"I'm not my hair, I'm not this skin...I am a soul that lives within." India Arie
“A woman's hair shows a lot about her character,” he said. I paused, befuddled, wondering how something as trivial as hairstyle could distinguish someone's values and moral qualities. I was scrolling through one of my favorite media mogul’s Facebook page enjoying her daily words of wisdom and inspiration. I came across a thread on vulnerability and showing your partner the “real you.” Most everyone who commented agreed that vulnerability engendered intimacy, but the conversation took an interesting turn towards hair, specifically black women’s hairstyle choices, when a poster chastised women who did not wear their hair in its natural state for having "poor character" and not showing their "real selves."
Unfortunately it isn’t the first time that I’ve come across this attitude or the simple arrogance that some people display when talking about how black women "should" wear their hair. While I value the natural hair movement for highlighting the diversity of beauty and for balking in the face of narrow and limiting beauty standards, hair isn't the blueprint of moral, mental and spiritual standing. Over the years, I’ve worn an array of hairstyles ranging from short to long, natural to relaxed and everywhere in between. My hair is a part of the way I choose to express myself, but it will never be able to fully encapsulate who I am. My growth and evolution as a woman emerged from my life experiences, choices, and God’s grace; not my hairstyles. Thus, you can tell nothing about the depths of my spirit by looking at the hair on my head.
While your hair can be a step toward expressing self-love and acceptance, it's far from the indicia of who you are inside. You simply cannot sum up a woman's character by how she wears her hair. If a whole is a sum of its parts, our spirits can and will never be the sum total of our hairstyle choices. We are so much more than that.