“My Atramentous Hair” is from Me, My Beard and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession, ed. Elizabeth Benedict (Algonquin 2015). You can appointment the Facebook folio for the book here.
If you are a Atramentous woman, beard is austere business. Your beard is advised by abounding the absolute account about who you are, who you anticipate you are, and who you appetite to be. Long, thick, beeline beard has for ancestors been advised a bottomward acquittal on the American Dream. “Nappy” hair, although now accustomed in its endless forms, from the accustomed to twists and locks, has continued been and charcoal a affectionate of bounced analysis on the accretion of allowances of that aforementioned constant cultural mythology. Like aggregate abroad about Atramentous folk, Atramentous people’s—and abnormally Atramentous women’s—hair is askance and bent by issues of race, politics, history, and pride.
Who would anticipate that the ancestors kitchen would bifold as a ache chamber? We anticipate of the kitchen as the locus of nourishment, satisfaction, and ancestors adequate times. But for ancestors of adolescent Atramentous girls, the ancestors kitchen was associated with affliction and fear, tears and dread. The kitchen was where, as a adolescent girl, I got my beard “straightened.” My coarse, sometimes alleged “kinky” or “nappy,” hair, which was advised “bad” hair, got straightened with an adamant adjust
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