I think we can all agree that Michelle Obama is a pretty awesome lady. And a very snappy dresser; that woman has some serious style, man. But, talking with Baxt the other night, I stumbled upon something about her that’s been troubling me: her hair.
I know what you’re thinking. Fretting about the hair of a candidate’s wife sounds so petty and unimportant, especially when it’s a white person talking about a black woman’s hair. Perilous ground. But Michelle O.’s hair is important, because of what she’s chosen to do with it. Now, it’s her hair, so she can do as she pleases, but I think that the decision to straighten her hair has some interesting implications, especially when you consider that a lot of black female politicians opt for straightened hair, while black men seem to go for close cuts; I can’t think of many mainstream black politicians sporting natural hair front and center, and I wonder why that is.
Personally, I think this is very intriguing. Now, I’m just a white girl here, so I maybe I shouldn’t be talking, but I think it’s kind of sad that Michelle’s hair is straightened. Because, the thing is, I love nappy hair. I think that there are few things as beautiful in this world as a black woman loving her natural hair, because, darn it, black is beautiful, and those stiffly coiffed straightened helmets just make me want to cry. I love the texture of natural hair, I love the way it looks, I love all of the awesome things that can be done with it, and I love to see women celebrating their hairitage (ha ha) rather than trying to fit it into a box.
Now, not being an owner of nappy hair, I am obviously not personally acquainted with issues like how to care for and style natural black hair, and maybe it’s a real pain. But it seems to me that straightened hair probably takes a lot of work too, and it feels…sort of like a betrayal, somehow. Here we have this black family that might be inhabiting the White House in a few months, which is pretty darn historic, but Michelle O. still can’t let her hair down, so to speak. I may be talking out my behind here, but I think it would be inspiring and empowering for younger black folks to see a woman in the White House with natural hair, and it would be a nice wakeup call for white folks, too.
I note that Malia and Sasha are both sporting natural dos (which change now and then, as hairstyles do); I wish their mother would follow suit!