I’m part of a Facebook support group for curly and wavy hair and about two months ago, a user announced that someone hiding behind their computer said the shittiest thing and called her hair an unattractive mop. My heart sank reading that line. Soon after, many others were sharing their similar experiences of being mistreated and made fun of simply because their hair texture was different.
Although the words of her internet bully tore our hearts apart, it was the same thing that united all of us together as we reminded our fellow curl friend that she’s indeed beautiful inside and out.
The worst thing anyone has ever said about my hair was labeling it as “jenky” (read the definition of jenky or janky on Urban Dictionary). At one point, my hair was also called “nappy.” All these name callings were at a time in my life when I didn’t know how to care for my hair when it became curly in college.
To make matters worse, my mom would constantly ask me why I wouldn’t invest my money in getting my hair permanently straightened. She felt that straight hair would look much more beautiful on me compared to my natural texture. Living in a non-curl loving culture is really what took me so long to embrace my naturally curly hair. Essentially, my lack of knowledge and encouragement fueled my insecurities for the worst.
How to deal with mean things people say about your personal appearance
It’s never easy to handle rude comments that people make about our whole beings whether it’s about our physical appearance, our opinions or even our feelings. We’re constantly being judged by someone else on top of being our own worst critics. I personally have seen how bullying can affect other people’s lives and since high school, I’ve vowed to stand up for others as best as I can in times of need. So whether you’re looking for ways to combat real life curly hair haters, want to be a helping hand to one of your curl friends or are raising a child with curly hair, here are some tips with how to deal with negative comments made about curly hair.
1. Give them the benefit of a doubt
Is it the first time that this person has made the comment? If so, then you might want to give them the benefit of a doubt. Maybe, just maybe, the comment wasn’t meant to be offensive. However, if the person makes the statement again (or others like it) then you should definitely keep reading for additional tips on how to deal with repeat offenders. All tips in this article are just as helpful for first-time offenders if you feel compelled enough to correct an action that could potentially turn into a learned habit or learned behavior. Save someone the trouble of having to go through what you’re going through, as well as embarrassment on the joker’s end.
2. Ask them to repeat their comment.
Was the comment really meant to be offensive? Here’s the thing: you’ll never know until you ask! Create dialogue by asking, “What do you mean by that?” This is a specifically good way to pop the question. By doing so, your speaker will get the hint that you’re not a fan of their comment after posing a question asking for better clarification. It also puts your speaker on the spot forcing them to stop and think of how they’re going to justify why they said what they said to you.
3. Provide insightful feedback
Let’s say for example, someone said, “I think that straight hair looks better on you.” A perfect response for you would be, “How would you feel if I were to say that a part of your natural appearance doesn’t look good on you?” This implies that you interpreted their statement in such a way that was hurtful and will alarm your speaker. Sometimes people need direct feedback in order to understand your point so shifting the conversation and the statement towards them may be helpful.
4. Give them a nonverbal “NO” or tell them that what they did or said was “NOT OK”
Whenever I feel as if someone overstepped their boundaries, I’ll tell them right away that what they’ve done is “not cool.” This will immediately show your speaker that they’ve crossed the line and that you don’t feel good about their statement. Will it make things uncomfortable and awkward? Yes, and that’s exactly the type of impact your speaker needs in order to understand that the words coming out of their mouth isn’t OK!
5. Ignore them
Know of someone who’s repeatedly trying to bring your spirits down? Two words: IGNORE THEM. Research states that one of the greatest mental tortures a human being can experience is simply being ignored. I’m not promoting that you should develop a sense of pleasure out of voluntarily torturing others by ignoring them. At the end of the day, someone who is ill intentioned is bad for your health and is NEVER worth your time or energy. So, go ahead. Put them on mute and silence the heck out of them. Block them if you have to.
6. Join a support group
Yes, I’m here to tell you that support groups for your hair texture exists! I’ve mentioned this a couple of times in previous videos and blog posts, that I’m part of a few private Facebook groups. It’s one of my favorite places to be on the internet nowadays. Not only do I get solid advice and ideas from my fellow curl friends, but everybody in these groups are so eager to help one another! Sometimes we’ll share progress photos and let me tell you, it just warms my heart to know I can interact with people who understand both my frustrations and successes in my curly hair journey. I’ve made friends with quite a few people in the group so if you’re looking for a safe space, a support group is valuable and time well spent.
7. Follow/interact with a blogger or influencer who advocates for curly hair
This goes back to my previous point. The internet has been a beautiful source of connecting with other like minded individuals. I’ve noticed that a lot of people love to document their curly hair journey progress on social media. Some people even blog about it. Connecting with someone who covers a very niche topic might be a great avenue for you if you want to speak to someone individually. This may be a less intimidating route for you if you prefer a one-on-one conversation.
If someone doesn’t like your natural beauty, that’s their problem and not yours. What’s the shittiest thing anyone has ever said about your hair or your appearance and how did you deal with it? Share your experiences by commenting!