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Natural Hair and Its Issues in the Workplace

Still wondering why having natural hair in the workplace is still a problem? Yeah, us too.

Earlier this month, the Perception Institute released the results of a study confirming that black women with natural hair recieve bias from their counterparts at their business.

It was called the “Good Hair” study and it was done with a popular natural hair company named, Shea Moisture. Teen Vogue got to speak with a few women on their struggles to be treated fairly, just because they wore their natural hair.

Latasha W., a professional living in New York used to do a trick with her when going for jobs. She said, “straight hair for the interview, natural once you’re in the door.” She said before she moved to NY, she would get a lot of rude comments in regards to her hair being “unkempt”, but since she’s moved, NY is definitely embracing the natural hair movement more and more, look at the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. But of course, there’s still a long way to go. With everything that happened to her in the past, Latasha says she has a desire to be more of her “truest self” to her employers.

Dina S, an Ivy-League graduate, dermatologist in private practice, also in NY, says she gets irritated when some patients with “hair loss who a wear a different hair style I do, suggest that I am not able to help with their problems because of my natural hairstyle. Would the same standards be applied to the competence of a man, or a person of another race, who also chose a different hair style for themselves?”

Ariel W., a finance professional was told during her college career that women’s hair just needed to be “well-kept” and that they “didn’t tell women to NOT have natural hair, they inferred that it should be straight.”

Once, she had a coworker tell her that her hair looked like Krusty the Klown from The Simpsons in front of a room full of people.

Many of the women who spoke on this matter explained that some of them were judged by their hair and it made them less of a “moving” force or were told that they were unprofessional because of it.

But just because all of this mess is occuring, women shouldn’t feel ashamed to embrace the hair that is literally growing out of their scalp. The new generation of women coming in are making it known that there is nothing wrong that, will be the haymakers. Some women don’t want to straighten their natural tresses, and some go to wigs and weaves, and that’s okay too. But always stay true in your stance, and sometimes, you have to do what’s needed, but never feel like you’re not enough just because of your hair. Your hair does not define who you are. One day, this will be a thing of the past.

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