Updated: Oct 7, 2020
In work culture, there seems to be a norm surrounding female hairstyles.
Males as well, yet there is a significant emphasis on women.
Excuse me, Google, did you say my natural hair is unprofessional? How can this be? I would follow up by saying, "It's 2020!" Then again, it is 2020. I'm mixed, mixed-race, multi-racial (insert your preferred description here, but keep it professional) woman preparing for a more appealing approach to meeting new folks and networking for business purposes. I needed insight on what style I should bring to the table. I started with a quick search regarding hairstyles.
"Say WHAT?!" Was what I said aloud when the results rolled in. My screen flooded with beautiful images of many different women of color with curls for days. I am talking tight curls, loose curls, classic curls, textured curls, and more! I thought, "Well, damn. Unprofessional? Is this how the world sees me when I am walking into it?" I went down the WHOLE memory lane and questioned a couple of corporate encounters I've had. "Was their decision based on my hair type?" My natural curls aren't a style. It is a part of who I am.
My soul broke into two. Women are already without the advantage when it comes to equity, especially in the workforce. And to learn that not only is it darker complexion that is off-putting to others, but it is also NATURAL hair. Can the world be any more disheartening?
How can minorities have fair play in a game that sets us up to lose as soon as we step into the room? If you deem me as unprofessional because I have curly hair and refuse to use heat (sisters, you know what I mean) on it to straighten it to your standards, then you are out of touch and unaware of the countless talent you will throw away based on your biases.
Don't allow your past to control your future. Make it a point to have a conversation with several curly hair people. Pick their brain on several topics. And if they step into your office for an interview, remove the Google search standard and what it had to say about their curls, and pay attention to the qualities they bring to the table. How can their characteristics and skill benefit your team? Can they be an asset?
And to all curly hair women who have done the Google search to prepare for an interview, a meeting, etc. do not be discouraged. Do what feels right for you. If that means going big with the diffuser, or tying your hair back, make sure your choice aligns with your values. You are beautiful, and that spot you are searching for is out there waiting for you: curls and all.