Facing the real me- looking in the mirror with natural hair

پکیج: TED Education / سرفصل: سخنرانی های دانش آموزان / درس 20

TED Education

13 سرفصل | 232 درس

Facing the real me- looking in the mirror with natural hair

توضیح مختصر

Growing up, 18-year-old India Hawkins was taught how to maintain her hair, but not how to love her hair. A tangled history of political oppression, irresponsible advertising and unattainable beauty standards meant she spent her childhood using chemicals, heat, and protective styling to "manage" the hair that grew naturally from her head. Until one day India decided to "go natural." But she was in for a shock; India never knew how much she was hiding behind her hair, until the day she cut it all off. In her Talk, India describes the emotional sometimes difficult journey that led her to love her hair This Talk was given at TED-Ed Weekend in New York City. The TED-Ed Clubs program supports students in discovering, exploring and presenting their big ideas in the form of short, TED-style talks. In TED-Ed Clubs, students work together to discuss and celebrate creative ideas. Club Leaders receive TED-Ed's flexible curriculum to guide their Members in developing presentation literacy skills to help inspire tomorrow's TED speakers and future leaders. To learn more about TED-Ed Clubs or to start your own club, go to http-//ed.ted.com/clubs.

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متن انگلیسی درس

Were you the young child that never wanted to get your hair done? You never wanted to put a comb or a brush through it? You were more than happy with your hair being wild, free, in its natural state? Well this was me. I hated, I mean hated getting my hair done. And every other Saturday, I would have to go get my hair done. Some days I would get twists, some days I would get braids, but for the most part, I got my hair straightened. The results were always beautiful, but the process was quite traumatic. Because my hair was so thick, I would go through hours of boredom and even sometimes pain. At first, it was my mother dragging me to these gruesome appointments, but over time, I started to crave these hairstyles for myself and it became a part of my routine. Why did I go through this over and over again? It’s just hair, right? Well, how many of you guys have gone to a hairstylist and they cut off way too much of your hair? Or how many of you guys have been embarrassed just by a bad hair day? The truth is it isn’t just hair. We all put extra time and effort into our hair because it means something to us. And as a young African American woman, I’ve been taught the art of manipulation. Growing up, I have not only put a generous amount of money, but time and energy into changing my hair. I’ve had an abundance of the hairstyles, but my go to was the relaxer. For those of you who do not know, the relaxer is a chemical treatment that permanently straightens curly coily hair. Here are two pictures of me as a child. The one to the left, I was about five weeks old and the one to the right, I was about six or seven old. The picture of me as a baby is one of the only pictures I have of my natural hair. The rest of my childhood pictures are of me with relaxed hair. With relaxed hair, my hair was more manageable, more presentable. Natural hair doesn’t lay flat. It doesn’t even grow downward, but instead outward like a tree. And because of this, my hair was inappropriate, and I never questioned this fact, it was just something I knew to agree with. Now, I always knew how to maintain my hair in these hairstyles, but I was never taught how to love the hair that I was born with. And I believe that is the main problem. You have to love parts of yourself in order to love your whole self. Now, why aren’t young black girls taught to love their hair? Well, there was a time where all black women were natural. They didn’t have access to chemical treatments or tools to straighten it. There were kinks, curls, and coils all throughout their hair, until someone told them that it wasn’t beautiful. Not just someone, but multiple people. As much as we hate to bring it up, slavery created a Eurocentric standard of beauty. This means that only Eurocentric features were deemed beautiful, such as light skin, pointy noses, and last but not least, straight hair. Black women gave into this false pretense and decided to create some solutions. Although previous methods were used, the hot comb became one of the most popular methods to be used, which is kind of comparable to a modern flat iron. But then the holy grail was discovered, the relaxer. This product swept African American consumers off of their feet and it started flying off the shelves. Not only did women use this product, but men did, too. I mean, y’all, James Brown had a relaxer. This compliance to altering our own hair contributed to the underlying hatred of natural hair And now, African Americans were brainwashed to believe that their own hair was too nappy. It’s too wild. It isn’t thought to be long enough or even in some cases professional. It isn’t good hair because of its texture and thickness. Now, even today, I hear fellow black women saying, “Well, natural hair isn’t for everybody.” Well what is that supposed to mean? The hair that grows out of my scalp isn’t for me? The hair that I was born with isn’t for me? As silly as I might sound, the relaxer created this thought, and people thought that it made good hair attainable. It made the impossible possible. Even I got entangled into the magic of this product. With long, straight hair, I was beautiful and accepted. I was so focused on how I was being perceived. Black girls were known for having short nappy hair, but not me. I started to place the burden on myself of being the black girl with the long good hair. I loved being the person that defied that stereotype. And because of this, I wore my hair straight for the majority of my life. It wasn’t until high school that I thought maybe this way of thinking is flawed. I saw a revival in the natural hair community. Black women were starting to ditch the relaxers. All down my YouTube timeline was natural hair videos. Businesses began to release more products than ever catered to ethnic hair. So, I thought, “Why not switch it up? I’ll go natural.” I went natural strictly to experiment with my hair, but I never knew the self-loving journey that it would take me on. In order to go natural, you can do so in two ways: you can either big chop or transition. A big chop is when you cut off all the relaxed hair and start fresh. However, transition is when you let the hair grow out over time, gradually cutting it. And I somewhat chose both choices. For about a year, I transitioned. But as I was about a year in, the detangling became too hard for me. My roots were so curly and my ends were just stick straight. So I thought, I was like, “I’m going to cut off all of my hair.” And my cousin and I snuck out to a hair cuttery, defying my mother’s wishes, and as I was in the chair, I felt good. I felt empowered. I felt in control. Society wasn’t going to control me. I was going to lead by example. However, as soon as I stepped out of the chair, that amazing feeling soon faded away. I thought to myself, “How could I go from feeling so powerful, and then the next minute, feel so powerless?” I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I had to face the real me. I never knew how much I was hiding behind my hair until that day. I was never an insecure person, but I started to lack confidence. My proud title was taken away from me. Mother knows best, right? Because I felt that I had just made a huge mistake. All of my life, I had long, straight hair. Now I had short, curly hair. This was more than a haircut for me; this was a lifestyle change. I was no longer subscribing to societal demands, but I wasn’t prepared for the consequences of that, either. Some people liked my hair, some people didn’t. Some of my friends said how brave it was to do that, and how they just loved the look of it. They said it was so cute and it was so curly. On the other hand, I had comments that I looked way better with straight hair. They would say, “Why’d you cut your hair off? It was so beautiful.” Keyword: “was.” My hair was no longer deemed beautiful, and the negative comments stung because I was still trying to love my natural hair myself. All of the YouTubers I had watched fell in love with their natural hair instantly, so why didn’t I? But I thought to myself, “Why don’t people like natural hair? But more importantly, why don’t I?” And the answer is it’s because were taught not to. I had to train myself to think like and for myself, It didn’t matter what people thought. It was my hair. If they didn’t live the real me, then they didn’t like me at all. I started to love and accept my own hair for what it was. I love the untamed look of it. The way my hair defies gravity is something that I think is beautiful. Now, I think, “Why would I go back straight? Why would I ever do that to myself? Why would I fight who I am anymore? I’m not going to do it. And today, we live in a world full of constant manipulation in all areas, not just hair. We have such access to technology that makes it so easy for you to change yourself. If you don’t like your body, get plastic surgery. If you don’t like your crooked teeth, you can get braces. But hair is different. Yes, you can manipulate it, but you can cut if off and start all over at any point in time. And at one point, society is going to try to straighten your hair; It’s going to try to curl your hair, try to manipulate your hair. And it’s going to tell you not to love your hair, and ultimately, not to love yourself. Now, this is how I wear my hair 90% of the time. By no means, is it perfect, but it’s a part of me. Some days, it might be elongated. Some days it might be curled up in a little bush. And that is something that I am totally okay with. Time to time, I will still straighten my hair, change up my look because I do love the versatility that African Americans have created. There is nothing wrong with changing your look, but the key lies in managing that look. Wear a different look, but don’t let that look become you because you are good enough, naturally. Thank you.

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