As a child growing up with wild and sometimes uncontrollable hair, I have always been presented with the terms “good hair”. As I have examined this question in class, I thought critically to myself what is “good hair”? In this film the comedic narrator,Chris Rock, discusses the touchy and complicated relationship between black women and their hair. He touches on topicsincluding sew-in hair extensions, chemical processing, the women behind the imported weaves and even the sobering facts about the multi-billion dollar black hair products industry. While this film doesn’t really enlightened me on what I don’t already know, it may begin to start the dialogue about our countries cling to a conforming norm of acceptability and beauty.
I have recently had two friends who have cut off a majority of their hair, into a short rebellious hair cut. They describe this rebellion as going “natural”. Both of my friends have discussed with me the amount of women who commend them on going all natural and back to the afro. During the film I experienced an “ah-ha” moment when one interviewee said “it amazes me that to keep our hair in the same state as it grows out of our head is looked at as revolutionary”. This quote examines the concept we discussed during week seven about “faking it”.To have hair that is not weaved, chemically treated, or straightened is a ground breaking concept that our society is not accepting of, but these hair styles make us more authentic.
This goes hand in hand with what we discussed as the word of the day: class. Back in the days of slavery when blacks were looked at as less than human, there was no pressing combs/flat irons and no relaxers. Pushing past the 1960-1970’s during the civil rights movement and black power and pride movements, where self-love waspromoted, and progressing in history where hair styles that emulated European culture became highly desirable. Eurocentric ideas of beauty became the basis for judging women based on their physical appearance. The film good hair addresses a number of issues pertaining to black hair, and the struggle between the acceptable ways to wear it. This brings me to a few questions for those in the class who have not previously had a discussion about “good hair”. What themes relevant to the idea of “faking it” do you see presented in the film? What ideas do you have about the concept that “keeping our hair in the same state as it grows out of our head is looked at as revolutionary”. What does the second highest export out of India is hair say about our societies idea of beauty? Do you believe our societies idea of beauty will evolve?