Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Does this look okay for work?

Would this look be acceptable in the workplace??

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  I have.  I tend to wear less conservative hair (and clothing) styles outside of work.  I was taught that you have to look professional in the workplace.  But what does that actually mean? Especially in 2013 where I've seen silky straight perms to mo-hawks on men and women to huge twists outs, locs and  micro braids - all in the workplace.  I've questioned the eccentric nature of my hairstyles for the workplace and I have been surprised by getting compliments on the styles I felt were too radical and slightly inappropriate (More Coping Skills.....).

Would bantu knots fly in the work place??
In the 1950s and 1960s, a Black person who had an afro was considered radical.   That's what the afro was at that time.....radical.....a symbol of freedom and of getting back to our roots. It started out being a huge political statement.   Braids, afros and other "ethnic" styles were considered un-professional.  There were even cases in the 1980s of women being fired from their jobs for having cornrows or other forms of braids. Society's idea of beauty impacted what was considered professional.  At that time straight hair that mimicked European culture was the ideal.  It was all about the press and curl and later on the chemical relaxer.  This history has influenced my view of what "professional" means in the workplace.  I'll say it again: I have felt a bit nervous about sporting my various faux hawk styles at work.  But at the same time I feel like I've been brainwashed to believe that my natural tresses need to be trained for the workforce.  I DID make it a point wear twists (a typical style for me then) for my job interview.  I only used to straightened my hair once a blue moon anyway and I wanted my employer to see the "real" me....twists and all!

When I look around my workplace these days I see women of all hues with curls flowing, locs dangling and natural vibes dripping from their tresses!  I love it and feel encouraged.  Being neat and presentable is still important and key to maintaining a professional vibe.  I know for certain that trends in society influences my work environment.  Societal trends are the bread and butter for MOST industries.  From my vantage point - the fact that natural hair is all the rage promotes acceptance from corporate America.

Here's what women who took my "Spill your Hair Guts" survey had to say about society's view of natural Black hair:

"Society's view of natural black hair has changed....unless you live in the hick-hock country."
"I think right now it's a trend to be natural. People are doing it because everyone else is. Only time will tell if this resurgence in natural hair will continue. I am seeing more natural styles on mainstream commercials. Its kind of exciting. Not everyone I see is light skinned with curly hair either. I think its great."
"Within the black community in certain areas - yes society's view has changed. I found that natural hair is not as common place in the South than it is in the North East. I do find that non-Black people are not as critical of natural hair and express appreciation for it more then some in the Black community. I also live in a very liberal area, so the non-Black community is more open minded."
"I think society's view is changing, but more importantly our view needs to change also. I know people who second guess what they feel comfortable wearing in corporate America. Once you have inner confidence and take care of your hair everyone else will accept you, no matter what the style. Also we are always wanting another person's hair curl pattern, instead of our own. We need to learn to appreciate and love our hair."
"Actually I don't care how society views natural hair because I cannot live in someone else's reality - only my own and as far as I know I was born perfect, so should I change who I am for society? Ha! Never that!"

66.7% of respondents said that their natural hair was accepted at work.  16.7% felt that they were sometimes accepted and 16.7% said that even though their hair was accepted they still received comments about it.

In summary Naturalistas  are in a good place when it comes to society's changing view of natural hair and how it's being accepted in the work place! We still have a long way to go to accept our own beauty, but we are well on our way! I want to give a BIG thank you to all those women who paved the way for professional self expression!

Thanks again to all the beautiful women who shared their time and thoughts with The Natural Journey For Life! Big up!!! :)

What are your thoughts? Please share!!

Peace and blessings!