We have to break from following only Eurocentric standards
In a recent Twitter post (now deleted), a user asserted that wearing braids is not appropriate or classy enough to wear for special occasions, such as birthdays.
The comment that thousands of users have since condemned opened up an interesting discourse on Twitter. There is an overlooked issue surrounding the continued correlation of Eurocentric beauty standards with classiness, instead of more traditionally African styles.
Eurocentric styles have always been pushed as the standard of beauty, whether in the presence of white people or even in the comforts of our communities. Think about it. Every Easter, you’d find yourself in the living room chair the night before Sunday morning service, having your hair scorched to achieve the perfect silk press. It’s no surprise that we strived to have straight hair for special occasions. Even as children that’s what was associated as being the most put-together and “classy.”
This is not at the fault of our parents. Rather, it is a form of assimilation. Even in 2021, we have a need for the CROWN Act: a movement that seeks to protect Black people from racial discrimination based on hairstyles in the school system and the workplace. This deep-rooted issue has caused a great deal of discrimination towards natural hairstyles such as braids, Afros, curls, twists, and locks.
The braids vs bundles on your bday debate is so funny because you know EXACTLY why braids aren’t seen as cute, sexy, or dressed up.— Aerin Creer (@FromAerin) April 16, 2021
It’s the same reason why ya mama would press your hair before Easter, why natural girls straighten their hair on prom. You know WHY.
Although we would hope that this narrative would shift, this archaic standard has been indoctrinated into our daily practices in more ways than one. The “bad bitch birthday” aesthetic is not only limited to impeccable lace fronts and slayed 30-inch ponytails. It’s open to all forms of beauty, incredibly inclusive to intricate styles such as braids and locs. These styles’ beauty is endless, and shouldn’t be written off as unacceptable for our special occasions.
Special events shouldn’t be texture biased. We shouldn’t feel like we have to wear our hair straightened for formal events rather than rocking our textured fros. And we most certainly shouldn’t feel ostracized for wearing braids at OUR birthday celebrations.