Natural Sunshine, a popular youtibe vlogger, is completely correct; just like with any other person, it is irresponsible and unprofessional to roll out of bed and expect others to be receptive of that choice. However, with professionalism comes the responsibility of knowing when the presentation of oneself is neat and kempt and when it is not.
Sunshine, the vlogger, makes the point that hairstyles play a factor in what is considered professional; although she uses a lawyer just as an example, I would like to think that any lawyer will already know when he/she does not look presentable and alters her look to be so. Any person of powerful standing will not deliberately neglect their presentation because of the extreme likelihood of it tainting his/her credibility.
With that said, "afro puffs" can still be considered professional as long as it is presented in a neat manner, like the picture to the right for example. She even has a "flower in her hair" and looks stunning. Even a mohawk, as Sunshine so blantantly critiques, can just as well be presentable, just like the picture to the left. These are not exceptions; they are examples that fit the criteria of a "mowhawk" and an "afro puff." African American women have done a phenomenal job with exceptional detail to make their hair "acceptable." This video makes an excellent point; however, I was troubled with the limits Sunshine puts on what is considered professional and what isn't. It brings me back to the "do's and dont's" from the Glamour magazine staff who state that deadlocks are "dreadfull."
My point is this: professionalism, in a sense, is relative, relative to what an employer is looking for, relative to what an African American woman can provide. If an employer views professionalism as straight hair and lighter skin tone, her skin color alone will not fall into the company's spectrum. My study looks into the depths of what is related to professionalism with the mindset that African American women have already done all they can by raising the bar with neatly coiled locs, dreds, mohawks and afropuffs (to name a few).
I am in love with this mini documentary. I was drawn to this because it is a roundtable of what looks like my peers. There is a lot within this mini-documentary that I willl raise attention to as the foundation of my later research.
The creators of this documentary start off by asking young adults: "what is the ideal anchor?" This question was prompted after numerous discussions of news anchors and their prefered hair style. They introduce briefly the example of Melissa Harris Perry and her braids, and another African American news anchor that decided to keep her hair short and natural. Some of the responses from young teenagers were that an ideal anchor has "natural hair", must "look professional", be "very good looking," and have "blonde hair and blue eyes".
Professor Yanela Gordon from Florida A & M University brings up the point that "...we have been the antithesis of beauty and that was created in order to create an inferiority complex that was required to enable slavery to work." This very statement shows why going natural has been such a revelation, because going against this "created inferiority complex" and embracing the very thing that was used against us, creates an assumption, historically supported, that there is a rebellion soon to come.
In actuality, from my research, the process of going natural has been provoked by the sole purpose of having healthier hair. Weaves tend to pull on the scalp, making it scarce; chemicals feels like "its burning through your cerebral cortex" as Oprah puts it, and the struggle for conformity just isn't worth the sacrifice.
Another important aspect of this documentary is when the roundtable shows that "the first step is people becoming more knowledgeable in what black hair entails." I'd like to emphasize this because in order for this complex of sterotypes--- such as afros starting a revolution, dreads being dreadful (refering back to the Glamour Magazine Staffer), and chemically straightened hair having been "white washed"--- we must all understand that this is all just, in fact, a set of stereotypes. Melissa Harris Perry ends her segment with "...when in doubt, of course, the best course of action is to understand a black woman by what's in her head, not what's on it."
Above is a vlog of a woman who has been given an ultimatum to either cut her locs or lose her job. She explains the importance of her hair as it is a part of her culture. If I understood correctly, this woman has been hired for this loan company she works for before the grooming code of conduct to not have locs was implemented. Due to the fact that she is the only one with locs from that company, it is safe to say that this code was implemented and singularly put in place because of her.
I found it relevant to find a video of locs being discriminated against in the workplace because I'm sure I will be incorporating many of these cases in my methodology section. Dredlocs have been targeted with natural hair discrimination from the Fed-ex company, Six Flags, to the Airforce (as my previous article within my article bibliography section introduces). Dredlocs is another form of natural hair which falls under the spectrum of my research.
Dredlocs are a commitment which Ashley Davis has devoted 10 years of her life to growing. For the company to not value or care to value the culture of her hair that means so much to her, even after providing the credentials to effectively do the job, is not acceptable. What I am having a problem understanding is if the company guidelines fall so heavily on hair, then this guideline should have been implemented before she was hired. If she did not initially fall under the category of professionalism they were looking for, it would have been professional to notify her before the job was offered.
However, my research will not focus on why they did not turn to a professional approach, but why, in fact, do African American women face such havoc based on their locs to begin with? Why is it considered unprofessional? Why is this discrimination supported? This video is a great segment of what is soon to come.
Above is a vlog of an employee who expresses her emotions about her new manager who forces her to continuously alter her appearance. She complies to an extent by wearing make-up and high heels, but throughout the course of this managerial change, she has been approached by an assistant manager who inferred that she should change her natural hair style. He approaches her by first stating that in "a man's point of view" she looks "butch" with her cornrows. For those who are not familiar with the term, "butch" is associated with masculine traits, usually used against women to infer that she looks like a lesbian.
I am immensely troubled with the approach this man made for the following reasons:
- The idea that she is expected to change her appearance because it does not appeal to men is troubling in and of itself.
- He deliberately chose to include "in a mans point of view" instead of directly stating his point of view that he belives she looks butch. By associating his belief with all men, his intention was to present her hairstyle on a larger scale, that he cannot be the only one that could feel this way.
- He states "it's not bad, but it makes you look butch." Bad, in this context is relative to "butch." If the hairstyle was in actuality not considered bad, he would have no business speaking with her on the matter.
I can go on to analyze the offensive approach of this assistant manager, but I'd just like to focus on the point I made to incorporate this video, which is to introduce an example that many African American women face with their natural hair in the workplace.