Black women and young girls have been the victims of hair discrimination for centuries. Yes, centuries, just look up the Tignon Laws. When women were enslaved, they were required to cover their hair to reinforce their status as slaves, and once freed, they were restricted to covering their hair once again. They were accused of flaunting their freedom and stealing the attention of white men with their adorned tresses. As time passed, black women were plagued with submitting to White standards of beauty for survival. The 19070’s saw the emergence of the re-affirmation of the beauty of natural hair, most notable that afro, a style often associated with rebellion because it was often worn by the Black Panthers and other activists such as Angela Davis and Assata Shakur. That trend has come and gone in the decades since. There was another natural hair movement in the 2010’s that has been going strong and more women have returned to sport their kinks and coils and reaffirm the beauty in our hair to their children, especially young girls. However, that does not mean they don’t face obstacles at work and school.
There are still bosses and teachers of the “old guard” who believe perfectly fine kinks, coils, and curls, regardless of how they’re styled are distracting, unkempt, unclean, and unprofessional. There are plenty of stories like this one where a teacher has humiliated a little Black girl by cutting her hair because it was “distracting”. It was even reported here on Diva Chronicles how adult women still have worries about wearing their natural hair or protective hairstyles in the workplace. So while I am happy Dove is using their platform to raise awareness about how Black women and girls are treated because of their hair, just know we’ve been speaking up and pushing back about this for generations. Maybe one day a research study won’t have to be conducted to get people to listen to our plight.
Here are some statistics to note from the Study:
- Black girls as young as five experience hair discrimination.
- 86% of black teenagers started experiencing discrimination based on their hair by the age of 12.
- A previous study by Dove found that black women were 1.5 times more likely to be sent home or know of a black woman sent home from the workplace because of her hair.
- 80% more likely to change their hair from its natural state to fit in at the office.
“Now, this new body of research illuminates the pervasive nature and deep impact hair discrimination has on black girls highlighting the horrific multi-generational impact of narrow beauty standards in America.” Essi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and COO of Unilever North America to Cosmetics Business
These findings were the result of the 2021 Dove CROWN Research for Girls in collaboration with JOY Collective.
Article Credit: Cosmetics Business