My Hair is NOT Here For Your Experience and Neither am I.
A few months ago I was at the basic beauty supply and I was assaulted by an Asian woman who squeezed my hair like it was a sponge.
The video below explains my entire experience.
“Oh your hair, it so soft.” Don't judge me, that is how she said it.
It happened so fast that I could not stop her, but I was enraged. And what did she expect my hair to feel like? Braid hair? I am a human being, not a Barbie.
I am not a puppy, or a thing and my body is not available for you to experience whenever you feel so inclined. I was so mad that I went Live on Facebook to share my frustration. Other Black women shared with me that they had ALSO had that same experience.
I simply do not understand the phenomenon of wanting to touch somebody else's hair. I have seen women with beautiful heads of hair and I will strike up a conversation with them! Like “Girl….I love your hair! Who did it?” or “What products are you using?” and other conversations like that. However, I have never wanted to touch somebodies hair and experience it. Nope, not even one time.
I had all of my natural hair twisted (I was prepping for a style) and I was in the Benefit Brow Bar getting my eyebrows done. Upon signing in, one of the estheticians reached for one of my braids in that same squeezing motion as the Asian woman in the beauty supply,
“Oh my God, can I touch your hair?”
But it was not an ask, it was like she was preping me for the touch. I was fully prepared for this experience so I ducked like Muhammad Ali and stepped back.
“No you cannot.”
I am sure that my face told it all. She immediately apologized and probably for a few reasons:
1. She is at work and touching hair that she is not waxing off is inappropriate.
2. She realized that what she was asking was simply not cool.
At least she knew to apologize, she quickly went into the back. However, I know that she felt entitled to be able to touch my hair and a little offended that I did not want to allow her to feel the textures of my kinky, coily curls.
Black people have been ridiculed, touched and prodded since we have come in contact with white people. Since far before Sarah Bartan, known as the Hottentot Venus (which has a very negative connotation). I am not sure if it is simply the nature of white people to always want to “experience us” or if it simply that they still do not see us more that an exhibit at a Zoo and our bodies simply mean less than a white body means to them. This mentality has leaked over onto the rest of the world. Now everybody feels that we are their property.
I want ALL people to know that touching my hair without my permission (or even wishing to do so) is like touching any other part of my body. It is not ok.
This entitlement is rooted in slavery and the fact that Black people are not seen as full humans and do not truly have own-ness of even our own bodies.
Under no circumstances should you touch a Black Woman’s hair unless you have permission and an intimate relationship with her.