BEYONCÉ has a new haircut and gossip magazines all over the globe are giving black women permission to chuck their Indian, Brazillian, Thai and synthetic hair extensions and go back to the pixie look of yester-year. Many men will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief, as we embrace the fallacy that shorter hair growing straight off your scalp (as opposed to being attached with glue or some other method) is somehow more natural than longer hair extensions.
REPORT BY THEMBE KHUMALO
I have heard people say of a woman, “She is too fake,” and on further enquiry realised that the embelishments to her hair and nails were being transferred to her character.
Even among those who don’t denigrate character there are still those who think extensions of hair and nail should be a source of embarrassment because they are not natural.
I used to be a member of this “more natural” movement until I realised that I was really just kidding myself. Here’s why:
When a woman wears foundation, it makes her skin look more even toned, covers blemishes and prevents shininess. This is not in fact, the way “natural” skin looks, but we accept that it enhances our current idea of attractiveness.
When a woman wears a padded bra she achieves the effect of a bigger, firmer, more alert bosom, even if she actually doesn’t own one, and unless we have a vested interest in her ability to feed us from that same bosom, we generally do not object.
Similarly when a woman paints her nails pink or red or beige, no one assumes she was born that way, but we accept it and even find it attractive. Even if the nail polish is “colourless”, we are well aware that no one is born with such shiny nails.
Now you may be one who believes that even the examples I have given above are unnatural and unnecessary. The truth of the matter is that as human beings, we love to embellish.
Indeed there is nothing natural about it, but if we can accept lips that glow – even through petroleum jelly – as being more attractive than dry chapped ones, why can’t we accept the extension of nails or hair as being a fashion statement rather than a statement of character?
Very little that we do is in fact natural. To bathe and lather our bodies with sweetsmelling lotion is not natural, but we all prefer it to an unbathed version that smells of the natural odour of our bodies.
To brush our teeth is not natural, but we do it everyday (well at least some of us do it everyday) and our friends and colleagues appreciate us for it.
So perhaps it’s time we shed our fixation with being natural, and started instead to simply have fun and enjoy the enormous range of options that we have made available to ourselves in terms of grooming and hygiene. After all, variety is the spice of life.