Do Men Get Insecure About Having Kinky Hair?

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Photo Source: broswithfrosandcurls.tumblr.com

The conversation about natural hair often revolves around women and the struggles they face to accept their natural texture, but men struggle too.

Beauty blogger Tia Williams recently posted a conversation she had with close friend Kibwe (NOT pictured above!) who is growing out his type-4 hair as a sign of accepting it for what it was. Here’s a snippet of the conversation:

Kibwe: Listen. As a black man…a black man who’s hair doesn’t wave if I rock a du-rag to bed…your hair is this thing coming out of you that you have to hurry up and get rid of before everyone sees it. If I have even a millimeter of new growth, I look like a slave. It’s “peasy,” “beady-beads,” “taco meat.” It communicates “urban,” there’s no other option.
Me: Fair enough.
Kibwe: I’m sick of the Ceasar. I need to see my hair. I need to learn to react positively to it, because the culture is not affirming me. If I keep cutting it, no one will adjust their thinking…including me. It’s like when you’re a woman who feels gross without lipgloss or something. You should try skipping it to learn to love yourself without it.
[In my head, I'm like "umm...never, buddy."]
Kibwe: Also, just from a fashion point of view…I always wanted to have the “scruffy” option. White culture has the “scruffy guy you still wanna f*ck,” like Johnny Depp. Black culture doesn’t. Locks and twists are just starting to kinda become cool, like with 2 Chainz and Wayne and Wale. There’s Lenny, but he’s always been the exception.
Me: Yeah, it’s like the whole dirty chic thing never works on black girls. We can’t wear f*cked-up Uggs, or super-messy ponytails. We look homeless.
Kibwe: We’re expected to be clean cut, so as not to offend non-minorities. There’s no lane for a non-conventional black man (especially not for a gay one). Not if you wanna keep your job.

Click here for the full article on ShakeYourBeauty.com.

And please share, ladies, have you witnessed men who struggle to embrace their natural texture?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast. When I'm not here, I'm moderating a Facebook group for black mothers called Black Moms Connect.

 

48 thoughts on “Do Men Get Insecure About Having Kinky Hair?

  1. I’ve been thinking about this sooo much since I started wearing my hair out!!

    I would love to find some background on why it’s so important for black men to get rid of their hair as soon as it starts growing out. I feel they suffer from a lot of suppression of what’s naturally them just like black women do but (at least in Jamaica), it’s largely ignored. I had a friend who, close to the end of high school, started growing out his hair into a big afro. There were girls and guys (especially girls) who used to tell him to go to the barber and get it cut. It looks gross. It looks bad. You look homeless. Now his hair is big! It has a curl to it and he added a little colour and everybody loves it. It also “matches” him because he’s an artist. But most of his friends are scared to follow suit. They don’t have his hair. Their parents tell them to cut it. Girls won’t like them.

    I even have another friend who wants to grow his hair out, just to perm it. I’m concerned about his end goal but he can’t because he HAS to get it cut every month. Furthermore, I have friends who have texturized the little hair that they do allow to grow to get a wave or a straighter look.

    Here in France (where I’m staying for a few months), long hair on black men is even more frowned upon apparently and I see way more guys texturizing or relaxing the little crop of hair they DO have. And THEN gelling it to match the hairstyles the white guys do -__- mi heart hurt mi fi dem :(

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    • Okay… not only in Barbados, doesn’t make me feel any better that black men suffer this way outside my country though :(

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      • There should be no injustice done. If men are afraid of women with long hair it’s only because they have a problem with themselves. Do not be afraid of your women, praise them. Natural hair is what you want. Not the fake. Hang in there, you are loved for you.

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    • I live in France and I can relate on what you said!
      Guys, mostly africans, relaxed their hair. Westindian guyS dont do that, they love to put cornrowns, locks or leave their hair in ponytails.

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  2. I’m sure that black guys in the UK can be insecure about kinky hair and I think it depends on what area you work in on how it is accepted. If you work in a bank or business where you are representing your company then you have to have hair that is presentable. However my brother has locks and he used to work for a high end car firm as a salesman providing he looked presentable it was OK.
    On TV you see black guys wearing canerows alot and on the street guys will go out with a du-rag or a giant Afro all frizzed out. People may think it is weird but I’ve never heard anything negative about it. I think in the UK especially London we are so used to different cultures nothing really shocks us.
    At school children are taught to have styles that are presentable, no technicoloured dyed hair or outre hairstyles but this is for all cultures. There is a dress code they have to conform to but locks and canerows on boys are acceptable providing they are tidy. A big Afro probably not due to fire hazards or health depending on the class they would have to tie it back and the same would go for long European hair.
    I think being insecure about an aspect of yourself is to do with you as most people don’t notice the things you think they do. When I first wore my hair out at work nobody even blinked an eye, it was only me that thought it was big deal.

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  3. Good day ladies and gents.Too Answer the above question about why men don’t let their hair , i will start with this. In,many cultures hair represents feminality, men generally keep their hair short to avoid confusion with women. Secondly men,were generally seen as warriors so to have long hair would present an obsticle during war, a disadvantage. You could be restrained by it. Finally as a black man for most its been ingrained in yes since we were children to go to the Barbershop and get a hair cut. Most mothers were single moms and did not have time to try and style a boys head so cut it low so it would last long. These are just my views on it. I hope they help.

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    • You are so right! This article got me wondering until I saw your comment. What of Africa where there isn’t much on the issue of long hair/short hair? Men in Africa (I’m African), or most part of it, cut their hair it is not about acceptance. It is a sign of masculinity. Ladies are supposed to worry about hair and beauty, the men have no time for such.
      African-American men should no that their cutting their hair may not be as a result of their past, but the culture where they were originally from (Africa).
      Men wearing long hair or worrying about them is kinda feminine in the African culture. And men from other ethnicities cut their hair too. BTW to me, people of African descent have the best hair. . . can’t trade it for another

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  4. I don’t think its just black men, I think its all men in general, but black men especially. Hair is beautiful, but since way back in the day, like most things when it comes to beauty, long hair has been associated with femininity. The hair was cut to separate the men from the women, to make men look more presentable, for a lot of rather stupid reasons. But why? Why should men not embrace their beauty? If hair was only meant for women, then only women would have hair and all the men in the world would be bald or wouldn’t be able to grow their hair past a certain length.

    Personally, I’ve always found longer hair on men to be freaking sexy, but I never once gave a thought towards black men because I just wasn’t attracted to them. Not saying that hair is the only deciding factor in what attracts me, but it is a very big part of it, and all the black men I ever saw or encountered had little to no hair, and that really lowered them on the attraction meter for me. And yeah, some of them had long hair, but it was always dreaded up or corn rowed flat to their scalp, and that wasn’t what I liked. I never saw a black man with just loose, free, natural hair. Only when I started on my natural hair journey did I start seeing pictures of this.

    Long story short, I think long hair on black men is sexy as hell, and wish that more of them would grow their hair out and embrace the beauty of it. And not dread it up or cornrow it all the time, but just let it be free in a frizzy or curly fro, however it grows. Its sooooo attractive and it isn’t fair that they have to conform to what society deems “appropriate,” because most of that has been taught to us from the standard that white people set, and we are not white. We are black. Our beauty is our own and we should accept it for what it is. The problem is that so many people are afraid. They’ve been made afraid of themselves. but I’m sure once they accept the fact that they can grow their hair out and be just as beautiful or attractive as a white guy with long hair, they will find that the loudest voices are those rooting for their natural beauty, not the ones rooting for them to amputate it!

    And for the record, though I know no one will care, the darker races have always been in possession of the greater beauty in my opinion. Brown skin, thick dark curly hair, and a full figure; who can resist that? The only way I see it is by convincing us that we are not beautiful is just another way to keep us all down.

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  5. I’ve wondered quite a few times myself. After seeing actors like Matthew McConaughey, Ashton Kutcher, many white rock singers and others over the years I wondered why black men cut their hair so low! More White men are secure with having hair near their shoulders or at least grown out to right below their ears. They’re not considered too feminine for having hair that is more than 3 inches long! Intriguing when you think of other races’ and cultures’ ideals in gender roles. Samoan men pride in their hair. Like Kibwe mentioned, I’ve overheard many guys in high school speak of their aspirations to maintain great waves. They want to change their hair texture! Most Black men’s hair is close cropped. Always made me wonder, why have mostly and pretty much only black women been bashed for the shame of our hair? Interesting this was brought up.

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    • Some things you have to understand:
      .White people’s culture is not same to yours.
      .whether white, black, green, or blue, a man with too much hair is more of a feminine attribute in many cultures, whether or not Ashton Kutcher and the rest are criticized for it does not change the fact.
      .Having long hair in men is not a sign of security, how can you even see that as a sign of security or insecurity? It’s simply a choice. How about saying the men with longer hair are insecure and does not want to show their skulls because it doesn’t have a good shape as a black man’s?
      . Why is everything relating to black, seen as a shame, sign of insecurity, or bad?
      . Black hair texture and thickness is the best thing that happened to the existence of hair. But a lot of people do no see it because they are being blinded by others flaunting their own. If you flaunt yours, it becomes the trend. You become what you make of yourself

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      • There’s a tribe whose faces I could never forget. I was watching a feature on NatGeo years ago and I could never forget the Wodaabe after all of these years. Although I forgot their name, i never forgot their ritual and that the men grew long hair. That held my admiration because these men’s texture was similar to mine’s and it looked great on them. There’s also the Masai tribe. Their men grow long hair too. And I’m sure there’s many other African tribes whose men grow long hair too. I remember years ago a lot of black men wore braids. Their hair was as long as mine’s, some longer. It was a trend maybe 5-6 years ago for a lot of American black men to cut off the long hair they had for YEARS and rock a caesar, low cut. They didn’t come across as feminine to me when they wore their braids. There were just about as much American black men wearing low cuts as there were the ones who got cornrows. I never assumed they cut their hair because suddenly they felt it was too “feminine”, just following a trend and maybe just wanted something new. Maybe the upkeep was too demanding. Having to get someone else to do it, it didnt look fresh all of the time.
        A lot of the men who grow long hair, if in a tribe obviously must see their hair as a security. It’s what represents them. As a black woman, if I see a black man with a large afro I’m not going to think “oh, he’s too feminine”. I appreciate our hair texture, no matter who’s wearing it. And I never said black is bad. There’s nothing wrong with wondering why people hide something so beautiful. Society tells you to keep your hair low. Forget society. It’s not in style now but Im sure more black men in America will start growing their hair again. We can’t all be forced to hide what makes us unique to every other race. We want to hide it because they look down upon us, tell us it’s unprofessional or whatever but it’s what naturally grows from our scalps. Forget society.

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  6. Long hair and short hair does not define a man, nor does it make him more feminine or masculine. Hair is an extension of the body and brain, nothing else. If you’re too scared that your manhood would be jeopardized for growing long hair than perhaps you need to recheck your sexuality. As a young black man myself I have worn both short and long hair.

    I have grown the afro, had braids, short cuts, soup bowls, waves, shaved completely bald, and I currently have locks of hair a few inches past my shoulder. Speaking from my own manly point of view, growing long locks of hair has taught me “commitment” and developed my courage to stand against anyone who thinks ill-favorably of me.

    Last I read, God Himself commanded men (and women) to grow long hair whenever they made a special dedicated vow unto Him, called the “Nazarite Vow.” Numbers CH 6:1-7 King James Version lays out the foundation and instructions of men growing long hair.

    If it so feminine for men to grow long hair then why would God Himself command it? According to God men who take the Nazarite vow and let the locks of their hair grow hold the “consecration of God” on their head.

    Society looks down upon us black men with long hair because society itself is scared, ugly, and void. They WISH they could grow such beautiful hair… hair that resembles the Tree of Life. They wish their hair was woolly and “nappy” like Jesus’ was when He was here on Earth. What?? You think Jesus went to the Barbershop during the years He preached and healed people? “Oh wait a second people… I need to trim my long beard before I heal the sick… Wait one moment blind man… Peter I need you to cut my hair and give me a Caesar fade before we can restore this man’s sight…

    Because thou hast believed, thy faith has made thee… whoops… I forgot to perm and weave my Hebrew, Egyptian, Judah hair… guess I can’t do anymore miracles until I’m subliminally enslaved to society’s standard of beauty and hair length.”

    We men need to wake up and stop shaving our beards. Forget the hair on your head and grow out your beard, uncut and unshaven. Shaving and disfiguring your natural growing beard is far more feminine then growing long hair on your head. Pity to my fellow black men who have never gone more than a month without clipping, trimming, styling, and shaving their beards… The beard is the abode of manhood.

    And if you’re wondering, no, I’m not a muslim. No I’m not a Rastafarian. And no I’m not some whacked out white dude pretending to be black. I’m just a simple Old Testament and New Testament follower of the Bible.

    Grow your hair my people… grow your beards my people. Stop being ashamed of your God crafted beauty. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your perception of masculinity and femininity should not be based on the length, style, or texture of your hair… It should be based on your inner self.

    Don’t let society, family, friends, strangers, or your job tell you HOW to be you. YOU know you… and no one can change that. Don’t let the fear of persecution and rejection hold you back from being you.

    My advice to everyone… Psalms 24:10 KJV… “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”

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