In light of the recent discussions on texture discrimination, there has been a recent surge of kinky haired love in the natural hair community. Whether it’s temporary or for the moment, it’s great to see support rather than shade thrown at women with kinkier textured hair, such as favorite lists that celebrate kinkier textured bloggers, which hopefully serve to inspire kinkier textured naturals. For example, one of my favorite natural hair bloggers on the African continent, Aisha of My Fro and I, very kindly recently included me in her list of 5 Fave 4C Vloggers, which was reposted by Hype Hair Magazine. Now it would be great if we could get to a point where we don’t need separate lists for “Top Natural Hair Bloggers” and “Top 4C Natural Hair Bloggers”, but until then, it’s a good thing that more intentional representation is currently on people’s radar.
However, I’ve been struggling to balance my personal views on the futility of hair typing with my repeated categorization as a 4C hair blogger.
When I was featured as a BGLH hair icon last October, this was my response to the hair type/texture question:
How would you describe your texture?
I: After serious reflection, I don’t think hair typing is the most useful categorization, but most charts put my hair in the upper 4 range. I have coarse, densely packed strands that really like to shrink up like it’s their job, and medium porosity. I definitely have kinks and coils, not curls.
The post’s title ended up being “Ijeoma // 4C Natural Hair Icon,” even though I said that I don’t hair type. BGLH does not always use letter type in their titles, as there have been multi-textured icons, or just natural hair icons. I completely get it for blog categorization purposes, it’s useful to create a tag or category so readers can easily access posts about people whose hair they feel looks most like their own. And I’m not saying I have beef with BGLH, they’re my peoples – I’m just saying that they labeled me 4C when I didn’t ask to be labeled as such, similar to Aisha.
Now it’s one thing when other people apply labels to you, but what happens when you want to join a community of like people but you don’t like how the community is named? I recently joined two natural hair blog networks for marketing, networking, and support purposes – you may have seen them added my sidebar in the past few weeks – The Natural Hair Blog Directory and 4C Hair Chicks. Despite a few days of internal conflict, I joined the 4C Hair Chick Media network, which offers a great deal of advice for bloggers about promotion, audience growth, etc. It is obvious that this is the premier online community for kinky textured naturals – all the current kinky hair fanfare that may fade into oblivious shortly has been 4C Hair Chick’s mission for years now. This probably only further confuses the issue of me preferring not to label myself, or anyone else, with letters and numbers. On the other hand, the Natural Hair Blog Directory has four categories that bloggers can self-select into – Wavy, Curly, Coily, and Kinky Hair . While submitting myself to the directory, there was a question about hair type, but it was open ended, so I was able to bypass the hair type picking debacle and write just kinky.
Even though I don’t personally believe in hair typing, I realize that some (if not a majority of) naturals use it to categorize their own hair, and to find bloggers with hair similar to their own. The question is, do I write to people to ask them not to label me 4C because I don’t believe in it, at the expense of missing out on reaching potential new followers who are exclusively searching for 4C hair bloggers? Or do I participate in the 4C hair community knowing I can pull and contribute resources while overlooking the politics of hair typing?