Let’s Be Fair, It’s In the Hair
February 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
Jill Nelson’s assertion in “Who’s the Fairest of Them All?” is something that has plagued women for decades. The idea that the lighter-skinned black woman is most desirable has become one that has transcended easy detection. Sometimes called the “Lily Complex”, this instance of moving away from one’s natural appearance to better suit the Eurocentric values of beauty has been seen throughout the various forms of media. Plays, such as “Color Struck” by Zora Neale Hurston, deal specifically with a darker-skinned woman and her insecurities around lighter-skinned women. But Colourism seems to focus on hair more often than not… And the question always is, why?
Personally, upon reading this article, I was struck with the accuracies of the basis of attraction within groups of people based upon hair. For African-Americans, as Nelson said, the trend is to push towards the Eurocentric value of beauty with long, straight hair. The difficulty that always presents is the damage that can be done to one’s hair while also demonizing those that choose to leave it more “natural.” But the issue of hair and style being an assertion of attractiveness does not end with the black culture. In the queer culture, for a lot of non-male-identifying persons, the issue of hair is a big deal. Hair for many needs to be short and styled in a come-hither kind of way. Long hair on non-male-identifying persons tends to give them too much of a “straight” look or will automatically put them in a more “femme/lipstick” category than those with short hair. Personally, I can’t say I deviate from this either. I adhere to “hair rules” and I typically judge the non-male-identifying persons according to said “hair rules.”
It appears that, regardless of who you are and what you’re judging, hair is important in this process.