Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fashion Icon - Hair and All

When Barack Obama became President last November who would have thought that Michelle Obama's hair would become a point of contention for African American woman. Like a mother who has trouble letting their child go, it seems that the First Lady becoming a fashion icon has ruffled some feathers. Her stylish and trendy hair and clothes are perhaps too stylish for some, lamenting she has forgotten her heritage. On the other hand, people were shocked seeing the First Lady wearing shorts (too casual for a First Lady) lamenting she forgot she was the First Lady. It seems the First Lady cannot win. But for most Americans, she has exquisite tastes, with rarely a miss that ALL Americans can be proud of. She is an accomplished woman who graduated from two Ivy League Schools, and is a wonderful role model for all woman regardless of their background.

From Time Magazine:

Many Americans have dismissed this hair hubbub as simply more media-driven noise — like the chatter about Michelle Obama's sleeveless dresses, J. Crew cardigans, stocking-free legs or, for that matter, recent (shocking!) decision to wear shorts in the Arizona heat. But for African-American women like me, hair is something else altogether — singular in its capacity to command interest and carry cultural baggage. Her hair is the catalyst for a conversation that begins with style but quickly transcends outward appearance and ultimately transcends Michelle herself — a symbol for African-American women's status in terms of beauty, acceptance and power.

The choice many black women make to alter their hair's natural texture has undeniable historical and psychological underpinnings. It has been attributed to everything from a history of oppression and assimilation to media-influenced notions of beauty and simple personal aesthetics. But one thing is certain. For the many who wear straightened styles like Michelle's, the decision is deliberate, and the maintenance is significant.

A growing community on sites like urges black women to reject curl-relaxing methods, calling them "taking the easy road" and "conforming" to white aesthetics. To read the entire article click on this link.,9171,1919147,00.html?iid=tsmodule