So, I'm working on this hair thing. I've tried twist outs, wash and gos, and last night I tried a Curlformers set. That last one didn't work out so well. It's frizzy and poking in every direction. I've never worn it this short, so it's hard to change my mind about what's pretty and feminine. I mean, for my whole life, long and soft and shiny and flowing and straight have gone hand in hand with what's beautiful. What I'm working with now is short and tight and coily. And while I talked a good game about Naomi Wolf's beauty myth and bell hooks' oppositional gaze, when I looked in the mirror, I just wanted wavy fairy tale hair. It is taking some serious mental and emotional shifts in my own concept of beauty. Some days I feel like a little boy. Others I feel like a sassy, hip chic from the 70s (which is clearly the decade where I belong!) It's also not just that I have to change the way I think about how I look. I also have had to reject many of the things I thought I knew about black hair. Grease, for instance. What little brown girl hasn't taken her seat on the floor between her mother's feet, having her scalp oiled? Or sat in the kitchen, holding her ear, trying hard to believe that "it's just the grease melting," that she wasn't actually being set on fire? Only now does it make sense that that hair is essentially being fried like a piece of catfish. But I'm glad that I'm taking this journey.
Even if my own hair days are up and down, it's forced me to learn enough to do a better job with The Babydoll's hair. I've gotten pretty good at braiding it, and it's much better moisturized than it used to be. And when we saw "Imagine That" last summer, she immediately wanted to wear twists like the beautiful girl in the film. So I YouTubed it and learned how. It was a transformative moment for a brown girl. When she looked in the mirror, she saw herself in a whole new way. But, clearly, we'll have to keep evolving.
Not long ago, she was harping about this style that she wanted. She said that when she saw it on TV again, she would show me. I'm thinking that it would be a picture of a girl who looks like her. But, oh on. It was freaking, fracking Barbie. And not just Barbie; it was Barbie with stick-straight, Beyonce's wind machine, platinum blond hair. The Barbie in the picture above.
Now, what am I supposed to do with that?