This weekend, I heard some women who I volunteer with talk about their hair experiences at work and I was fascinated. One of them is a transitioning sister who wears her hair is a gorgeous fluffy ‘fro, another is wearing kinky twists, two more are relaxed and there’s me. The woman with the fluffy ‘fro said that at some work functions, people don’t even want to look her in the eye. Could it be her hair?
The woman with the kinky twists said that where she works people love when her hair is straightened, but as soon as she does something afrocentric – twists, curly ‘fro – suddenly people have nothing to say.
I didn’t say much because I was interested in hearing about their experiences.
I haven’t had that experience – or at least, I haven’t noticed. People comment on my hair regardless of style. If it’s straight, they may or may not compliment it. If it’s bushy (as it so is today), they may or may not compliment it. I’ll get stopped in the street or at Tim Hortons by someone wanting to know how I got my hair the way it is.
At work, I don’ t feel uncomfortable wearing my hair natural. I don’t feel ostracized or that people view me differently because of my hair. Maybe they do – I don’t know, but that’s not the vibe they are giving me.
Or maybe it’s just that I don’t care… I really don’t at this point.
I do what I have to do when I’m at work and that should speak louder than what my hair is up to. I would be highly disgusted if I were made to feel that my hair, as it grows out of my head, was not good enough or not professional enough. Why should I feel forced to relax my hair to make someone at work feel better? I feel fine about me and my hair.
Now, the day that I decide to change jobs, will my hair be a hindrance? I would hope not, but I have heard stories about women with locs hiding their hair under wigs to go on job interviews. Personally, I would not wanna work for a company that doesn’t respect me enough to look past my hair, but if you’ve been looking long enough and need a job, is hair respect really that important?
For me, it will come down to this: when you ask the straight-haired blond to get a curly perm, you can ask me to straighten my hair.
So, my lurkers, what do you say? I know you guys are out there – I’m getting emails!! Don’t email me, leave a comment on the blog and share your feelings about natural hair at work.