Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rant: Inclusivity and the Natural Hair Aren't the same thing, Popsugar

In confusing news today, apparently Popsugar has a problem with the natural hair movement. But no, it is not what you think. Popsugar's beef is that Asian Women weren't included in the Natural Hair Statement, because their hair was slightly curled.

You read that right.

In the video found below, originally posted to the Black Girl With Long Hair site, we hear the Popsugar team out, and, quite frankly, get equally as confused as the writers of BGLH.

Here is the video:

See what I mean?

My first question, as it is with all mostly white social sites, blogs, and companies that dare open their usually unprepared and ill educated mouths up to discuss matters of cultures that they themselves don't usually belong to or even understand is this: "Where was their Black friend to tell them this was a bad idea? Or their Asian friend for that matter?"

I mean seriously, a little research, or some simple Googling would have saved Popsugar some embarrassment from two different cultures. Facts are that there aren't any Asians who are complaining about the Natural Hair Movement, or the fact that the models in the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Models of Asian descent had a few curls tossed into their hair for the show. Truth be told, all of the models probably had something done to their hair before the fashion show, because, well, its a fashion show!

Here's what Popsugar missed by not doing their research:
A) Black hair has always been taboo, especially here in the USA. There was a time in this country when Black Women were FORCED to wrap their hair or cut it because it was deemed unacceptable by popular culture (i.e. white people). That is why the Afro in the 60's and 70's was so revolutionary. And that is why the Natural Hair Movement is to revolutionary today. The Natural Hair Movement was created for Black Women by Black Women in a culture where, yes, even today, Black Hair is still deemed taboo and Black Women are still being told that their hair is unprofessional (even being fired for it!). The Natural Hair Movement combats that by teaching women to love their natural tresses, and, in turn, to love themselves.
B) The Asian community has largely benefitted from the love straight thick hair. Our culture normalizes, and in fact, embraces, looser, straighter hair. If you don't believe me, take a trip to your local beauty supply and ask the store clerk which type of hair is the most popular. 9 times out of 10, its long, and definitely straight.

Even still, I do see the issue raised within the video, and that is one of inclusivity. Asians, like any other ethnicity, should be portrayed and portrayed fairly, in media. Its not fair that they feel left out of the diversity discussion. The whole point of inclusivity is to include everyone.

However, I have a problem with lumping concurrent inclusivity movements together (i.e. All Lives Matter) and then pitting them against each other, like this Popsugar video does. If Asian inclusivity in media was the problem, then why not simply make a video on that? Why not talk about those actual media outlets guilty of not being inclusive or worse, being outright racist? Why sit the entire problem of Asian inclusivity on the Natural Hair Movement, a movement that promotes Black Beauty and that, truth be told, that no Asians really even want to be apart of?

Why mix up two different cultural movements, the Asian Inclusivity in Media Movement and the Black Natural Hair Movement, both that ultimately point (albeit from two different directions) that there is not enough diversity or inclusion in general?

Why create a problem where there is not one to begin with?

And apparently I am not alone. Check out some of the comments left on the PopSugar Facebook:

Asians as a group are ethnically very diverse. Indians Chinese Koreans Japanese Thai Vietnamese Pakistani etc - with their own individual ethnicities. So which Asians were you trying to target with your ridiculous bullshit?

“I’m a mixed asian, Filipino-Jordanian-Syrian, and almost all videos like this only consider fair skinned, almond-eyed asian women who looks like Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. If a movement should start, it should represent the diversity of the entire Asian continent. Mongolians, Indonesians, Indians, Vietnamese, etc.”

"This is blatant antiblackness & misogynoir. You cannot empower Asian women at the expense of black women. Take this video down, it's embarrassing."

"You offended Asian women and Black women with this tired ass reach. Asians aren't a monolith and don't as an entire community face the same natural hair issues Black women do. Try harder Pop sugar."
“No no no. On behalf of the Asian community, I’d like to state that we actually are not angry or even worried about this. Our hair texture is so common, straight or curly, and nothing special. Sometimes I don’t have to do anything to it after a shower. Let the women who are shamed for their natural hair, and the women who were made fun for their natural hair, take a step up. Let them have their victory and feel beautiful. This video is shit. No, we Asians are not hurt by the choice of women with natural hair on the show.”

Popsugar must have taken note, because, while the video remains on their Facebook Page, it is not on their website. Interestingly enough, there is a piece on Natural Hair at the Victoria's Secret Show, but even that piece makes no mention of the aforementioned video.

What are your thoughts? Lets talk! Comment below!