Yesterday, I read a piece on CurlyNikki.com titled ‘A Plea To End The Black Barbie Doll Look’. I noticed absurd fallacies throughout the article. The whole piece suggests dark skinned Black women choose to wear weaves for approval from the White mainstream, or worse, self hate. While it is unfortunate someone who has never lived as a dark skinned woman automatically jumped to these conclusions, it isn’t uncommon.
The misconception is that Black hair has to be short and kinky. One thing that really makes Black people magical is the diversity in our hair textures and colors. STRAIGHT, LONG, OR BLONDE HAIR DOES NOT BELONG TO ANY RACE! Therefore, it is extremely inaccurate to assume we wear weaves because we “need” them. We choose hairstyles based on what makes us feel good. I love my natural hair, but I also enjoy the ability to be versatile. Contrary to what that article is suggesting, my hair being straight doesn’t diminish my blackness. The first thing people will always see about me is my dark skin, regardless of how my hair is styled. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The narrative that Black women are the sole users of hair extensions is widely perpetuated. This trope is both tired and boring. Kim Kardashian can have a blonde bob on Monday, black, thigh length hair on Tuesday and nobody will ask questions. White women often wear hair pieces because they aren’t satisfied with the thickness or length of their hair. White women also perm and dye their hair all the time. The second a Black woman doesn’t want an afro, all hell breaks loose. If natural hair is your preference, fine. Don’t force it onto everyone else. What’s worse is that 90% of the time, we are getting this hair hate from our own people! It’s time to end this nonsense!
We should teach our daughters to do what makes them happy. Not to look down on women that choose a style that differs from theirs. She doesn’t have to conform to anyone’s standard of beauty but her own. Furthermore, there is already a huge disconnect between dark and light skinned Black women primarily due to opinions like the one in Erickka’s article. Why weren’t light-skinned women that adopt these hairstyles included in her “plea”? I wish she’d focused more on the issue of skin bleaching. Even an open letter to Mattel and other doll makers would have sufficed. Instead, we were given a half baked, personal attack on dark skinned Black women by someone who was ill-equipped to make the argument.
As a child growing up in the 90’s, I had more than my share of Black dolls. My favorite was the Generation Girl Barbie, Nichelle. She was beautiful, with short, kinky hair and brown skin. There are even more options now. It takes a quick Google search to find afro textured dolls on Etsy. Also, NaturallyCurly.com has a list of brands that sell Black dolls. Purchasing a doll just to cut the hair off seems extreme in this day and age but who am I to judge?