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The Issue with “Love Your Curls”

The Issue with “Love Your Curls”

You may have seen the video above floating around on your social media newsfeeds. It’s a part of one of Dove’s newest campaigns called, “Love Your Curls.” The campaign seeks to inspire curly-haired women and girls to embrace their hair texture and to encourage other curly-haired women and girls to love their hair texture too. In the video, young girls from ages 5 to 11 talk about why they don’t like their hair texture and some mention wanting straight hair. Family members of the girls come together at the end to sing “Love Your Curls” as a way to encourage the girls to love their hair.

I think this campaign is great because it is a small step in breaking down the Western beauty standard of straight, blonde hair. However, the ad falls short for me. It would’ve been nice to see more young girls with kinkier hair textures. There are White girls in the video who have what I, and most Black women I know, would consider “wavy” textures, not curly. Some of the girls of color in the video also have a looser curl pattern that is considered more “acceptable” to beauty standards. I am not saying that some girls with these hair textures do not have personal issues with their hair. It’s just that girls with these textures do not face the degree of discrimination that kinky-textured girls historically face. Kinky hair is often viewed as dirty and unkempt. Women with kinky curls are also more likely to be told that their hair is unprofessional for the workplace.

In recent years, the natural hair movement has been making strides to show that kinkier textures are beautiful too. Women, including myself, have decided to stop receiving chemical relaxers to straighten their hair and have chosen to rock their hair just the way it is. It seems that Dove is riding the coattails of this movement without actually including girls and women who this movement is mainly targeted toward. What are your thoughts about the connections between beauty standards and hair texture for women of color? Have you seen efforts by other companies to expand what is beautiful, regarding hair texture?