'You Can Touch My Hair': A Short Film Worth Watching

Senior Digital Projects Editor

I'll be honest: I know very, very little about natural hair. The mindless criticism of Gabby Douglass' hair during the 2012 Summer Olympic games gave my my first glimpse into the frequently controversial conversation. Like many Olympic spectators, I had a hard time understanding why people were spending more time talking about the young gold medalist's bun than her record-breaking performance.

My education continued in our most recent September issue, in which Megan O'Neill, our associate beauty editor, wrote a piece about her own decision to go natural and the growing number of black women doing the same. Finally, while at an airport this summer, my friend was stopped by a TSA agent. The reason? Her hair (which is natural) was wrapped and the agent said it was "too bulky" and needed extra attention. All of which is to say: it doesn't take much to see that there's a lot more to a black woman's hair than meets the eye.

Cut to this morning, while doing my usual rounds of the internet, I found this short two-part film that examines natural hair and culture. A few key takeaways—many of these women were raised to believe their natural hair was wrong, improper and unkempt. Obviously, being taught that your natural self is socially unacceptable is incredibly harmful and, in a word, dangerous. Some of the women in the film share stories of people either touching their hair without permission or talking about touching their hair without permission. Imagine you're standing in line at Chipotle when some stranger behind you decides to just run their hands through your hair? Insanely bizarre and incredibly invasive, without question.

The film is about 20 minutes long and both interesting and enlightening, so watch it and educate yourself a little bit.


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