natural-hair-growth

If you began your nat­u­ral hair jour­ney in the age of Youtube and social media, chances are you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn. And sis­ters believe me when I say that Hair Porn can be a big prob­lem in the nat­u­ral hair com­mu­ni­ty.

What is Hair Porn, you ask? Hair Porn, is the com­pi­la­tion of images, videos, etc. that results in the arousal of hair lust, jeal­ousy or sim­ply yearn­ing for Some­one Else’s hair.

Who is Some­one Else? Some­one Else is that wom­an who has a type of hair that you will nev­er have. Usually—but not always—Someone Else has a looser curl pat­tern than your own.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn? Here’s a quick check list.

  1. 1. You begin search­ing for the pro­duct, spe­cial mag­i­cal blend or secret herbs and spices that will make your hair do what Some­one Else’s hair did. Even though you and Some­one Else have com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent hair tex­tures.
  2. 2. You walk away feel­ing as if your own hair is some­how less than. Less beau­ti­ful, less awe­some, less accept­able when com­pared to Some­one Else’s Hair.
  3. 3. You decide to use a so-called “pro­tec­tive style” and imme­di­ate­ly slap on a weave or a wig that mim­ics the hair you saw in Some­one Else’s picture/video/website.
  4. 4. You begin mak­ing a men­tal com­par­ison between your own hair and all of the oth­er nat­u­rals you see walk­ing down the street—and your hair keeps com­ing up the loser.
  5. 5. Your frus­tra­tion with your own hair begins to increase. Not because there’s any­thing wrongwith your hair but because you can’t seem to under­stand why your hair won’t do what Some­one Else’s hair can do.


Here’s the thing. When we wore our hair straight there were cer­tain goals and ide­als that many of us shared.  For exam­ple, no one who per­med their hair want­ed it to look kinky/coily/nappy.  That would have defeat­ed the whole pur­pose of get­ting a perm in the first place. We want­ed it straight—as in bone straight. Pen­cil straight. Stiff piece of wood straight. The straighter the bet­ter.

You get the pic­ture.

But once we made the deci­sion to go nat­u­ral, the idea was gen­er­al­ly that we were reject­ing straight hair as the norm and instead embrac­ing our hair in its nat­u­ral state. But as I’ve said before, many of us made that deci­sion with cer­tain built in caveats.

That caveat says that the goal for nap­pi­ness is to have a Cau­ca­soid ver­sion nap­pi­ness. Nap­pi­ness that isn’t too kinky. Nap­pi­ness that combs “eas­i­ly.” Nap­pi­ness that is not per­med, but is still a soft, curly, mov­ing, flow­ing head of not-so-nap­py hair.

My sis­ters, our hair is sim­ply not a dark­er, nap­pier, kinkier ver­sion of our White sis­ters’ hair.

But if you get sucked into the world of Hair Porn this can be easy to for­get. Some­times Hair Porn can trig­ger cer­tain desires or yearn­ings that lead to unhealthy behav­iors. Just like the oth­er types of porn, you can begin slid­ing down a slip­pery slope that ends in full out hair adul­tery. Soon you may begin regret­ting your deci­sion to go nat­u­ral and start con­tem­plat­ing the glo­ry days of your straight hair past.

Now before you think I’m crit­i­ciz­ing our nat­u­ral hair sis­ters who decide to return to a straight hair life, I’m not. I’m all for lov­ing your­self no mat­ter what your hair looks like. But if you end your nat­u­ral jour­ney pri­mar­i­ly because you were lust­ing after Some­one Else’s hair then that is a prob­lem.

Going nat­u­ral (suc­cess­ful­ly) is a process that requires you to embrace the hair that God gave you. It means that you stop desir­ing what you don’t have and learn to appre­ci­ate and enjoy what you do have—whether it is bone straight or nap­py as a ball of twine. It means you reject the idea that says there is only one type of beau­ty. It means you stop com­par­ing your­self to the Hair Porn stars in your life.  It means you come to a place of peace with who you are and what you look like. All of you. It means you rede­fine what it means to be beau­ti­ful and you use your­self as the base­line def­i­n­i­tion.

Now if you’re already knee deep in a Hair Porn addic­tion, here are some tips to get out before it’s too late.

  1. 1. Walk away from the Hair Porn source! Just like an alco­holic or drug addict has to avoid the bar or walk­ing to his dealer’s house, you have to stop log­ging on for the sole pur­pose of watch­ing Some­one Else’s hair videos.  If you and Some­one Else have polar oppo­site hair types, start iden­ti­fy­ing and view­ing hair videos or blog sites of wom­en who have hair like yours.
  2. 2. Take time each day to look in the mir­ror and iden­ti­fy three things that are awe­some about your own hair. Tell your hair (and your­self) how much you appre­ci­ate it (and you!). This is sort of like build­ing up the self-esteem of a per­son who has been neglect­ed much of her life. Some­times you just need to hear pos­i­tive words spo­ken into your hair life in order to start believ­ing that it tru­ly is beau­ti­ful—just the way it is!
  3. 3. Stop com­par­ing your hair to Some­one Else’s. This pret­ty much speaks for itself but it bears men­tion­ing.
  4. 4. Iden­ti­fy and con­nect with like heads. If you have type 4C hair (and yes, I’m speak­ing to myself here), then seek out and make con­nec­tions online with oth­ers who have a sim­i­lar type of hair. I’m not say­ing we need to seg­re­gate our­selves by hair type. But I am say­ing that you need to cre­ate a sup­port group of wom­en who can relate to your hair strug­gle. It can be hard to feel sup­port­ed if your only hair con­nec­tions are with wom­en who can wash-n-go on a dai­ly basis while you can only wash-n-no or wash-n-Afro.


At the end of the day, indulging in a Hair Porn addic­tion can be detri­men­tal to your self-esteem and can neg­a­tive­ly impact your nat­u­ral hair jour­ney. Learn to spot the dan­ger signs before you get in too deep. And remember—God had an entire uni­verse of hair tex­tures to choose from when design­ing your curl pat­tern. The one you end­ed up with is the per­fect curl pat­tern for you!

For more of Lurie’s writ­ing, check out her book “Afro State of Mind: Mem­o­ries of a Nap­py Head­ed Black Girl. You can also find her on Twit­ter,Face­book and YouTube.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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72 Comments on "Hair Porn: Naturals Beware!"

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Tabatha

LOL, Hair Porn! Well when I do look at youtube I look for videos with my hair tex­ture, so I don’t have unre­al­is­tic goals, but it also shows me dif­fer­ent styles that I can wear my hair in since I’m just at the end of my Tran­si­tion­ing jour­ney. I just want a suc­cess­ful twist or braid out.

Angela

Great arti­cle!

Angela
I also think one of the things is that when you look at hair sites or even blogs, peo­ple are done up, wear­ing make up and have spe­cial light­ing. Just like look­ing at fash­ion mag­a­zi­nes, it can be a chal­lenge to remem­ber that when we look in the mir­ror, we do not have the spe­cial light­ing or pro­fes­sion­al make up artists to make us look like that. lol! It would be fun­ny if we walked around a light­ing per­son with one of those foil things, reflect­ing the light on our nat­u­ral hair awe­some­ly in every var­ied set­ting. It is fun… Read more »
Kiara

This is how I was when I first went nat­u­ral. I found some great 4C peo­ple on youth though:

Eye­sOn­MyPrize
West­African­Baby

Just to name a few.

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