It’s a real thing, but women in the workforce are still feeling apprehensive about wearing their natural hair in the workplace. This, despite the huge natural hair movement that has taken place in the last 5 to 10 years. With many of the top selling natural hair companies being Black owned, the pride that comes with returning natural is definitely at an all-time high. But, what does that mean if Black women don’t feel confident wearing their hair to the place they spend the most time: their jobs?
There’s no one answer to this question. Many Black women still share stories about not feeling comfortable rocking their Afro’s, twist-outs and even protective styles like braids and faux locs at work. For every work environment, there’s a special case-by-case situation.
But, what would happen if Black women were to just walk into their offices, rocking their natural hair and keeping it moving? Yes, some of your white or non-Black colleagues may look twice at you and others may make comments. But, would a simple “Yes, I changed my hair!” or “Thank you for noticing my new hair style!” could possibly shut down the potential for co-workers and employers to shun our hair? Could just wearing our hair without any hesitation or fear actually work?
Maybe, or maybe not. Every unfortunate situation like this is different. But, what we’re trying to do here is inspire women with natural hair to go to work, confidently.
With the office space still creating controversy over our hair, the change may have to start with us. It’s not fair and it makes no sense. But, it may be the only route for us to have control over if we want to demand respect when it comes to our hair in the workplace.
So what could this mean and what does this look like? More than anything, it may look like walking into your office with your hair, confidently, head held high. It may also mean never, ever apologizing for your hair. If comments are made, addressing them in the moment without hesitation may be the ultimate way to let your colleagues know that your work is way more important than your hairstyle. Because at the end of the day, if you’re doing excellent work and working your hardest, that’s the only thing your colleagues should be concerned about.