It's all about Self Acceptance

March 10, 2021

Bald black woman

Words like self-love and self-acceptance are so overused these days, they’ve become somewhat diluted. As the mindfulness industry continues to grow, so does the marketing behind it. When a social media campaign or hashtag becomes more about resonating with audiences to drive impressions, the real message behind words like self-love, can get lost.  

When we talk about self-love, what does that even mean? Some of the most confident looking people in the world are probably some of the most insecure, so how can we really know what ‘loving yourself’ should feel like?

As someone who has spent a lot of her adult life feeling insecure, inadequate, and consumed with imposter syndrome, I refuse to feel ashamed to admit that finally, I like me. Sometimes love, but let’s be honest, if anyone ever looks in the mirror and sees nothing but perfection inside and out, they’re not in touch with reality. 
shaved hairstyles for black women
As a dark skinned, black, woman of African heritage with afro features and body shape, everything about my physical appearance (especially when growing up), is the opposite of the ‘beauty standard’. Yes, this is changing and diversity within the fashion, beauty and entertainment industry is so much better, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

Four years ago, I shaved all my hair off (blogged about it here). On top of the layer of being a dark-skinned black woman, I also stripped away (or should I say shaved away) another crucial female beauty expectation - hair. When I shaved mine off, I was in the final stages of self-acceptance. I’m still the person who loves wigs, makeup, cute clothes and nice nails but, I am also the person that can walk out of my front door with a bald head, no scrap of make up on, and still feel good (like I did here). I feel like I’m in the small group of black women who can proudly rock their bald look, while continuing to wear wigs. 

The natural hair movement is so aligned with black pride and black empowerment, wig or weave wearing is deemed as the opposite. Many in the natural hair community believe that black women who wear wigs or weaves are mainstreaming, or trying to fit with white culture. There’s even the perception that women who wear wigs/weaves are high maintenance or ashamed of their black heritage. So… what if I do both? Surely, the hair movement for black women should be about choice? 

One of the things I love about black women’s hairstyles is versatility. We can chop and change from day to week to month - natural, straight, curly, braids, long, short or shaved. I love being able to look completely different with the change of a hairstyle or in my case, a wig. No matter what style we wear, surely all of it should be celebrated if we're equally proud to wear our natural hair out too?

Bald Black Woman

In a world where black women are still demonised, fetishized, perceived to be ‘less than’ and seen as ‘unattractive’, we are constantly swimming against the tide of feeling true self-worth. I’ve been very lucky to be brought up by parents who always gave me the ‘you can do anything you want’ armour. But, the external influences can be so overwhelming, it often leads to self-doubt. When you put what we’re up against into context, hair should be about choice. To wear what you feel comfortable with and what makes you feel good. 

Getting to the stage of self-love is when you can authentically be yourself. 
There’s nothing more attractive than a person who knows who they are, stays true to who they are and doesn’t feel like they have to apologise for it. For me, self-acceptance is a combination of being ok with the core of who you are, while caring less about what other people think of you. I refuse to join a camp or conform to what’s expected of me. I will wear wigs when I like and rock a shaved bald head when I like. Women who look like me, regardless of what society projects, are one of the most beautiful in the world. No matter what hairstyle we choose to wear.

I loved the Gal Dem article by Maria Edaferhoro where she dives into this topic saying " the question now is why do “we” wear weaves and wigs as opposed to why do black women specifically wear weaves and wigs? And the answer is pretty simple: because we can. But unfortunately, the natural hair movement sometimes fails to recognise how having a choice influences our hairstyles by focusing too much on hair politics"
Bald Black Woman

Make no mistake, it’s taken me a really long time to get here and be in this place. But now I’m here, I’m celebrating it. Of course, there will be insecurities, and no one is ever at 100% when it comes self-worth or self-love. This is will always be ‘work in progress’. Acceptance, however, is a destination I have arrived at. And it feels good.

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  1. Really enjoyed this blog Isa. It's like you've found your voice as well as your self-acceptance. And I agree with you, being able to change your hair daily is all part of the fun. Once upon a time perhaps we were conforming to ideals but I think we've taken back out power and now women who can't change up their hair as freely as us are envious! People always say that to me anyhow... 😂


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