I beg your pardon: Why women talk about other women’s hair behind their backs


It’s 8.25am-ish today and I am with my older sister in a commercial building going for an informational interview.

We enter the crammed lift and this woman and her friend are nattering away. My back is the woman who is speaking the most:

When I see Afros, I think it is so African

The comment looks very non-descript but the way she said it behind my back (literally) to me was just plain rude. Her and her friend burst into laughter
thereafter and it was blatantly obvious that they were talking about me.

What I do not understand is why do some women do this? I don’t want to be a bitch and say it is a Tanzanian thing but since I have been here, going to the
hair salon with my SIL and going to the hair salon yesterday with a friend of mine, I have noticed that there is an innate bitchiness with a lot of women here
about other women’s hair.

I do not understand: if you do not have anything nice to say or constructive, how about you shut the F up? It made me feel embarrassed and self-aware.

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5 thoughts on “I beg your pardon: Why women talk about other women’s hair behind their backs

  1. I’m West Indian- American, so it’s a whole different enviroment than Black Americans. They think you’re hair is your beauty so if you cut it off there’s nothing attractive about you. I used to model so I’m used to doing anything to my hair so when I BC’d in November and had my hair blonde people just stared; but as my hair started to grow out and coil everyone kept asking me how long do I plan for my hair to look like that? and when will I tame it. SMH. My mother is natural and she has encouraged me through this process. It boils down to how you view yourself: when you are home by yourself and you look in the mirror, do YOU like what you see? If you do, ignore the people who are too afraid to be daring and break out the mold. The problem is that we let society tell us we’re too dark, fat, kinky and we tried to change and now that some of us are deciding otherwise there will be a shift. Just do you and love it.

  2. Yeah K. this was not cool at all! It’s so sad that other women especially black women try to down each other. I would of definitely said something to her and asked her why she thought “afros were so African” to catch her off guard bet she wouldn’t have anything to say. Keep rocking your fro!

  3. Sorry this happened to you Aulelia. What’s strange to me is that this comment was made in Tanzania. What’s wrong with being African in Africa?! She and her friend were very obnoxious and it’s obvious she wanted to upset you. I think she was looking for attention.

  4. I am sorry to hear this experience. I think there is a lot of ignorant people who cannot find anything better but to pick out aspects of other people. Some people hold natural hair in a negative light and not very open to this look. Please feel that you are beautiful no matter what others may say. Sometimes things occur just to throw you off track of your focus which was for your informational interview. Odd when something like this happen right before some majorly important. Be strong and love your hair! It is cowardly of them too because they could not say it directly but did for you to overhear. Pray for the ignorant ones that they will get some enlightenment.
    Women do have issues around hair and hair styles, culturally or not.

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