Going natural was one of the best choices I have ever made for my hair. By ditching the hair straighteners my hair was finally able to flourish, it grew a lot faster and it’s generally a lot healthier now. One of the things I didn’t expect when embracing my curls, however, were people’s needs to touch my hair.
I still don’t completely understand why people want to do it, even when I’ve asked it makes no sense. The most common responses tend to be that my hair is different so people want to feel it, they also want to know if it feels soft, and they’re just doing it through instinct.
Now, I’m not someone who likes to be approached physically by most people. The idea of hugging people I don’t personally care for is a pain, so when people reach out, without asking, and try to touch my hair they don’t get their desired responses.
It’s usually me blatantly making it obvious that I don’t like or appreciate this act. Which leads to them looking upset, but to be perfectly honest I’ve reached the point where I no longer care about their feelings. Gone are the days where people make you feel bad for not being able to touch them, even though you’ve explicitly made it clear you don’t want it.
There’s a lot of articles online explaining why people’s need to touch girls with curly hair is inherently racialised, so I doubt I could do a better job of explaining it. But the basics are that they’re making you out to be some exotic creature for having a different hair texture, and their need to touch you without your permission is the equivalent of someones need to pet an animal. Therefore in that moment, you’re not a sentient human with boundaries and a need for respect – you become a plaything.
I wish I was overreacting, but honestly the amount of people who have tried, and some succeed at touching my hair without permission is disgusting. I honestly wish people would ask first, so I can politely tell them to stay the fuck away from my hair.
Curly hair takes a lot of time to style, and honestly, people touching it adds frizz, which isn’t fun. Some people don’t even try the light pet, they rake through your curls, which also ruins your curl pattern. I get that not everyone understands textured hair, but at least respect the curl pattern.
One of the weirdest things that have happened is people playing with my hair whilst it’s in a bun, and by playing, I mean they shook my bun. Their assumption was that the bun is a carefree style that doesn’t take a while to do and maintain. So when I tell, and in some cases yell, at them not to do it they seem shocked because it’s in a bun.
Now let me tell you something about the curly hair bun. I’ve had to take time to slick the front and back section with water and product, then gather my hair in that bun, and finally take the product and a toothbrush to lay my edges. There is also a lot of hair grips in there to keep the style in place, so it’s never been an invitation to touch or shake.
So here’s me politely saying on behalf of myself and everyone else with curly hair – stop touching our hair. Just stop, it’s not fun, it’s not nice, and in that moment we hate you.
All images are taken from Unsplash