Something that has come to my attention only recently within the curly community, is the negative portrayal of curly hair on tv shows and in movies. It’s honestly something I hadn’t even thought of until I read similar responses to the idea from several people I follow on social media. Although I’ve noticed for years how curly hair wasn’t being recognized in a positive light in any scenario, I had never thought back to childhood shows and movies. Often, they would portray some form of character development that consisted of the female protagonist, undergoing a makeover that would change her image to what is considered beautiful and worthy of people’s attention.
It’s only now that I’ve seen those thoughts being put into words that I realize how much I was cheated by the movie "The Princess Diaries" for example, which I watched over and over as a kid. I thought back to how the stylists had Mia sit in a chair and detangle her hair dry, and her hair was so tangled that the brush got stuck. They cut and shaped her hair, did her eyebrows, and expected her to act like a “proper lady.” Although Mia didn’t have my same 3A/3B curls, she sure did have a mass of wavy hair on her head which I would have compared to my own waist length curly hair that I dreaded having to detangle and loved having straightened as a kid. Thinking back to that scene with Mia only brought back the haunting memory of my own while at the salon where the hairdresser detangled my hair dry- which is extremely painful and NOT how you detangle curly hair.
All of these makeovers and transformations always start off with a girl with “messy” or “unruly” hair that can only be considered beautiful and acceptable when it has been straightened. It’s only then that the girl can be accepted by others and be considered worth anyone’s time. What kind of message is this sending to other young girls? How can they learn to advocate for themselves when they’ve had this idea of what is considered beautiful to be something they have to change themselves to achieve?
The message behind these kinds of transformations needs to change. Curly hair is beautiful too and it does not need to be changed or “fixed.” Even further than that though, ALL types of curls with ALL accompanying frizz and differences are beautiful. Defined curls and frizzy curls must be appreciated and acknowledged with the same respect.