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Is There A Bias Against Naturally Curly Hair?

by Chelsea Castonguay
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natural curls


A recent study by Shea Moisture and the Perception Institute recently found a bias against women with naturally curly and textured hair. Over the last decade, there has been a strong trend of women with naturally curly, kinky hair turning their backs on chemical relaxers and straighteners to embrace their natural texture. As women embrace their natural hair,  they still face bias against their natural curls.

The Huffington Post collaborated with the Perception Institute and Shea Moisture launched a study to learn more about how people perceive natural hair. In their ““Good Hair Study: Explicit and Implicit Attitudes Toward Black Women’s Hair,” they interviewed over 4,000 participants. The people in the study were shown photos of Black women with both natural hair and straight hair, in addition with alternating words. The purpose was to demonstrate that participants in the study had a subconscious bias towards different textures of hair. The study determined that “a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their hair.”

The study also learned that while white people had the highest level of bias toward natural texture, people of other ethnicities also felt biased. While women expressed that Black natural hair was “less sexy” and “less professional”. However, if a woman had close interactions with another woman with textured, naturally curly hair, their levels of bias were generally lower. One in five Black women also report feeling pressured to change their hair to be more “professional” for work.

However, despite some of these negative associations, there were also positive ones as well. Millennials of all races were much more inclined to like naturally textured hair than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. Women already rocking their natural hair also demonstrated no bias towards others with natural curls.

Despite the amount of work to raise awareness and social acceptance towards natural hair, work still remains to be done. To read more about the study, click here and let us know what you think.

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