Some of the things that people choose to do with their personal appearance will drive us to personal prejudice and even evoke negative emotions. For example: facial and neck tattoos, piercings of the lip, nose and brow are probably decades away from mainstream acceptance. Hairstyles such as a Mohawk cut, spiked wedges, the
Some of the things that people choose to do with their personal appearance will drive us to personal prejudice and even evoke negative emotions. For example: facial and neck tattoos, piercings of the lip, nose and brow are probably decades away from mainstream acceptance. Hairstyles such as a Mohawk cut, spiked wedges, the skinhead, and cornrows have been around for quite a while and yet the associations are generally negative. This is not about famous people; this is about the everyday Joes’ who have to live in a world of first impressions and instant judgments. I can see where a spiked hair and the skinhead can be met with some consternation. Since the hairstyles were adopted by subversive, negative, anti-social groups. However, cornrows are a different story. If I am wrong, tell me, but it seems that cornrows on a man are met with more dismay than when they are worn by women. Perhaps braids are considered more feminine? Maybe it is the television and movie images of convicts and gang members; but that does not make sense when so many positive role models and public figures, both men and women, sport cornrows.
Going natural is a journey of sorts, and the trip can be an emotional one. Many of the emotions related to the journey center around acceptance and rejection; usually, acceptance from yourself, and rejection from others. I think most people who choose to go natural have their eyes opened to the world of first impressions or first prejudices when it comes to something as nonthreatening as a hairstyle. Stevie Wonder or Trey Songz can go back and forth between cornrows and some other hairstyle, and their celebrity status will never change. I am sure it is because it’s much easier to accept someone on the stage, than it is in the board room or the living room. However, this does not mean that in the world of entertainment, individuals are not subject to negative attitudes and prejudice. My chief question became, why are there so many people who are so judgmental and so bitter when it comes to something as personal as a hairstyle, and why are the majority of these detractors African American?
I was recently listening to a national sports broadcast and a very prominent sportswriter who happens to be African American. The subject of discussion was the chances of the defensive coach for the Arizona Cardinals (an African American) getting hired for one of the vacant head coach positions in the NFL. This sportswriter went on a mini rant about the coaches cornrows and how if he wants to be the face of a billion dollar franchise, he better change his hair style. In fairness to the sportswriter, he has been supportive of NBA player’s rights to wear tattoos and braided hair. His take on the whole thing is that he sees cornrows as something to be worn by youngsters and wearing cornrows was beneath a man so established in his professional life. (I assume) that he thinks one day we all put down our childhood ways, and dress like a mature adult.
The coach in question is 54 years old. His cornrows are always neat and his hairline trimmed. His braids reach shoulder length. He has a full head of hair, and I see nothing wrong with his braids at all. I got on the phone and on Facebook, and I took a survey of around 50 African American males ages 32 to 55. I purposely picked men who were accomplished, active, and guys that I knew kept themselves in decent shape. Their occupations ranged from healthcare professionals to school teachers to local politicians. I asked them if they believed that they could duplicate their same career if they had worn cornrows. The only one who felt that they would have was a radio disc jockey. I asked them if they would consider wearing cornrows now or in the future, and if not, why not? The majority said that they felt it was a young man’s hair style. Many said that cornrows and braids took too much time to keep well maintained. They felt that they had too many things going on to sit around and get hair braided. About five men saw the process as a whole lot of needless pain for a hairdo. I fell into two categories, for me, I do not want to spend a lot of time on my hair, and I am tender-headed. The last time I had my hair braided, it was so tight, I could not close my eyelids for two days…
So for most mid-life men, it is the perception that cornrows are a young man’s game, probably best left behind in the twenties. I am really interested to know how the women feel about this. If you are a woman who would date a man in his mid 30s to 50s, how do you feel about that man wearing cornrows?