I’ve never been asked this question directly. However, in many ways I recognize the mental struggle African American women face when they head to an interview, work, or classroom. I’ve seen Facebook posts that read, “Should I wear my hair straight or curly for my interview?” Or, “I think I should get a sew-in for the company event. They won’t be able to handle my natural hair. What do you guys think?”
Is Natural Hair Professional? Will I be judged by my hair? Will I still get the job if I have natural hair?
These questions are saddening to me. What an awful reality women struggle with daily.
We need to accept that our hair is curly, because God made it that way and there isn’t anything we can do about it. It is who you are, it is your identity. Just like being petite is who I am, having brown skin is who I am, and having a bum is a part of who I am. Unless I go through an extreme plastic surgery makeover, this will be who I am until the day I die. Some people may not like me because I’m short, or brown, or have hips, or love Jesus, but I can’t focus on that. I wouldn’t get anything done, or apply for anything if I focus on what someone may or may not like.
Being different is a beautiful thing!
The truth is our insecurities in how we believe people will judge our hair texture is our issue, not our bosses. Your coworkers and upper management do not care what your hair looks like, they are judging you by how well you do your job. However, if you do feel that judgment, then be the leader and prove them wrong! You will not only help yourself, but anyone else who comes after you.
When we place ourselves in this box of how we should look, or act, or dress, we are critically diluting the uniqueness we possess that causes us to shine so brightly!
Do you really think you will or won’t get an opportunity because of your hair? In the words of Sweet Georgia Brown,
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
If I have faith, then I know the opportunities that come my way are not based on my work, but what God is doing in my life. In the words of my grandma, “What God has for you is for you. He has the final say.”
However, let’s use our common sense in deciding what styles are appropriate or not. I think we can agree that no matter what your hair texture is (curly or straight), some styles and hair colors are not acceptable in the workplace.
I look at women like Melissa Harris-Perry, and did you know she wears braids most of the time? Remember she is on national television discussing politics in America. She has one of the most “corporate” jobs you could think of. Imagine the discussions that have stirred from her just being herself. How much more does she stand out because she is confident in who she is? It shows. She even did a segment on African American hair that was so entertaining and well worth the watch.
I have experienced the stares and gawks at my curly hair, and I love every second of it. Most of the time it is from infatuation, not negative judgment. Though, even when I do run across negativity, I won’t stop being who I am, because someone else has a problem with it. Having a unique hairstyle may work in your favor. That image of you will stick in someone’s mind as they navigate through a sea of prospects for a huge opportunity!
I won’t stop being who I am, because someone else has a problem with it!
The reality is, you will be judge no matter how you look. You might as well be yourself and be confident in that judgement.