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Thread: "Natural Hair is Unprofessional!"

  1. #1
    davonna's Avatar Regular Stylist
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    Question "Natural Hair is Unprofessional!"

    OK y'all a bit of a rant. Why do people think or fear natural hair is unprofessional? I know what people mean when they say that but why? Black men often wear their hair in low, natural styles. So why when a woman wears a natural it's considered unprofessional?

    I was reading a lady's comment on napturallycurly.com and she was afraid to go natural because of her job. I hear this a lot. Is it really the fear of being seen as unprofessional or the fear of being seen as unattractive or getting stares?

    I work in a fairly conservative place where I'm one of the few blacks. But I have to say, looking unprofessional wasn't much of a concern to me when considering to go natural. Looking different? Yes. But not unprofessional. Maybe 15 years ago when natural hair wasn't as prevalent as it is today, but now I would think most whites are used to seeing it. Hell, I see naturals in so many commercials today. lol

    Are women today really worried their white counterparts will be intimidated by the afro or natural hair? Is it still about professionalism or something else? I'm sure some workplaces are different, but unprofessional seems like such a dated concern in today's times.

    Your thoughts? I am just stirring the pot a bit.
    Last edited by davonna; 08-03-2012 at 02:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Elite Stylist
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    I feel that most people are concerned about what others feel or think about them. Which is crazy! If you are a confident person, then I feel you should just do you. You will not be able to please everybody, so just please yourself and those you trully are concerned about. Being natural is not unprofessional, it is just different and people don't like different, they like things to stay the same. We need to stop trying to be what someone else think we should be and just be who God made us to be. Some people are so insecure and don't know how to deal with others not liking the way they look. Yes Davonna you are definitely stirring the pot, lol.

  3. #3
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    I agree. How can it be unprofessional if it's how your hair grows naturally? That's some BS. It's not like you're going to work with a bright orange mohawk!

    I think the word they really want to use is uncomfortable. Like Melissa said, it's really about being concerned with what people think. Most people are not going to get fired because they come to work with an afro. I realize racism exists and a lot of people are not familiar or like natural hair, but if you're doing your job most employers are not going to fire you over some hair.

    Yes they may look at you funny but that's their problem, not yours! lol Well, it's only your problem if you care what people think. And if you are going to go natural that's one thing you'll have to let go of.

  4. #4
    gwiz's Avatar Junior Stylist
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    Honestly, speaking as a transitioner who has worried about this, I think it's an excuse. I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with myself. lol As black women, sometimes we feel inferior in the workplace already so adding the natural hair component just freaks us out even more. We worry about not being accepted and fitting in. Some women feel they are constantly having to prove their worth or they are as smart as their counterparts. It's unfortunate, but true in some cases.

    In 2012, most women are not going lose their jobs over an afro. And if you do, that's probably a sign that's not the place for you anyway.

  5. #5
    neceyluv's Avatar Magnificent Stylist
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    You ladies are so right!! I work at a medium-to-large sized community college, with a variety of co-workers and students of different races, nationalities, sexuality, hair types, etc. and so we really stress the importance of respecting the diversity on our campus. We have to get it into our heads and hearts first that healthy hair is good hair, and then find a way to make our hairstyle fit the environment we're in, to a certain extent. A fro-hawk might not work in a law firm, for example, but a neat curly fro might possibly work just fine. I remember an episode on Living Single about Kyle's dreads....LOL!

    Anyway, I was a little bit concerned about going natural, others reactions in the workplace, I admit that. But most of my co-workers really like it this way, black and white. I was pleasantly surprised (and yeah a bit relieved LOL!) Not that I was going to go back to the relaxer if they didn't, though! When I go to work, my hair is neat and clean....and thick and curly! And I'm a professional and good at what I do. If somebody doesn't like it, too bad! But hopefully I've inspired someone else to step out of their comfort zone, whether it's about their hair or something else.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by neceyluv View Post
    You ladies are so right!! I work at a medium-to-large sized community college, with a variety of co-workers and students of different races, nationalities, sexuality, hair types, etc. and so we really stress the importance of respecting the diversity on our campus. We have to get it into our heads and hearts first that healthy hair is good hair, and then find a way to make our hairstyle fit the environment we're in, to a certain extent. A fro-hawk might not work in a law firm, for example, but a neat curly fro might possibly work just fine. I remember an episode on Living Single about Kyle's dreads....LOL!

    Anyway, I was a little bit concerned about going natural, others reactions in the workplace, I admit that. But most of my co-workers really like it this way, black and white. I was pleasantly surprised (and yeah a bit relieved LOL!) Not that I was going to go back to the relaxer if they didn't, though! When I go to work, my hair is neat and clean....and thick and curly! And I'm a professional and good at what I do. If somebody doesn't like it, too bad! But hopefully I've inspired someone else to step out of their comfort zone, whether it's about their hair or something else.
    I experienced a very similar experience. Most people liked it and those that didn't just kept to themselves. Fine with me. lol

  7. #7
    gwiz's Avatar Junior Stylist
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    Quote Originally Posted by neceyluv View Post
    You ladies are so right!! I work at a medium-to-large sized community college, with a variety of co-workers and students of different races, nationalities, sexuality, hair types, etc. and so we really stress the importance of respecting the diversity on our campus. We have to get it into our heads and hearts first that healthy hair is good hair, and then find a way to make our hairstyle fit the environment we're in, to a certain extent. A fro-hawk might not work in a law firm, for example, but a neat curly fro might possibly work just fine. I remember an episode on Living Single about Kyle's dreads....LOL!

    Anyway, I was a little bit concerned about going natural, others reactions in the workplace, I admit that. But most of my co-workers really like it this way, black and white. I was pleasantly surprised (and yeah a bit relieved LOL!) Not that I was going to go back to the relaxer if they didn't, though! When I go to work, my hair is neat and clean....and thick and curly! And I'm a professional and good at what I do. If somebody doesn't like it, too bad! But hopefully I've inspired someone else to step out of their comfort zone, whether it's about their hair or something else.
    I heard that!

  8. #8
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    This is quite an interesting topic! I think that most blacks have layers of issues concerning "accepting" all that is natural about them, with the whole hair issue high on the list. For blacks, "fitting in" has meant for many years "looking like someone else." How we wear our hair in the professional workforce is more of an excuse because suddenly, not only will we NOT look like our usual selves (if you go the big chop route), but we more than likely won't look like ANYBODY else at work any more EITHER! We will definitely stick out like a sore thumb for sure now, supposedly. But, there are many "professional" natural hair styles, and I agree with the comment that a "fro-hawk" may not be suitable at a law firm, but with the WORLDWIDE web literally at our fingertips, there's bound to be an ample supply of appropriate styles to choose from. It's getting to the point of releasing ALLLL the possible excuses to make the transition, and appreciating the fact that natural hair is NOT supposed to look "naturally permed!"

  9. #9
    davonna's Avatar Regular Stylist
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    Really good comment NuDawnn.
    Free to Be Naturally Me

  10. #10
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    My friend said the other day that she couldn't go natural 'cause she has to look professional in the workplace. Years ago if someone had told me that I would have thought nothing of it. Now I find myself getting a bit defensive when people talk down to natural hair because that's a big part of the problem. We have always believed our hair was inferior and I am so glad sites like this are changing that!

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