Yeah I remember that instrument on the stove burner in the picture all too well. I never understood why mothers, including my own, would fry, burn and cook their daughters’ hair in an attempt to make it look like someone else’s texture. I remember back in the day to have straight hair was a symbol of beauty, and today, all I can say to that is dang we were really messed up.
As a child after all of the fighting and yelling about “Let me get the kitchen,” I was often told I looked pretty and my hair did to. Sometimes I wondered what I looked like before with the hair God gave me.
When I was in grade school, before the two perms, two weeks apart, that changed my hair texture, my curls didn’t need straightening to look straight. After a wash my hair straightened naturally. That’s just how it was. After a shampoo no one believed me when I told them I did not get my hair straightened. For a special occasion or family trip my mother would straighten my hair and it was always a production. “Do you want your hair to look nappy?” as if that was a really bad thing “Yes” I would respond without hesitation.
I remember grown women from the neighborhood would be happy to volunteer to straighten my hair as well as my friends’ hair. They would pick hair that wasn’t there on the back of our necks just to bring the hot comb close to the skin so we could feel the steam. So mean. This made the process of achieving “beauty” painful and scary. I wonder if that experience had an effect on us girls today. What do you think?