THE FEMININE IDEAL: ARE CURLS MAKING A SLOW AND STEADY RETURN?
Over the past few years, women have spent countless hours straightening their hair. For some reason, people began to see this fashion trend as the default style for Caucasian females, and manufacturers were quick to react. Salon-quality straighteners hit the market rapidly and were snatched up by women wanting to ensure they had sleek mane others would envy.
These same women never stopped to consider the damage they were doing to their hair or the possibility of burning themselves. This doesn't take into account the number of times these women had to return home to ensure they had turned the straightener off and it wouldn't burn their house to the ground. However, women around the world have tired of being a slave to the straight iron and are letting their natural curls take center stage. Individuality has become the rage and women everywhere are jumping on the bandwagon. For those who have decided to allow their curls to shine once again, go for it. However, don't hesitate to benefit from services such as frizzy straightening.
A person's hair comes from their genes, yet it can be manipulated in ways other traits cannot. A person can't change their height or their skin color but they can easily alter their hair. This helps to explain why women spend thousands of dollars on their hair over their lifetimes. In fact, many women state they will spend money on their hair before buying food.
Women find they can alter their hair in many ways. Some women don't feel comfortable doing anything more than cutting their hair to change the style. Others, however, straighten their hair, perm it, color it, or alter it in countless other ways. Cosmetic enhancement has become a part of the culture and women live under the assumption that a female's success can be determined by how glamorous and sexy she is. Having gorgeous hair serves as a sign she has it all.
What Remains Taboo?
Nevertheless, certain trends continue to be frowned upon. For example, women with shaved heads are believed to have a mental issue, unless they have gone this route for a specific reason. Charlize Theron got a full buzz cut for a role she was playing and nobody questioned it. Jesse J did the same to raise money for a charity and that was okay. When Britney Spears did it more than a decade ago, however, people assumed she was having a mental breakdown.
Long hair that is allowed to flow freely, however, is considered by many to be a sign of the woman's natural sensuality and her loose morals. Victorian women never wore their hair down for this reason, and certain religions demand women keep their heads covered. Fairy tales often feature women with long hair as the hair is a metaphor for sexuality. Women who keep their hair pulled back tightly are deemed to be sexually repressed. Thorn Hecht, a Harvard academic, says the hair is seen as a symbol of "the unseen undisciplined mind."
People consider women who wear their hair in loose waves to be more approachable and likable. In contrast, those with poker-straight hair tend to be viewed as expressionless and cold. More importantly, women who wear their hair with curls say they feel liberated. The hair feels light, it bounces when she moves, and she feels happier. This is likely due in part to the fact that she no longer worries about how her hair looks. She allows it to remain in its natural state and she feels more like herself. She's no longer trying to hide a facet of her genetic makeup or to be someone she isn't.
The Resurgence of Curls
Social media plays a role in the resurgence of curls. Celebrities began experimenting with curls, even when their hair was naturally straight. In fact, they have been doing so for the past few years. Mandy Moore, back in September 2015, opted to try shaggy curls to see whether she liked them. People noticed and said the style was like a breath of fresh air. Other celebrities followed suit and many people stepped up to say thank you. They had tired of straightening their curls and appreciated celebrities who were willing to go their own way rather than following current trends.
Simply look at Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other popular social media sites and see how women have changed their hair over the years. Often, these changes correspond to current trends, although that isn't always the case. Some women have naturally straight hair and will suddenly have curls in a group of pictures. Chances are they have spent quite a bit of time achieving that hairstyle. In certain cases, these women have invested the time and money in a perm simply to reduce the amount of upkeep required for their desired hairstyle.
In fact, some stylists recommend women get a perm to achieve the curls they desire. A perm means the upkeep is minimized and women still have the look they are after. This goes against the grain, as many people still believe a polished look can only be achieved with straight hair.
African-American women can speak to this. An African-American woman who wears her hair in a traditional style, such as in cornrows or dreads, is deemed to be less competent than peers who straighten their hair, regardless of the veracity of this claim. The same is true when these women wear their natural texture. Those who choose to invest in weaves or who chemically straighten the hair are perceived in a more favorable light. Sadly, these women often have their self-esteem tied to their hair.
Curly hair is here to stay. In fact, more Caucasians have curly or wavy hair than those with straight hair. While Asians predominantly have straight hair, African-Americans do not. It's time to embrace your natural hair and love it whatever you were blessed with. When you do so, you'll find life becomes easier as you spend less time focused on your hairstyle and more on what you enjoy. You are sure to appreciate this when you see how much time and money you free up by taking this step.