Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Looking Out for Our Girls by Eva

Looking Out for Our Girls
By: Eva

An article I read on The Coil Review. This has actually happen to me and I was just thinking, what am I going to do?

The unthinkable happened to one mother one summer evening while her daughter was visiting at grandma’s. After a whole day to herself of summer revelry, she walks up her mother in law’s steps and stops upon hearing her daughter’s scream of delight from the direction of the backyard. Going around the side, the mother walks toward the back and slowly sees a little girl similar to her daughter shaking her pin straight hair running every which way. With a hostile glare at grandma, the mother volcanically demands with a voice unheard before today, “What did you do?” Her mother-in-law glides to the side of her granddaughter, saying matter-of-factly, “We got her hair relaxed, and it’s about time. She couldn’t wear her nappy hair forever. You don’t have to pay me now, but the salon receipt is on the kitchen counter.” Resembling Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, her daughter squeals, “Now Mommy my hair is like yours.” Needless to say, the next words out of the mother’s mouth were not rated for Disney.

and this is my comment:

I have had this happen to me! My child's hair is relaxed and it was done so with out my permission. Now when I tell her father and HIS mother (who are the culprits) that I want her to be natural and start to grow out her perm, he saids to me "Should we wait until she's old enough to make that decision?" Our daughter is eight now and her hair was relaxed around the time she just turned 7. I said to him, "That should had been the thing to ASK when you and your mother decided to relax her hair, hmmph!"
But now, what do I do? Her father is now married to a white woman (which has nothing to do with her race, but more about her hair) and when our daughter is with him, she sees his wife with her straight hair and their children (her siblings) with a looser texture of hair. How do I compete? Or rather how do I teach her about her own natural hair? My hair is in the teenage stage of the locking process. So now I have all my kinks,coils, and fuzzies in all it's glory.

What to do?~~ Kiki

***I need to make a correction here, my locs are still babies. I WISH they were in the teenage stage ~~Where did I get that from?~~***


Bajan Lily said...

I've kept thinking about this post because I can totally identify with your situation - I think I may have to post it on my own blog and invite my followers to respond because I keep coming up empty.
My daughter's hair is relaxed, she is 11 yrs old and had it done shortly after her birthday. I've received a lot of flack for it... looking back my preference was for her to grow locks (SLs or traditionals) but she was about to go on to Secondary School where children of her background would be part of the minority and we weren't sure how they'd react in the end we didn't wanna give 'other kids' any 'other' reason to potentially pick on her. We asked her whether she'd like to relax, lock or leave it and she chose the relaxer. (Of course I explained how much hair care she'd need in order not to suffer from burns, breakage etc). My hope is that when she reaches 16 (or uni age) she will cut it all off and grow locks - but I didn't want to pressure her into locking simply because I had done it.

I want her to have full information so she can make the right decision for herself when the time comes. (I think she was a bit 'scared' of locks as mine were falling off inexplicably at the time - of course we now know what that was...)

I'd love to tell you to let your daughter grow that perm out and get some locks! But I also know the unconscious assault your little one's mind is under having siblings of mixed heritage and 'looser curls' etc. I think it might be better to work on reaffirming her self esteem and confidence regarding her identity and her hair, continue to grow your own locks so she has a yardstick to measure 'locks' by and then when she's a bit older you can say - "wouldn't you rather have hair like mummy's?" and emphasise that she won't have to go to the hair salon etc anymore!

What do you think?

Kicukalah said...

See here's the thing, I didn't want her growing up thinking that she had to have straight hair to be beautiful. I wasn't necessarily interested in locking her hair, but I did and still do want to teach how to do her own natural hair. I didn't want her to be like me, not knowing what my natural hair looked like until now in my late 20's. I was 6 when I got my first relaxer.
To make things worse, now my daughter has this look of distaste (sometimes) when she looks at my hair. She has said to me before, that she liked my hair previously when it was down my back. I told her that my hair would grow back and maybe even longer than she remember. She saids to me "yeah, but will it be long, STRAIGHT, and PRETTY? ~~my heartaches.~~
She's only 8. Who told her, or where did she get it from that STRAIGHT hair is the ONLY hair that's pretty?
So now I'm showing her pictures of coily textured hair. I'm letting her see and touch my hair. I'm explaining to her that the new growth that she sees close to her scalp is her natural hair and if she let it grow, she'll see just how beautiful it really is.
I understand what you are saying as well. I have to be the example for her. Show her that black hair is beautiful even when it's not straight.
Please do post to your blog. I would love to read the responses.

msfullroller said...

Keep rockin your locs and lovin yourself. That will become apparent to her as she grows older and she may began to see the fallacy of the "straight hair is beautiful mantra".

I don't have kids but I do have a stepdaughter though she does not live with us. Her mother permed her hair at an early age...she's 14 now. She and her Dad have seen me go from a TWA to where I am now in just under 2.5 years, meanwhile her hair is still above the ear. He's been trying to get her to go natural and stop using extensions for about 5 months. She wants to stop using the perm but won't let go of the extensions yet. Now I said nothing to him or her about going natural/locing prior to...just leading by example hopefully.

12-13 I think is a good age to let them make that decision as to what to do with their hair but not without ALL the information and they take some responsibility in the maintenance of their hair. Below that age is too young IMHO for anything other than loose natural.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I found your blog via a link from Bajan Lily's blog. I totally agree with her advice....I would just wait until the child was a little older to make the decision herself after hearing the pros and cons of each situation....alot of it comes from peer pressure however, with locks becoming so prevalent in the caribbean I believe there will come a time where, from young these little girls will want to have this done and there will be no stigma attached.....what the grandmother did in Eva's article was totally wrong and very disrespectful.

Kicukalah said...

I'm reading and appreciating the responses. I guess it's something I have to deal with or overcome with in myself rather. Again, I didn't want to lock my daughter's hair. I wanted her to remain natural until she came of age 16 or even 14 for her to tell me she wants her hair relaxed, but she wasn't given that option and neither was I. Now that I'm expressing to her father that I want for her to grow out the relaxer he now saids shouldn't we wait until she's older.
To me, this was backwards and totally unfair. My daughter one day come home to me with relaxed hair.
But I'll remain strong and be the example. I'll be the change I want to see.

Bajan Lily said...

Hi Lakeisha,

I went away and thought about it again. I think that if YOU feel that strongly about it you should go ahead and grow out your daughter's perm.

You are well within your rights to 'reverse a wrong'. She may eventually choose to relax her hair when she is 16 or 17 as you say, but at least then it will be her choice - her informed choice.
I don't know that you'll be very popular with her for a while if you do decide to grow it out but I'm sense from you that the idea of those chemicals sitting on your baby's hair/scalp isn't something that makes you happy. Her father and his family will have to respect your decision (something they should have done in the first place).

Be strong and do let us know what you decide and how it goes.

Kicukalah said...

@Bajan Lily- Thanks for the encouragement. What I have decided to do is continue to talk to my daughter and teach her best I can. Yes I decided to grow out her perm, but not without the " mean face" of her father. We have agreed that I am the only one to do her hair. Hopefully he respects our decision and keep his end of the agreement.
When it's time for her to go back to her father's, I make sure my daughter's hair is shampooed and in cornrows, braids, twists, curls etc. so that he doesn't think he has to get someone to do it. Also, it's to teach my daughter that she is beautiful and so is her hair.

Bajan Lily said...

Fabulous! I'm so glad this is working out for you guys :)