In some corners, you can’t say the “W-word” without eliciting snickers and eye rolls. Mo Ivory, the Director of Political-Community Outreach for CBS Radio Atlanta and host of “The Mo Ivory Show” on News/Talk 1380 WAOK, joins the chorus of weave detractors with her recent blog post, “Ladies…Who’s Hiding Under Your Weave?”
After her daughter asks for a weave because all her friends have one (despite having “a full head of shoulder-length, unpermed hair” herself), Ivory felt compelled to address black women’s obsession with weave.
She posted the alarming stat that “Black women spend billions of dollars a year on hair products buying 70% of all wigs and extensions purchased in the United States” and interviewed several people about weave, discovering the following:
29-year-old female hair stylist/makeup artist:
“Weaves have become a handicap for women in an effort to validate beauty. Some women need weaves as a badge of honor based on the kind of weave they wear – Indonesian, Brazilian or Malaysian. Women are proud to say what weave hair they wear and how much they paid for it. [It's] like status symbols, but instead weave tiers. Where do you fall on the weave status ladder? I get a bigger reaction from men when I wear a weave. Hair weaves elevate women’s self esteem.”
34-year-old female lawyer:
“I don’t feel like doing my hair every day, even though my weave does take a lot of time and can be real itchy. I want long thick hair. It makes me feel more confident and like I can compete with other women. I feel like a professional woman with a lot of sex appeal and men really like that.”
30-year-old male living in Atlanta from Chicago:
“Weaves don’t bother me but I like it to be kept up. I prefer a nice girl no matter if she has a weave or not. I like healthy girls, who are into physical fitness but I don’t have a type. My current girlfriend has a shoulder length weave. I can’t tell when she has the weave in or not.”
35-year-old male who makes a lot of money and is well known:
“I’m not a fan of weaves. I think its part laziness that women get weaves, but I also think weaves take a lot of time. I hate when I move a woman’s hair and her whole head moves. I like to feel a woman’s scalp. But I can’t say weaves are a super deterrent, although I would rather a woman wear her own hair. I believe many women hide behind their weaves because they don’t feel beautiful without a weave and that their beauty is attached to their weave. I would never let my teenage daughter get a weave and I feel it’s important that she learn how to do her own hair. I also don’t understand why women feel like they have to have long hair. It’s all vanity. It’s like ‘fake it ’til you make it’; same way with cars, houses and pocket books.”
41-year-old male from Atlanta:
“Women with short hair have more confidence. It’s her hair, she’s more real, she’s more beautiful, and she knows who she is. A lot of women hide under their weave, under their makeup. Some women use a weave to beautify themselves. Others take it to the extreme, and it makes me think ‘You are insecure and that you don’t like who you really are.’ I want a woman who knows herself. I dated a woman who took her weave out and she was not happy with herself. I don’t want to date a woman like that.”
While Ivory admits she embraced “manufactured beauty” by wearing a weave to appeal to men, not every weave wearer is lazy, lacking confidence or in the throes of an identity crisis.
Read the rest of her article here.