with her, when watching adult movies, he looked at the girls who looked more like me. Meaning chocolate woman with nice toned shapes and beautiful features. Light woman need to understand that the garbage they are being fed with the fetishes about skin color and hair are being fed to us darker woman as well about what they love about us from the skin color, to hair and features….. also, the garbage they may talk about us to you behind closed doors is the same thing they say to us behind closed doors. I can’t tell you how many men have told me they’d pass over a light skinned girl for me anyday. And BTW this is 2010. Look at the Obama family!!! We are no longer slaves on the feild…. lol. Like white people have the blond and brunette, and Asian’s have the slanted or more western eyes at the end of the day it’s like- really? WHO CARES!!!! LOL Love who you love. Are we realllllly this shalllow?! lol

  40. Baxter says:

    A little late, but I found this topic interesting and wanted to add. I am an African American darker complected female, with what some would call long hair. It lands a few inches past my shoulders and has been that length for most of my life. I keep my hair relaxed and I've always had a thing for longer hair myself, but I don't think I realized how bad BM had it until the 2nd time I decided to get a weave. The first was for my prom, the 2nd was for a trip to Miami during Memorial wknd. I had been there the past year with my regular hair and the following year I decided to try something new. Now some would consider me a female with "good hair" at least that is how it seems the first two weeks of my relaxer. So for this trip I decided to leave the front portion of my hair natural (and by that I mean no weave, but freshly relaxed) and the back half of my hair a long weave that hit the lower portion of my back, matching my relaxed hair perfectly. You would have had to look more than twice to decide if this was really my hair or not. Well to put it lightly, I have never received so much attention in all of my life. I'm use to the occasional "do you have indian in your family" question but this was ridiculous. If you've never been to Miami for Memorial weekend, let me tell you it's probably about 75% Black people on South Beach and the brothers were out to get me or rather my hair. Not only were they much more attracted to me than the prior year, but they also were very curious to know if this was a "REAL" attraction or rather, "is that your real hair," a question that I heard over four times in only four days. One guy told me that he liked me cause he could tell I wasn't like all these other girls with fake hair. He said this while sliding his hand down my ponytail, and I was so taken aback and embarrassed in thinking that he could tell it wasn't real after touching it that I awkwardly walked away from him without saying anything. But i would have to say that the worst experience I had in Miami was after being in the beach water with some friends of friends. I had just met this one guy an hour prior and shared a brief conversation with him. A little later he decided to take a trip back to his towel, but not before patting my head to see if my hair was real. At this point I wasn't even talking to him, so it took me by surprise when I felt two quick pats on my head and turned to see the black man that I had just met walking speedily back to his towel, like I wouldn't know that it was him who had just pet me. The attention was a plus at times, but after that experience I vowed to myself I would stick to my natural head of hair. I didn't have a problem telling people that my hair was fake, it was the fact that I had to constantly keep telling BM who just had to know. I don't want to get deep into what the media promotes as beauty and what BM believe to be beautiful, but this definitely had me thinking about the way that BM perceive BW and the way that I perceive myself. Let's just say it was an eye opening experience.

  41. Athena says:

    I'm perversely relieved to hear this. I thought maybe I was crazy for thinking..well.I'm light skinned enough that white people who chase the sun like to hold their deeply tanned arms next to mine and brag about how they are darker than me with never a moment's thought, and about 20 years ago i decided that I would never cut my hair short again. About 10 years ago I gave up relaxers as a useless pursuit. Today my natural curls fall just a little past my waist; when I heat straighten my hair to trim it evenly I cut it straight across at about the tailbone.for an everyday style I put it up in a bun (I know about two dozen, some of them very intricate) and no one looks at me twice. When I wear it curly and loose, someone is always going to have something to say about it. When I straighten it, people lose their *minds.* They get into my face to interrogate me on its authenticity and -touch- it. It should be a surprise to no one that I haven't worn it straight and loose in public since 2008, because I can think of a hundred things I'd rather have strangers bothering me about in public than getting fetishy all over my hair.

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