Black Women Shouldn’t Have To Straighten Their Hair For Work. Here’s Why

 At the age of seven, I received my first hair straightening treatment and felt beautiful. However, a hurtful comment from a classmate at my predominantly white school led me to believe that my natural hair was inferior. Despite my mother's reassurance that my natural hair was beautiful, I continued to straighten it. It became a weekly routine that lasted for over five years until I embraced my natural hair in college, feeling more connected to my Black identity. I wish for all Black women to feel confident wearing their natural hair. In corporate America, there is an unwritten expectation for Black women to straighten their hair or use extensions, leading to significant financial costs. Many Black women spend exorbitant amounts of money to conform to certain hair standards in the workplace, reflecting the pressure to emulate the hair of their white counterparts.

By choosing to wear my natural hair, I have saved significant money and time. Embracing my natural hair has allowed me to cut costs, as I spend less on hair care products compared to expensive salon treatments and extensions. Additionally, I save valuable time that was previously spent in hair salons, making me feel more liberated and confident. This transition has been empowering for me, as it has helped to cultivate a sense of pride and self-acceptance in my Black identity.

I believe that Black women should not have to conform to a certain standard of hair to be accepted in the workplace. The pressure to alter our natural hair for professional acceptance is unjust, and I encourage Black women to embrace their natural hair with confidence. If an employer mandates conforming to a specific hair standard, it may be worth considering seeking a more inclusive work environment. Every Black woman, regardless of her hair choice, deserves to be accepted and respected for who she is. Black is beautiful, as is our natural hair.  

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