Natural Hair At what point are you just plain unqualified to give your opinion on a subject? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the past week, after coming across an Instagram post from a natural hair vlogger I follow named Diggamatic.

One of her newly natural followers was seeking marital advice. She’d just undergone “the big chop” and her husband hated her short, blonde Afro. He told her he wasn’t attracted to her anymore, and wanted her to get another relaxer. He also isn’t a fan of weaves, so that option was out.

The advice seeker, unsure of what to do, was desperate for guidance because she loved her hair and wasn’t ready to give up on it. Not knowing what to tell her, Diggamatic posted a screen shot of the question, asking her followers their opinions.

Natural Hair

Most of the women who commented said that–though they’re single–they would either tell their husband to shut up and deal, or leave him. Some of the women advised her to compromise by straightening her hair every once in awhile. Others wondered why she was with such a man in the first place. While I read through the responses, most of their advice felt very irresponsible to me.

I understand that some of my fellow naturalistas take their hair very seriously. I get it. It’s hard work to build a hair care regimen and to embrace your natural looks when people are constantly trying to tell you your hair is innately unattractive. But is hair important enough to break up a marriage?

Maybe her husband’s real issue is that he wishes she gave her look a little variety. Maybe she hasn’t figured out a natural look that works best for her. (Heck, I look back at old pictures of my hair when I first started wearing it natural and actually cringe. My curly fro was desert thirsty with no definition. No wonder my mother was practically running at me with a hot comb.) Maybe the reader’s husband really is being awful and shallow. There is no way any of us could draw a concrete conclusion about their marriage or his behavior from her question.

Should single women who have never been married be so quick to judge a married couple’s problems? There are some things about marriage my single self cannot begin to comprehend. For example, what do you do about money? If you’re both working full-time, do you split all of your expenses down the middle, regardless of whether one of you brings in way more money than the other? What about bank accounts? Are separate accounts or joint accounts better? Or splurging? Should one call up one’s spouse when deciding to blow a third of one’s check on shoes?

When you’re married should you have a say when your spouse drastically changes their appearance? If you believe in forever and have decided to love this person, and only this person, for the rest of your life, shouldn’t you be allowed to gently tell them when their look is doing it for you anymore? Of course, it will hurt, regardless of how careful they are with your feelings, but shouldn’t they be allowed to say it?

Are knee-jerk reactions to questions like this helpful? Tone is everything, and some of the advice was so bullet-quick and harsh, it bothered me. Her question was barely a paragraph long, and these women were talking about her husband like he was Stevie J. She didn’t even specify how he told her what he was feeling. Was he sensitive or harsh? Did he blurt it out or mull it over, hoping to handle her feelings gingerly?

I will admit that I had misgivings about the “he doesn’t like weaves” part of her question. It annoys me to no end that some black men cannot understand that many black women wear weaves/keep their hair natural/wrap their hair at night in order to keep their hair healthy.

I want to ask these men if they think generations of black women diligently wrapped their hair each night before bed for fun? Do these men have any idea what it is like to be seconds away from sleep, only to have to hobble across your bedroom for a headscarf? Or worse, to wake up in the morning with said scarf on the floor and your hair matted on the pillow? I didn’t think so.

But on a more serious note: I think some of us forget that words on the screen do matter. That, no matter how anonymous we may feel, we are still accountable for the words things we post. If this real life woman was looking for good advice on her real life marriage, shouldn’t the faceless women who have decided to answer her question do so with care? Or are we all typing to quickly to think first?

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84 Comments

  1. Cocochanel31

    I’m so happy I’ve dated men who really don’t care how I do my hair as long as it looks GOOD! I remember a girlfriend asking me if my boyfriend asked me to change stuff about myself appearance wise and my response was HELL NO! She went on to say how her man likes looong weave so she added another six or so inches to her weave even though she doesn’t really care for that extra long length. It all sounded weird and crazy to me but that is not my man or relationship so I didn’t comment, but I am leery of people who berate your looks or want you to change to fit their desires, albeit, slightly different than this topic.

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  2. Shannon

    Come on people the man’s got a right to have an opinion (even if it’s wrong) LOL if roles were switched and her husband grew his hair out and dyed it blonde she would probably have something to say too. You can’t fault the guy for having prefrences and expressing them to the woman he loves. On that same note if they truly are in love, this siituation will work itself out. Communication seems to be the biggest issue in this situation. Personally I would have talked my decision over with my SO before doing anything. A lot of people don’t realize what’s happening in friends/family/husbands/boyfriends heads when someone we know chooses the natural route. He probably feels some type of way touching what he thinks is just new growth that needs to be relaxed and layed down.

    Like another commenter mentioned he’s got a lot of soul searching to do along side her natural journey. (Google the article: How Insecurity Almost Prevented Me From Supporting My Wife’s Natural Hair Transition)

    Sometimes I like to do wash and gos if I don’t have the hours it takes to blowdry/iron and the ONLY people who have something negative to say are black men. Sad. A lot of our people, not just black men, have insecurities about the natural state of black hair. I can just walk away from that mess, unfortunately she has to live with him and his prefrences so they need to have a long heart to heart. Hopefully it all worked out and he was able to support her decision.

    And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with single women giving married women advise. Just because I haven’t walked down the isle doesn’t mean i have no idea what i’m talking about when it comes to relationships.

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  3. Clara

    I so admire you and your article. Marriage is very complicated, and it’s between the two people who are in it. No one should feel so comfortable to advise. Yes, he has a right to comment, on her looks her attire, everything. Even though we are individual, a marriage is a beautiful partnership where you are protected, loved, and guided. I rather my husband tell me something looks bad, than someone else. We represent each other. I doubt if he was mean about his statement, she would be seeking advice. She would be too upset to care, and would do what she wants to do.
    But honestly, I have natural hair and love it very much, it’s very versatile, I can sport a fro, or have it straighten, but some people think that it’s okay to go out in the street without combing their hair, and proud to tell you so.

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  4. dparpari

    You want your spouse to be healthy and appeal to you at the same time. If a husband doesn’t want his wife to be healthy (relaxers cause skin issues and probably other things yet to be identified), maybe a woman should rethink why she’s with someone like that. It goes both ways.

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