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Stop telling black women what to do with their hair or skin!

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A woman’s body seems to be the one thing everyone wants to control. Country, religion or even gender is not a barrier, everyone wants to tell a woman what to do with her body and that include her fellow women.  No surprise there, even ‘gods’ seems obsessed with women, but really what is this growing trend amongst women who should know better, telling other women what to do with their hair and/or skin? Why are many black women focused on controlling other sisters’ bodies, hairs and skins? What is all this talk about black African women accusing other black sisters of not being African enough because of their choice of hair style or body cream?

Since the craze for Brazilian weaves, Chinese weaves and even human hair amongst black African women, with a large demand from Nigerian women, many African men and some women have come out to condemn this as a sign of inferiority complex. It is becoming mundane to come across yet another post from fellow women and some self-styled ‘Real Africans’, questioning the choice of black women who use chemicals on their hair or skin.

Recently, there was a furore when a respected, award winning female novelist of Nigerian origin was ‘mis’ quoted as saying:

 African women wearing artificial hair attachments have low self esteem and inferiority complex.

I am glad that she didn’t use the words attributed to her but even the words she used are not totally free from the “If you do not do it this way, you have some underlying issues and therefore not a real African woman” tone.  To quote her:

For many black women, the idea of wearing their hair naturally is unbearable.

Sentiments like these are unfortunately gaining grounds amongst black women. It is no longer surprising to read such comments from female friends on Facebook newsfeeds and even amongst a few male atheists, some of whom confuse non belief in God with a condemnation of colonialism, rejection of its Abrahamic God and so called ‘western values’.

Of course some of us find the idea of wearing our hair the natural way ‘unbearable’. No, this has nothing to do with inferiority complex or self esteem, it is jSnapshot_20101225_8ust that for some African women, leaving our hair the natural way causes headache. If only I had a penny for the number of times women have said that when they start having headaches, they know it is time to bring out the relaxer and retouch the natural hair undergrowth underneath their weaves!

Also, some of us do not have fond memories of plaiting our hair. As a young school girl, I used to dread going to the local hairdresser, which btw is not a fancy hair salon, but just a woman down the street with a stool, and a queue of young school girls waiting to braid their hair in the style chosen for the week by their school prefects. Flashbacks of being squeezed between the laps of the hair stylist and my head forced under the sometimes smelly thighs of the ‘onidiri’ do not invoke good memories. I also remember tears falling down my face because plaiting natural hair could be painful. As soon as I had a choice, I decided to do away with plaiting my hair and immediately settled for ‘punky’ low cuts to see me through high school.

Yes, some of us find plaiting our natural hair “unbearable”, not because we hate it or its ‘Africaness’, but because the hard texture often makes plaiting our hair physically unbearable. Of course, strengthening it with chemicals makes it less painful to plait.  Even now, I wouldn’t dream of braiding my hair without first applying relaxer to the undergrowth, to not do that would be pure torture! Men who really don’t know a shit about women’s hair should shut the fuck up!

Women who are advocates of natural hair should stress the importance of choice. Natural hair might be your pet project, do not present it as anything more than that, it is a matter of individual choice. You would be bigoted to present it as a right or wrong thing; opinions are a dime a many, stop forcing your opinions down the throat of others.

I must confess that I am not a fan of weaves.  All that weaving and plaiting gives me headache. Also, I like to run my fingers through my hair and be able to feel my scalp; this wouldn’t be possible if I had weave on, as the tight cornrows, plaits and added weave covers the scalps. I am a ‘braid’ person, I find that long braids satisfies me in more ways than one. OK, I have a fetish for sensuous long dreadlocks in men and women!

However, I find it hypocritical that some black women condemn other black women for wearing weaves. You claim any African woman who wears weaves is suffering from low self esteem and not a real African, yet you make this claim while batting your false eye lashes, clawing with your fake nails, standing menacingly in your high heels, your pouting lips covered in red lipstick and your heaving boobs heavily supported by a Victoria secret’s padded bra. In what universe are these accessories African?

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The hypocrisy surrounding the condemnation of skin lightening

While some black women vociferously defend the use of weaves, they however have no qualms about condemning black women who tones, lightens or bleach their skin. They gleefully accuse such women of suffering from inferiority complex. They claim that black women who use lightening creams hate being African. Basically, they throw the same words used against the use of weaves to condemn the use of skin lightening creams. Even though they reject and speak against using such condemnations to refer to women who use weaves, they have no qualms about throwing same words at black women who use lightening creams. Sounds like double standards to me.  Those claims are in most cases absurd and definitely constitute a fallacy of generalization.  What about white people who tan their skin or use tanning lotions to have a darker skin tone?  Are they suffering from inferiority complex from nonexistent black colonialists?

Very high percentage of African women uses lightening creams. The use varies from mild toning to heavy ‘bleaching’ which I’d rather refer to as ‘skin  lightening’ due to the derogatory and offensive meaning the word ‘bleaching’ has acquired within the black community. We must understand that people have a right over their body; they have the autonomy to choose how they want to treat their body. We might not like their choice, but it is their body. Yes, using lightening creams have side effects; it isn’t the healthiest choice out there. But then, so do smoking, drinking alcohol, constant consumption of fatty foods, fizzy drinks, wearing high heels and having consensual unprotected sexual intercourse. When adults make choices that do not harm others, we really should learn to keep our opinion to ourselves unless asked.

Many who condemn women who use lightening creams have little or no regard for the women’s health; they are just interested in forcing their unsolicited and unprofessional opinion down the throat of others.  They are more concerned about expressing their half baked, psychoanalysis of the reasons they think the stranger they do not know is using skin lightening creams or wearing weaves.

There are cases where black men use skin lightening creams and those men do not have it easier. Recently, a colleague mentioned how he threatened to throw out a male friend who suddenly started lightening his skin. He speculated that the friend must have started using lightening cream because he was new in UK, had a white male lover whose family was not accepting of him and therefore must have felt he needed to lighten his skin so he can be accepted by his white lover’s family. I wondered if he actually asked the friend why he chose to use lightening skin before coming to his personal conclusions. Even if the friend made his choice to lighten his skin for whatever reason(s), why threaten to throw him out for a choice he made? As a fellow lgbt rights advocate, I had to remind him about the right to choose and about the tolerance and acceptance we preach. Imposing your views on another especially when their choice does not harm anyone is indeed another form of oppression.  It is sad that people who know what it is like to be oppressed do not check their own privilege meter when they oppress others.

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Who is a Real African?

This obsession with who is a real African woman seems to know no bounds.  Where exactly do we draw the line? Who defines who is a real African? At what point do we draw the boundary? When do we admit that adult human beings have a choice to do whatever they like with their body whether or not we agree with their choice?

African men who claim African women should not wear weaves-on should ask themselves why they wear three piece suits and don ties in tropical weathers especially in hot climes like Nigeria. You sweat like a Christmas goat under your suits, yet you had the audacity to say an African woman who wears weaves or lightens her skin suffers from colonial induced inferiority complex.

When next you want to condemn a woman for wearing weaves or lightening her skin, think of how you smoke your cigarettes nonstop even though you’ve been shown the damage smoking does to your lung. Ask yourself how you would feel if someone accused you of smoking because you have inferiority complex and only wants to be like the Europeans who brought cigarettes to your colonized land. Does smoking cigarettes mean you suffer from inferiority complex?  Does it mean you are not a real African man? After all, your forefathers didn’t smoke cigarettes; they snuffed ‘tabba’, why not go back to snuffing ‘tabba’, just to show you are a real African man.

You drink beer and boast about your champagne collections, but you steer clear of your forefathers palm wine and ‘burukutu.’ You stand in judgement with your glass of foreign wine in hand, accusing women who wear weaves or lighten their skin, of wanting to be like Europeans, is your beer, wine or champagne an African thing? You should know that your alcohol is not just only dangerous to your health but also likely to harm others when you are in an alcohol induced state, this is far worse than any harm weaves or skin lightening could cause. Whatever makes you think you can stand in judgment of the non harmful choice of others?

You worship foreign Gods and have pictures of a blue eyed, blonde white man hanging on your wall and a cross nestling on your neck while you firmly clutch the image of a pale ‘Holy Mary’ as if your very life depends on it, yet you accuse black women who wear weaves and use lightening creams of not behaving like real Africans and of wanting to be like Europeans. Why don’t you first remove the log in your eyes before you attempt to remove the speck in the other person’s eyes?

There are white women who wear their hairs in braids and cornrows; do they also suffer from low self-esteem and inferiority complex? Many women regardless of skin colour, wear hair attachments. Even to make the many African braids styles, you need hair attachments. Some African women also wear very short weaves; it is not about wanting long, flowing Brazilian or Chinese hair. It is about convenience and what suits one at a particular time or for all time.

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I once dated a much older gentleman who was an ardent pan-Africanist, he wanted me to change my hairstyle to ‘Shuku’, a popular hairstyle amongst Nigerian women and Yoruba goddesses. I made it clear that unless I was contesting for Miss Osun state or the ‘Arogba’ of Osun river (which wouldn’t happen even if there was a hell that could freeze over), I wouldn’t plait my hair in shuku! Looking at his pleading eyes, I realized it was his way of projecting his sexual fantasy on me. He was just another male who wanted to use a woman to fulfill his sexual fantasy. As a pan Africanist, his sexual fantasy most probably does not evolve around Barbie dolls but around a curvy, African woman who looks and dresses like an African female deity, in this case, a river goddess!

But the thing is, it does not matter whether the man or woman directly or indirectly coercing me to conform to their peculiar sexual fantasy is African, European, or Asian, coercion is coercion, regardless of the gender or colour of the perpetrator. Nobody should be made to live as an object to fulfill the sexual desires or sense of righteousness of others.

Black woman hair is unfortunately seen most often as a political statement. Anyone, be it black or white, can make a statement with their hair. Some lgbt advocates dye their hair the rainbow colour to make a political statement, “we are lgbt and proud”. But sometimes, it is just about having fun. I used to think dreadlocks was about making a political statement, a symbol against oppression because I was influenced by great stars who had luscious dreadlocks like the legendary Bob Marley and super talented, beautiful musician,  Tracy Chapman. When I started braiding my hair in dreadlocks style, I’d say every strand of my hair stands for struggle against oppression. But then, I broadened my horizon, and met people with dreadlocks that never cared for political ideology.  Dreadlocks to them, was not a political thing but something they were born with or just the latest craze in town. Not every hairstyle of a black person is a political statement. We have the right to have fun with our hair without any political or spiritual undertone!

Do not berate other women for their lifestyle choice. We should learn to respect the right of adults to make decisions about their own bodies. Before you make that snide remark about a black woman’s hair or skin, check your bigotry, ignorance and definitely check your privilege.
Always remember: My Body, My Choice, My Right.

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Comments

  1. leni says

    I’m white, but I have very thick, course hair that requires a good deal of maintenance if I don’t want it to be frizzy and fluffy and downright weird looking. There aren’t a lot of hairstyles I can wear well and I have to maintain it pretty scrupulously if I want it to look nice. (Sometimes I don’t care and some days it just isn’t worth the effort. But other times it is.)

    It would be maddening if something that innocuous and personal was used by others to say I wasn’t a real American. Or real white person. Or a real anything. Or that I was trying not to be white if I used a tanning cream. If I didn’t already have low self-esteem, get piled on about my hair and skin tone definitely would not decrease the likelihood of developing it.

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You might as well do what you like, which you clearly do, because someone is going to be an as about it either way.

    Or in the words of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/aishatyler?fref=ts"Aisha Tyler:

    “I would like to let the internet know right now, in the kindest way possible, that I do not give a f*@k what you think about my hair.”

    :D

  2. leni says

    Woops. I horribly mangled that link. Still works, it just looks like my hair in it’s natural state ;)

  3. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    leni:

    It would be maddening if something that innocuous and personal was used by others to say I wasn’t a real American. Or real white person. Or a real anything.

    Yeah, that is exactly it. The hair is personal and no woman should be made to feel her hair must be a public service announcement board for others political statements simply because we share the same skin colour.

    “If you don’t do it this way or that way, then you are not a REAL this or that” is an attitude I find very annoying.

  4. says

    I have to say I had to agree with you. I had to comment. I’ve shared this on Facebook and in a group that I am a part of. Of course a lot of people will keep quiet on some of the points you made or quickly dismissive it, but I had to say you are on POINT! I’ve been meaning to make similar points on my blog for a long time.

    Keep it up. Say your piece. :)

  5. Sweetsag says

    Couple of words “BLACK HAIR IS NOT DESIRABLE” — sounds harsh but it is soooo blinking true. Evidence abounds to this.

    I think this post would make a ton of sense if hair textures and skin color weren’t used as weapons in creating “power paradigms” across the globe, not just with blacks/Africans. You just can’t ignore that fact, clothes and tobacco were never used to stratify entire groups of people the way hair textures and skin color has been. The piece is plenty of intellectually dishonest and more so of an emotional rant than a piece that actually looks at the realities in the world. And let’s keep it 100 one of the main reasons why there is the sorts of reactions we get with natural black hair is because NO ONE IS CHECKING FOR BLACK WOMEN’S HAIR and HAIRSTYLES. Except for small sub-cultural groups like Japanese “Hip-Hop” kids no one desires BLACK hair not in the same sense we desire theirs. Even “some” of “us” don’t desire black hair. Desire, meaning how it translates into aesthetics and money spent. The same Malaysian, Peruvian, Brazilian, etc whose hair we so desire have absolutely NO desire for our hair. Imitation is the best form of flattery and they don’t desire to imitate us; our hair and our hairstyles is not desirable. They wouldn’t pay two pennies for our hair the way we pay thousands of dollars for theirs. Black hair is not desirable and “we” don’t make it desirable. It sucks but it’s the truth. Now no one denies that hair is a personal choice but within that choice no other groups of people desire to mimic our hair styles in the same sense we want to mimic theirs and I don’t necessarily think we’re trying to be “white”, we just do not like our hair period and other people don’t like it either, generally speaking. If they did they would spend money to imitate it, not just buy our hair but actually spend money to come up with processes to achieve black textured hair. Very few groups of people actually do this (i.e. Japanese process to change their straight hair into afros’). Black hair is generally viewed as undesirable hair and has been ridiculed through out time.

    Now with skin color we already know that globally that has been connected to the upper rungs of society. The major issue with that when you look at the black/white paradigm is when you look across the globe there are far more darker peoples on the lower rungs of society than lighter skinned people and that is deliberate across the globe—India, Thailand, of course the Americas, Europe and even Africa, you name it, evidence abounds. We as in Africans allow lighter skinned peoples (white, Asian, whatever) to have better positions of power and status in our very own societies where as almost no one, no other continents or countries where we are the minorities will even dare this to happen. The legacy of skin color power paradigms across the globe is long standing with favorability leaning towards white or lighter and when you are from the continent with the darkest skinned peoples spending tons of money on lightening creams to get some edge or resemble “other” then of course it is viewed as defeatist. If you were looking at the black/white paradigm of course we as Africans fail miserably.

    When you factor out history and real power paradigms then this piece will make some sense but we don’t live in a vacuum even though we try to act as if we do.

  6. Kilian Hekhuis says

    Although I agree with you on the hair part, the skin-lighting is imho in another category. It is unhealthy as you write, and perhaps even worse than, say, smoking a cigarette (which, imho, is also something anyone not smoking may condemn), as the whole “lighter = better” thing seems like society innate racism. It has little to do with being African or not, as the same applies to e.g. India. A complex issue anyway (much more complex than hair style).

  7. embertine says

    Ben Aaronovitch: “The first rule of black women’s hair is that you do not talk about black women’s hair”.

  8. tiberiusbeauregard says

    is it really inappropriate to demand of people to not look like spastics in public ?

  9. says

    @tiberiusbeauregard, that is an ableist term. What sort of problem do you have with people with neuro-muscular or developmental disabilities? They are negatively attributed that term in order to denigrate them much like people apply racist, homophobic etc terms to denigrate groups of people. I’m sure you are a lovely person and wouldn’t want to come across as an utter asshole, with that comment you are failing.

  10. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Sweetsag:

    Couple of words “BLACK HAIR IS NOT DESIRABLE” — sounds harsh but it is soooo blinking true. Evidence abounds to this.

    Depends on what context you are viewing this from. Is this “NOT DESIRABLE” in a political, social or personal context?
    Politically and in some Social context e.g Art arena, black hair is desirable in many parts of Africa. It gives one ‘Credibility” and portrays a person as someone who has ‘great ‘Ideology’, even if you have none. It is another sad stereotype.
    In a Personal context, what is desirable to you might not be desirable to me; in this case, desire is subjective.

    Sweetsag:

    clothes and tobacco were never used to stratify entire groups of people the way hair textures and skin color has been

    And the point made in the post is that no one can choose what part of western civilization they want to conveniently adopt and the one they want to turn their nose down on while condemning others who made a different choice without being a hypocrite. You do not get to tell anyone which part of western civilization they can adopt that wouldn’t make them “Less African’ and which part would make them ‘African traitors”. It isn’t your call or place.

    BTW, snuffing Tabba (Tobacco) is one very unique African character at least in many parts of West African where I am from, so why do you think it is OK for people who smoke western cigarettes to condemn women who wear weaves as not being “A real African woman”? Hypocrites, I call them.

    Once again, it is not your place to tell others that snuffing tobacco is not as important an African trait as the ‘African hair’.

  11. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Sweetsag:

    The piece is plenty of intellectually dishonest and more so of an emotional rant than a piece that actually looks at the realities in the world.

    Your comment is actually the ‘emotional rant’. You seem angry because my post basically says “Hey, my hair and/or skin colour is not your political statement”. Your anger or emotional rant at a woman telling you to keep your ideology off her body or hair is quite telling, it is not about intellectual honesty, it is pure bigotry.

    And as for keeping with “realities in the world”, maybe you skipped over the first paragraph of this post that actually tells the reader that this post is a reaction to the growing trend of people including women telling others what to do with their hair and/or body. It even cited a recent quote from a well known Nigerian female writer which generated a debate that prompted the writing of this piece. Now, if that is not REALITY, I wonder what is. Maybe you live in the past, buried in historical thesis (‘baggage’?) and can’t be bothered to fit in with the realities of today’s woman?

    Sweetsag:

    Desire, meaning how it translates into aesthetics and money spent. The same Malaysian, Peruvian, Brazilian, etc whose hair we so desire have absolutely NO desire for our hair. Imitation is the best form of flattery and they don’t desire to imitate us; our hair and our hairstyles is not desirable. They wouldn’t pay two pennies for our hair the way we pay thousands of dollars for theirs. Black hair is not desirable and “we” don’t make it desirable

    It seems like you are crying over the fact that people don’t want to spend their money to look like you?

    I value diversity, I don’t feel offended when people don’t want to look like me or copy my fashion style or natural look. I do not seek validation from the approval of others, and I certainly don’t get offended or feel less worthy because people don’t want to buy my natural hair, copy my Yoruba African accent or scarify the faces of their children with tribal marks as some of my African ancestors did.

    Imitation might be the best form of flattery, but flattery in most cases feeds our egoism and leads to bigotry. No, I am no fan of imitation, I prefer the original. And nope, I don’t lose sleep over the fact that African hair weave is not as popular in the market stand as say, the Peruvian or Brazilian hair. Once again, do not project your limitations, sentiments, egoism or bigotry on all other people. You are welcome to your feelings but you aren’t welcome to judge others by your feelings.

  12. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Sweetsag:

    we just do not like our hair period and other people don’t like it either, generally speaking. If they did they would spend money to imitate it, not just buy our hair but actually spend money to come up with processes to achieve black textured hair

    Actually, I gave reasons why I hardly keep my natural hair and also cited reasons given by my African friends on why they always rush to ‘relax’ their undergrowth natural hair under their weave. So what exactly is the point of this comment? It sounds more like a weepy rant because others choose what is convenient for them.

    Actually, I am not under any illusion that the African hair is the Perfect hair, with ‘perfect’ used in the subjective term. I am also not a great fan of European or Asian hair. But i definitely believe that we can improve on the not so ‘intelligent design’ of our body without feeling guilty. My natural African hair gives me headache if not straightened; the headache could be as a result of the many times I have to comb it just to keep it in place. I am not a fan of carrying a comb in my handbag, which is also one reason I hardly wear weaves, I got no place for a hairbrush in my bag. I wear my hair in braids, I am aware that many instantly think braided hair qualifies as African or natural African hair, but in most cases there is nothing natural about the braids. We often have to put in artificial hair attachment to achieve luscious, long braids. Should I be ashamed of using hair attachments to make my braids? Does that make me less African? Does it mean I am encouraging racism and don’t care about the slavery of my ancestors?

  13. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Sweetsag:

    The legacy of skin color power paradigms across the globe is long standing with favorability leaning towards white or lighter and when you are from the continent with the darkest skinned peoples spending tons of money on lightening creams to get some edge or resemble “other” then of course it is viewed as defeatist

    You have committed another fallacy here. You instantly assume every woman who uses cream lightening cream is suffering from inferiority complex. I believe I already address this in my post. Read it again, maybe this time, without all your hang-ups about WHO A REAL AFRICAN IS. The point still remains that history or political ideology should never take away the right of a woman to do with her body what she wishes. For example:

    -- The fact that high heel shoes is basically a classicism issue and also use to objectify women is not a reason to condemn every woman who chooses to wear high heels.

    -- That piece of underwear known as the brassiere is actually seen as another reminder of the objectification of women, should we also all burn our bras and condemn other women who choose to wear bras?

    -- Pregnancy and house care have historically tied women down , should we condemn women who choose to keep giving birth, who choose to be a full time housewife or who choose to study to be a nurse when they could have chosen, for example, to be an electrical engineer? Are they perpetrating stereotypes? Should we see them as not REAL WOMEN? Methinks not!

    Hmm, could also be that you are concerned about that part of human race, Africans, and not really concerned about the half part of human race, Women. In that case, my examples above wouldn’t really make much sense to you.

    Now, once again, the point of the post is not to write a thesis about racism, sexism and the woman body, but basically to shout it out loud and clear that a woman’s body is her body, her choice, her right and NOPE, you can’t make it a canvass for your political sentiments.

    Sweetsag:

    ‘When you factor out history and real power paradigms then this piece will make some sense but we don’t live in a vacuum even though we try to act as if we do.”

    Once again, you really have to understand the article you read, not everything is about what you think people should write about. To assume that the writer have not factored power paradigms just because she did not devote the particular write-up to it, is pure lazy assumption, especially when it is your fault that you failed to fathom the intent of the article, which was made clear from the very first paragraph.

    BTW, if you wrote an “intellectually honest” article about how the black hair and black skin has been used to stratify the black people AND ended it with the implication in your comment that because of the history, any African woman who does not keep her natural hair, wears a weave, or lightens her skin is suffering from inferiority complex and not a real African woman, this would not be intellectual honesty, it would be hokum pokum and simple bigotry. And this post of mine would be a perfect response to such bigotry.

  14. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Kilian Hekhuis

    Although I agree with you on the hair part, the skin-lighting is imho in another category. It is unhealthy as you write, and perhaps even worse than, say, smoking a cigarette (which, imho, is also something anyone not smoking may condemn), as the whole “lighter = better” thing seems like society innate racism. It has little to do with being African or not, as the same applies to e.g. India. A complex issue anyway (much more complex than hair style)

    First, I sincerely do not think it is my position as a non smoker to condemn a smoker. It is their body, their lungs, their choice. The important thing is for them to be aware of the health consequences of smoking and social stigma should not be one of these consequences. By condemning a smoker, I am enabling social stigma towards smokers. And yes, same goes for those who choose to use skin lightening creams. The manufacturers of those products need to be legally compelled to make the health implication of using their product clear, if the person still chooses to use it, then I am in no position to stand in judgment of them. It is their body, their choice, their right.
    It is for this simple reason that I think the skin issue is not any more complex that the hair issue. It is their body, their right, their choice, regardless of the historical baggage or political undertones.

    Yes, the caste system in Indian is one that can be used as an example of skin superiority, and this most probably predates any colonial invasion of India. It is indeed a sad case. In Nigeria, caste system is not totally unknown; it used to exist in a small part of a minute area in Nigeria. It is known as the OSU system. It is actually not based on skin color but on the day a child is born. Some days are considered evil days and any child unfortunate to be born on such days are considered OSU, an OUTCAST. These persons are not allowed to marry a non OSU. They are discriminated against and treated as subhumans. It shows how ignorance, stupidity and bigotry can be related. No white person imposed this discrimination on them. So much for the wholesomeness of the “African culture’. Anyway, this practice is no longer rampant in that area, thanks to laws and education, but I cannot say with confidence that this draconian practice has been totally wiped out. .

  15. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    embertine:

    Ben Aaronovitch: “The first rule of black women’s hair is that you do not talk about black women’s hair”.

    Yemisi Ilesanmi: The first rule of breaking a taboo is to talk about it. :)

  16. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @ tiberiusbeauregard -- Your comment portrays you as a patronizing bigot, in addition to not making any sense at all, it also violates my comment policy. As already pointed out to you by oolon , it is ableist.

  17. Moses says

    Im sorry your probably stupid enough to think that hes bothering you when he says your breasts are beautiful, that just goes to show what morons the foemeanists are, they use lying words to dupe multitudes of weak-willed women into believing some of the stupidest things like if he whistles at me,stares at my bosom, calls me baby Im supposed to inappropriately respond like only a blockhead would by insulting him, by saying something stupid like calling it “street” socalled harassment. The worlds governments in Ireland,America,England,etc. should stop calling compliments a “crime” and repent of this evil and and call on Jesus name.

  18. Darlene Lewis says

    I’m not ashamed to say that I wear human hair weave with my natural hair. It doesn’t make me any less of a woman, whether I hair my natural hair or not. It helps me bring added volume to my hair while allowing me to use more styling techniques that I don’t prefer to use with my natural. For example, using a curling iron, a straightening comb, or a crumping iron excessively damages the hair over time, but with a weave I can help preserve my natural hair by only using these on my weave.

  19. Africafist101 says

    At the end of the day this all has to do with money for the people that’s selling it and pride for the people that’s buying it. It’s funny how all of a sudden African women have a problem “maintaining” their hair but have no problem maintaining another race hair. Just face it you African women all across the world want to be anything other than African, and it kills ya. That’s why nobody respect us. Do European women walk around with afro’s? NO! cause they will look stupid just like ya. Your ashamed of yourself. You sit up their praising god your creator yet you put a hair hat on of a race that’s not yours saying “god you made me but you messed up with my hair” and those women of that race laugh at you. African women with hair hats look like cartoon characters then they speak broken English (icing on the cake). Knock it off!!!!!

    When the hair is cleared Asians and Euros are laughing all the way to the bank then African women want to say poverty has a female face yet you spend all your hard earn money on that foolery. Stop it with the waives, perm and all that junk. Invest in your natural hair(which is way cheaper) and this “choice” crap….here. Do Orientals say we have a choice for our eyes to be round? Do Euros have a choice for their skin to be black? Do Indians have a choice for their hair to grow up? No it’s how god made them and it’s how god made African women. (but I forgot pride is something Africans lost the same day our slave master came to rule us…till this day)

    And as for bleaching, I believe all African who bleach just want to look like their oppressor. When we talk about this issue Africans look to their masters and say “look they tan”. First of all a hand full of them tan and when they do they use natural/alternatives means to get just a few shades off white because dear god they don’t want to go black, who does?

    Over 75% of Nigerians (pop of 150m) bleach their skin. They throw acid/mercury of their bodies and all other chemicals to look like their masters. The whiter the better with them. It’s pretty sad but I do have to chuckle right next to your masters. “you can TRY to look like me but we still are not equal”

    Bottom line. Nigeria is one of Africa biggest cesspools. Africans are almost united in the fact that none of them want Nigerians in their country. Priest sell young girls, they sell young baby for their organs not to mention the heavy drug trade and almost certain civil war. Nigerians are truly Europeans in black face OR just Europeans period since the men bleach as well. Can’t wait to see what Nigeria will look like when the white wash is fully complete.

    It’s funny how you talk Africa and Africans from a distance. You hold your fancy “European law degree” as if it means something in this day and age. Defending bleaching cause you bleach, defending wearing a hair hat cause you wear one. Being African is not a choice it’s a privilege, a privilege which we take for granted. You want to shove things down Africans throat but cause your master tells you it’s right. He say do this and you do it just like a good dog.

    I’m a proud AFRICAN from AFRICA. God didn’t make no mistake with my hair or my skin color. He gave me the choice to stand up for my people and my nation and not take orders from people who look at me less than human. When the day is long gone I can look myself in the mirror. CAN YOU DO THE SAME?

    delete my comment if you must………….

  20. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Africafist101- Oh shut up, Africafist101! You should remember to leave your mouth in park if your brain is not in gear.

    It’s a pain to read the nonsense you just spew. Henceforth, any comment of yours goes straight into the trash can.

    BTW, God did not make any mistake with your hair or skin colour simply because God did not create you, Humans evolved. Just get a science book instead of seething with ignorant anger. And Grow a brain, you need it. to comment on my wall.

  21. Jessica W says

    I am neither a feminist, bi-sexual, or atheist, but I have to say this is one of the more intelligent posts I have seen in a very long time. Brava, Yemisi! You have a beautiful name!

  22. Mistere E? says

    Black women wear hair to compete with other black women, that it, that’s all… Wearing someone else’s DNA on your head does NOT make you look more attractive and it DOES mean that you hate your own hair…

  23. Jessica W says

    I could give a frog’s fat a$$ what anyone thinks of me and how I choose to wear my hair. Your problems with my hair are just that, YOUR PROBLEMS! You have to deal with that in your own way because what you think of me and my person…is not my business. That is all. Hoooah?

  24. Dan says

    Yemisi,

    It’s unfortunate that people are jealous of your beautiful hair, skin, eyes, etc. I am a man (caucasian) and I think that women of African lineage are able to look to beautiful no matter how they style their hair or how they dress. Your skin color is so lovely and I bet it looks good in any kind of colors. Natural African hair looks great, of course, but the straightened hair or extensions can look very dramatic and stylish, as well. Men and sometimes women will probably try to control you by asking you to style your hair a certain way, but you know better than to listen to any of them. You know that you are a lovely woman no matter how you style yourself and you are worthy and wonderful regardless of a person’s judgement of you.

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