Updated: Jun 2
Redhead or brunette? I've often asked myself the same question. Today I was told (by a red-head) that my naturally dark hair was boring, and that life is too short to have boring hair (while flaunting her beautiful red hair). How can these people think they are better than everyone else? They are beautiful, sure they are. And they know it too. They know they have an advantage that dark-haired women don't have, and they are not afraid to rub it in your face. So what's the advantage and why? Things that are rare are valued more, so it is said. That is society's value system in a nutshell. But does that truly mean that we are less valuable because we aren't what they call a 'rarity'? Of course not! Yet, these people have internalized this. Why? They are practically worshipped in society. Heck! They even have their own conventions every year and publicity to celebrate their hair and beauty all year around. To think of it, why don't brunettes have a convention? Why don't we have our own magazines and books celebrating our beauty? It kind of causes you to have some irrational thoughts in your mind, doesn't it? This may tie into the many reasons why so many dark-haired women resort to insecurity motivating them to dye and bleach their their shiny brown locks. I plead the fifth on this one.
So why do we often feel we can't celebrate our beauty? Dark hair is just as beautiful. But it is also more common, which is the last thing anyone wants to be, especially in European society. And it can be somewhat intimidating when competing with these greek goddesses. We see it everywhere, newspapers, magazines, billboards, Hollywood, and the media all worship this rare-beauty. It does seem challenging to the common look. It has become the staple of beauty. We were taught, from a young age; that common is bad, and anyone with dark hair should lighten their hair to look more exotic and stand out. So it's no wonder we think the way we do. Many of us have resorted to self hate. Some of us give into the pressure to dye and bleach our locks so that others don't look down on us.
The comment below is a response to a video claiming that redheads are genetically superior to everyone else because they are rare. Um.... hair color does not make you more special than the next person. Just saying! It may set you apart, as well as things such as eye color, facial features, personality, ethnic mix, skin type and so on. But there are many aspect of a person that can make them unique. And there is so much more to a girl than her hair color. And yet these people have internalized this superiority complex! The comment on the bottom is proof that I'm not making this up!
We are constantly told that our hair is too boring. It's the common shaming tactic we hear, and sadly; many have fallen for it. Why do I say this? Growing up, seeing how many dark-haired women lighten their hair, even natural brunettes such as Lucille Ball and Carley Ray Jepsen have given into the pressure to conform to this mindset that red is goddess-like and dark hair is inferior, at least this is the impression that is given when we see these brunette beauties dye their hair red. It really sends a message to all of us that we must do the same thing to be attractive. And all the while you find these images running through your head saying that you are nothing if you're not like them and thinking: "I'll never measure up to this. I'll never be good enough". Ladies and gents, this is nothing short of an intimidation tactic in an attempts to shame you out of your confidence.
In light of this, why should we have any reason to love our hair? Why shouldn't we be like these celebs and dye our hair like them? Who wouldn't want to stand out and be exceptionally unique? Here is what we need to realize: there are other ways we can stand out as dark haired beauties. Something I wish I knew growing up. But growing up, there was really no one in my family to talk to about this, so for years I kind of internalized this inferiority complex. Here I am spelling it out again. Here is my story of how I overcame it. There weren't very many brunette princesses or popular dark haired female characters glorified in the media, not when I was growing up. And when they were represented, they seemed dull next to their usually light haired counterparts. They usually weren’t as cool as the red-head, so I didn’t want to be like them.
Hitting middle school age with this mindset instilled, I wanted to look like these red-head beauties with fantasy long hair. I saw unbelievable amount of attention given to these rare jewels. I wanted to be one, too. I wanted to be the next Lucille Ball. Forget being overlooked for being too average. I wanted, more than anything; to change my hair. And I was determined to do whatever it took, including begging my mom to let me dye my hair. She denied me of this for years.
After sweet talking my mother, she finally gave into letting me use Sun-In, (which is the worst thing you could do for your hair). But she would always tell me, “Your brown hair is so beautiful and soft. Why would you ever want it to change it?”
I would revert to form, “I hate it! It’s so BORING.”
When I turned 13, I started bleaching my hair red. It didn’t turn into the blonde I thought I wanted, but anything has to be better than that dreadful brown hair shade I was born with. People would ask me: "Did you dye your hair?" I would get that question a lot, though it wasn't hair dye. It was the natural occurrence of cutting away the melanin in the hair. That's what Sun-In does. It does real damage to it. But I didn't care at the time. It made me feel unique, pretty, and different. I felt special only when my hair was red. I finally was able to be what I always wanted to be.
Now I can look forward to all of the attention red-heads get all the time. “Look at me! I am unique! I am a rare jewel!”
This may seem glamorous on the surface. What I didn't realize is that the change came at a cost. Dying your dark locks requires heavy duty bleach. Bleaching your dark locks to get red hair can also make it dry, brittle and extremely hard to manage. Bleached hair is high maintenance, no joke! It will cause unwanted problems and dry hair can also make you look worse in the long run. Not to mention, when you do it long term it can also damage your scalp and your hair follicles and your self-esteem. So think before you give into the pressure to bleach your dark locks.
Once my hair became damaged and hard to manage, my mother, even kids began to tell me how ugly my hair was. It was then that I began to realize that beaching and destroying my hair was a bad idea to begin with. Aside from the fact I had damaged hair, my confidence began to spiral down even further than before. I realized that I had fallen victim to a common insecurity issue. This frustration felt by many brunette women has been growing more and more as I have seen many of them revert to dying their hair to feel like they have a sense of self-worth.
With the #RedHairIsSuperior mindset, people shed light on the glorification of these traits both in mainstream media and in real time. The Western mindset has and always valued these things more. That's the sad truth. And the mirror didn’t tell me that I had these qualities. But does this really mean I'm worth less?
After years of denial, I finally realized why I hated my brown hair. I discovered a big part of why I was obsessed with lightening my hair.
I didn’t hate it because it was a boring color. It was because I was conditioned to believe that my self worth should be centered on what society valued more.
For years I bleached my hair out of self hate, because I felt like I wasn't good enough. But after seeing the damage bleaching did to my hair and scalp I had to force myself to stop it and embrace my naturally dark hair. That leaves me with two choices. I can either hide my hair by putting a sack or a cloth over my head, or put on a fake smile and pretend to like it. Or maybe I can make a third choice. I can make some conceited narcissists mad by treating my hair like a rare gift anyhow, even if others don't see it that way. #BrunetteProblems
In light of this, are brunettes celebrated? Sure they are, but not in the same way some other people are who have their own publicity. And red-heads aren't the only people who get attention, either. We've got mixed beauty, Asian Beauty, African Beauty and Blonde magazine. We could make our own. So why haven't we? We're every bit worth celebrating, too. I know that this is a hard pill to swallow for some brunette women because we were not taught to value these things. That's why starting this journey to learn to love your hair and appearance is important. It's difficult dealing with these self-confidence issues. But now that my natural hair is finally growing out after years of bleaching, I am now beginning to understand what my mother was trying to tell me all along. The softness and shine that my natural hair had was unbeatable. I love the way that it shines in the summer (unlike my bleached hair) and people always tell me how beautiful it is when it is soft and grown out it's natural color and vibrance.
Now it’s time to love my hair for what it is – the beautiful, straight, and shiny dark cocoa brown hair that turns a little golden in the summertime. Actresses such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Ava Gardener all had dark hair, and it didn’t make them dull or boring. And they weren't ugly either. They were extremely confident and exceptional brunette beauties who embraced their dark hair. So why shouldn't I?
So now I have made an important choice. I will no longer be bleaching my hair as an act of self-hatred. Learning to love yourself and your natural look should come first before trying to change your looks. And here is the die hard truth ladies: natural beauty can come in any color.
I am just going to say this: I'm seeing a lot of dark-haired women unhappy about their looks and not wanting to have hair like everyone else, and I've been there. But let me just put something out there. It doesn't matter what hair color you have. Every human being is unique in their own way. Be thankful for your hair. You're all beautiful just the way you are and shouldn't doubt yourselves because of a simple hair color. Stop listening to the shaming tactics.
Success comes from knowing where your value comes from, not what society says that it comes from. Dark-haired women should not devalue themselves for simply not measuring up to society’s pressure to be rare.
Don't get me wrong, are there times I want to change my looks? Do I still desire that fantasy colored hair I've always wanted? Sure I do. I'm not going to lie. I just don't think that is where my value comes from. You can't measure worth by human standards. That's always a lie. And is it really worth giving up the health of your natural shiny dark hair for a lighter hair color? Take this from someone who has had the best of both worlds. It is better to embrace your natural beauty than to try to be something that you are not in response to someone else's beauty ideal. Don't let the negative opinions of others define yourself esteem or worth! Ignore their expectations and you do you!
If you are a brunette beauty, check join our new FB group, share your story, promote yourself and your unique hair shade. Remember, brunettes only! Keep it #DarkAndLovely
Also read: It’s Just Hair so why does it matter?