i·dol – 1. a. An image used as an object of worship; b. A false god. 2. One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
I have a problem with the term ‘hair idol’ — I just don’t like it. I don’ t like the idea of idolizing anything because, to me, it’s seems like — as the definition says — I’d be adoring something blindly. That being said, for the two-plus years I’ve been perusing natural hair sites, I’ve seen plenty about hair idols. People are constantly drooling over delicious curls.
Curls, yes. Kinks, not so much.
Here’s my issue — and I think I’ve mentioned this before — many blogs highlight women like Tracee Ellis Ross and Corinne Bailey Rae as hair idols. Granted, both of them have gorgeous hair and there’s nothing wrong with admiring their hair, but this is what I just read on a blog:
Some of the ladies’ hair I know I will never have due to the difference in texture, but hey, can’t a girl dream? But there are a few heads of curls that I would run over a pinky toe for. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hair, but we all have an ultimate goal, length or fullness that we are striving for.
Trust, I’m not slamming this particular blogger. I believe she does love her hair just how it is, but there seems to be a prevailing, underlying love in the natural hair community for curly hair. A thought that curly hair is the ultimate natural hair to have and that is wholly unrealistic. How can I look at Tracee Ellis Ross as a hair idol? I might as well be looking at Beyoncé’s or Gabrielle Union’s weave.
Like I said, there is nothing wrong with admiring the curls of Corinne Bailey Rae, but I can’t aspire to her hair. I can’t idolize hair that is nothing like mine. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
I know that not every natural has kinky hair. I write from my perspective and I do have kinky hair — not curls. I know not everyone who has natural hair sees it as more than just a hairstyle, but so much has been made of natural hair being part of self-acceptance, self-love and going against society’s notions of beauty. My question is: how are we loving ourselves if we have unrealistic hair idols? How are we truly accepting ourselves — kinks and all — if we are ready to trade in our kinky hair for shiny curls? And, the crux of the issue for me is, really, isn’t holding up curly hair as the ultimate hair just bad as when we saw bone straight hair as the ultimate?