Another day, another shocker. My daughter came home from work last night–she’s a supervisor at a Starbucks Coffee–and she said, “Hey mom, you were right about some people not liking curly hair.”
She caught my interest. Why do you say that?
“Because a girl I work with has hair like yours–in fact, she looks like you–and a couple came in today and asked for another server because they said she had brown, curly hair, like the devil.”
What in the hell (no pun intended)? What did you do?
“I told them they either get served by her or they should leave. They decided to leave.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, there have been moments in my life where I’ve thought the devil may have had his hand in my hair—but I have NEVER heard the devil has brown, curly hair.
I googled it, and turns out, there are a few folktales from around the world that feature the devil and curly hair–usually someone tries to see if he can straighten it, and if he can’t, he’s the devil. (Click here for link to the stories)
And, then there’s the possibility that it’s racially motivated–Jewish hair, African hair–or just plain unruly–thus devilish–hair. (Think Jezebel.) So, in this way, curly hair may represent foreign–exotic–uncontrollable–different from us–scary.
It reminds me of the poem everyone recited for me and my curls as I was growing up by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
There was a little girl,Who had a little curl,Right in the middle of her forehead.When she was good,She was very good indeed,But when she was bad she was horrid.
I intend to do more research on this idea now that it has been so starkly confirmed to me that there is, indeed, CURLY HAIR prejudice out there. What are its origins? What are its intentions? And, how do we fight back against it?
First, it’s time we all understand–“Curly hair is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle.” People say, I like the way you’re doing your hair now. Um, I’m not “doing” my hair. I was “doing” my hair, but now I’m “doing” nothing except letting my hair be itself. This is who I am, and it’s not up for a vote.
If you have experienced curly girl prejudice, I’m sorry. I hope you’ll read Curly Girl: The Handbook, pass it on to others, and wear your hair natural to be an ambassador for other closet curlys.
In the meantime, have fun and enjoy those curls–you hot little devil!