I Am, I Know

I’m (Not) Sorry If My Hair Offends You

I’m on the left. If my hair offends you, I’M GLAD.

It’s not unusual for me to get enraged watching the news or reading the newspaper. There’s just so much stupidity in this world, it’s hard not to.

And so, just this afternoon, I stumbled upon an article (if you can call it that), in Melbourne’s The Age.

Curls: shabby or sexy? (Yep, the big issues).

Here are a few pearlers from the piece:

“Curly hair is, by its very nature, unpredictable and untamed, which business specialists insist reflects poorly on the professional, however well dressed.”

“Casual is not an image pursued by corporate headhunter Rose Filippone, who spends “quite a lot of money” having her head of ringlets polished and smoothed. “I have never seen a corporate man – a CEO, a director, a financial controller – with curly hair.”

“Filippone says curly hair looks unkempt. “The person may not be, but would you walk out of the house looking like that? Not if you’re in a suit. We’re not DJing. Let’s remember where we are. It’s not allowed. It’s the unspoken rule. Men do it quite well.”

And this, from HR executive Louise Adamson: “It’s part of the corporate image. Curly hair is always going to look slightly messy unless you’ve got a hairdresser walking behind you with a comb.”

I just don’t know where to start without being incredibly offensive or swearing my mouth off.

I understand that this article may grate at my core more than that of others – it’s no secret I have curly hair – but it’s also terrible, lazy, bullshit journalism.

I love the occasional lifestyle piece in my newspaper. In fact, the only reason I even buy the newspaper anymore is for the lifestyle lift-outs on weekends, but I’m not sure utter trash like this qualifies as lifestyle.

It’s pure and total crap, complete anti-curl propaganda.

The reality is, curly hair is beautiful. I’ve never been ashamed of my curly hair. Nor, I should point out, has my curly hair restricted me from advancing in my career. Just this afternoon on Twitter someone told me that their Senior Manager in Banking is a woman with curly hair – that’s also dyed pink. I’d love corporate headhunter Rose Filippone to cop a look at her.

“Articles” like this just perpetuate the myth that every person with curly hair is a free-spirited hippie, and people with poker straight hair are stone-faced, heartless monsters.

What I’d like to say to “journalist” Natasha Hughes, Rose Filippone and Louise Adamson is this; IT’S FUCKING HAIR. Most of the population has it. And it can’t all be the same. There’s different lengths, and thicknesses, and colours, and styles, and textures. IT DOESN’T DEFINE US. OR THE WORK WE DO.

We were born with it and to suggest that the follicles on our scalp outline the rung we can take on the career ladder is a FUCKING JOKE.

It’s ignorant, biased and completely stupid. And so are the people who believe it, or are martyrs to their straighteners living in fear of it.

Guess what? I have a hairy dog, too. SUCK ON THAT.

I’ve only ever been told how lovely my hair is, not unprofessional or untamed. Adamson’s suggestion that my hair is “always going to look slightly messy” has actually made me develop a slight twitch.

Curly hair might not be easy to manage for those with very little idea, but for those with some smarts, it’s a simple matter of finding the right technique and product. I spend very, very little time on my hair. It gets washed and styled. Not combed or straightened. And it always looks good.

Perhaps Adamson should spend less time on her own head of hair, and more time partaking in intellectual activities. And as for Filippone, maybe she should invest more of her money in learning how to accept and love what she’s got, than trying to be something she’s not. And Rose, love, I walk out of the house every day with my curly hair. And I’m no DJ.

I’m quite happy to fly the flag for the curly-haired folk of the world – maybe if more people were less ashamed, these kinds of articles wouldn’t get published.

And maybe The Age needs to start seriously thinking about their relevance and outdated business-model in an ever-evolving world and addressing issues like their dwindling readership and general public apathy amongst Melbourne readers, before hitting the publish button on articles that are further tarnishing their masthead.

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26 thoughts on “I’m (Not) Sorry If My Hair Offends You

  1. Cal W says:

    I have curly hair, I hate having curly hair (I don’t hate curly hair, I just hate it on me), but I agree that this article is an absolute joke. Good Journalism in the mainstream is dead.

    • You’re exactly right, Cal, and it’s really quite shocking. I really respect what you said – I actually think straight hair looks funny on me, but if people choose to straighten their hair, that is completely their choice. But the sentiments in that article are just plain ridiculous.

  2. This is a fantastic piece! I was at a conference in the UK earlier this year. A woman presented a paper about black women and their hair, and how their hair and skin colour affects their body image. She talked about how employers believed a woman’s curly Afro style hair was limiting to their career because it was apparently unkempt. This saddened me, to think that a trait inherent to race and genetics can influence career progression. I have short curly hair and I get sad that magazines don’t cover styling tips for us girls, amd spend so much column space about how men don’t like women with short hair. Meanwhile Michelle Williams with a pixie cut is my girl crush.

    • Thanks heaps, Carly. I agree – it’s really quite sad how curly hair is deemed hard to manage, or uncontrollable. At the end of the day, it’s about being judged on looks – and that’s never right or fair. It should be skill and competence, not straight or curly!

  3. Yes! These articles get recycled ALL THE TIME. Curly hair is not unprofessional. Curly hair is awesome. I have curly hair and love wearing it both straight and curly but it’s my choice and irrelevant to my work skills. The only difference is I’ll be 15 minutes later to work if I straighten my hair.

    • Before I knew how to wash, care for and style my hair, it sucked arse too. I’m proud of my curls. I don’t assume everyone needs to be, however. But I don’t think articles like the one that appeared in The Age are healthy, at all.

  4. I don’t have curly hair, I have hair that kinks easily, so I might wake one day to half a head of waves and the other half dead straight. If a boss can’t accept my bed hair, I don’t want to work for them. And yes, this article is ridiculous. Hair straighteners are for people who iron their underwear.

  5. CurlSalute!! From one who has alternated over the years, I am now BACK and, once more, embracing my WarriorWoman currrrrrrls!! Beautifully articulated, Sandi – I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article 🙂

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