The Weave or No Weave Debate from a Male perspective

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Black women have always embraced weaves and hair extensions of all kinds, from sew-ins to long braids. In Kenya, braids can be spotted on every 5th woman on the street. Why do women put on fake hair? Is it for ease? To look good? To not have to bother to do your hair every morning? To make yourself feel more beautiful or desirable? I do not think anyone can ever answer this question.

I took to asking a few of my male friends and relatives their thoughts on the WEAVE. By weave I mean sew ins where fake hair is sewed on onto your own hair to give the illusion of having long luscious locks. I do appreciate men in all manner of ways and having brothers has made me very conscious of what men think of women and also me. The question I put forward to my male peers was

"Please leave me your thoughts on weaves on women (in this case beautiful black women)

The responses were varied and quite interesting:

My dear cousin said "Never ever will I take a dendai (woman/girl) wit weaves"

"I like the natural look"

"Weaves are a crime against humanity, Yuck!! Double Yuck!!"

My dear little brother said "It's like a man putting a cucumber in his boxers, and that weaves are buying into what other people think is beautiful"

"I do not like them one bit, real hair is better even if there is none of it"

" I would go for natural beauty any day but if it is what the girl wants, I'll let her do it but I am not for it.

My very poetic friend said "I think weaves give ladies more options on how they can look. Its a good thing to be able to stretch possibilities and creative ones at that. The problem checks in when 1) the bleeding weave is done badly 2) The bleeding weave does not suit the woven head and 3) When women become overdependent on them to the point that they cannot live without an akamba basket underneath a growth of hair that never grows. Its also sad when a lady stitched purchased strands on her head and expects me not to know it: to the point that my girlfriend will not let me stroke her head, I mean Gaddamit!!! Wear your costume with pride; I know its not your real hair daughter of Africa with a Chinese looking crown of glory (u feel me?) My take is this, I prefer not to have a wife who rocks manufactured headgear meant to resemble hair, But if this wife is one that I love and adore and she is of the disposition that synthetic products are a necessity but her attitude and character is tip-top, May she wear the strands of fiber with pride as long as she is confident enough to let me stroke her sweet head anytime i feel the urge to without pretending that I do not know her true crowning glory resembles mine untouched. And I hope for heavens sake she chooses one that suits her bone structure and that a trained specialist executed the work of attaching the factory made strands of deception onto my Eve's head. Amen!"

My dear brother Arnold had this to say
"i'd be happy for you to post my name. lets see weaves on women, question, What happend to ur au naturale? anyway what you have on your head looks good on ya. it depends really, some weaves are incompatible with the wearer. like blonde and red on a dark skinned mama. i understand having a weave on makes the hair a bit more manageable, i have no beef with that. its all a matter of personal taste really..."

My booboo said "It's possible for a girl to look good with a good weave. Very rarely do Kenyan women rock a good weave. My guess is that firstly, those Abuja, Lagos, Ibo, my broda hairs that I see (wait! Are those weaves or braids) are of the, er, low budget variety. Half the women I go all googly eyed over in music videos have someone elses hair on their head. It's more than likely I wouldn't be goin,'fall back mami' if she wanted to, you know. So Kenyan girls buy crappy ass weaves and get em done by crappy ass salonists! Yup yup. Natural hair looks good on a natural African woman: case in point, Nyash.

As I said I did get quite a wide variety of views on the matter of weaves he he. I think most Kenyan men are not impressed with the low quality weaves that girls in Nairobi rock. To get a good weave however is really expensive in the range of Kshs 5000-Kshs 10,000. This may not be to everyones budget but I think if your gonna rock a weave..rock a good one.

My brother mentioned a point that really hit home for me, that by wearing weaves African women are buying into what other people think is beautiful. African women have always been made to feel that their natural kinky/coily hair is not beautiful enough and that the white womans aesthetic is superior which is false and misguided.

I have not exhausted my thoughts on weaves in this post and I think I have to do another post soon.

I ask you now...Weave or No weave?

Happy hair growing

kinky_lockz said...

i loved reading this post. i'm the only gal among boys too and they say the most interesting stuff about hair and everything in between (straight talk, no sugar). for whatever reason, dudes wanna be running their fingers thru our hair and why lie, i like it too :) hand in hair syndrome and a free head massage!!! In my opinion: it's more important to have 'healthy' hair practices than a certain type of style. VARIETY is nice BUT it bugs me when extensions or weaves/wigs are used ONLY as an excuse to be lazy... they should be utilized to avoid over-styling and maintain length. yes, we have chill days (we aren't paid to look good yall and nobody's a video girl 24/7). on the other hand, one should still moisturise and cleanse their hair and scalp especially. as far as weave or no weave: rock the look that matches your swagger and fits your lifestyle and keep it polished whether its wild n free or up in a ponytail. for me though: i can't stand looking 'cookie-cutter', i get bored easily (braid extensions barely stay in), and i don't have money for some indian virgin human hair #1. by the way, is it me or do weaves need a lot of maintenance? hmmm, i think if i did it mine would start to look jacked up quick and i just fear the itchy scalp :/ haha ok essay done. you really got me excited about part 2. blessings x

nana said...

The problem is not the weave... its that black women are made to feel inadequate because our hair is really different from other races... I went natural like 4 years ago.. and so far I like it... Its really liberating though I sometimes I miss my super shiny super dark permed nywele

I enjoyed reading this post because most black women say they do it because men like it.. and really they don't so if you are doing the weave... do it for yourself and make sure its descent... or just braid your hair to give it a break (thats what I do)

thanks for posting and ask your poetic friend if he's single :) ha ha

Nyashy Washy said...

@Kinkylockz and Nana thanks a bunch for the comments

As I mentioned in my second post on weaves, weaves can be great protective styles if only you make sure to take care of the hair under the weave and that includes deep conditioning and moisturising.
The issue of women using weaves to be lazy is a sad but true fact and its easy to slap on a weave and forget about your hair but its your hair that will lose.

@Nana...Its so sad when black women are made to feel inadequate because of the beautiful manes that they have...My mission is to make women especially African women appreciate their hair and love it

As for my poetic friend, I shall find out hahahaha

Anonymous said...

shut the hell up!!

Anonymous said...

living in Kenya it was the most natural thing for me to wear weaves, braids, relax my hair and change my hairstyles every 2 wks untill i moved to EU, had to learn how to do my hair on my own and after all the struggles i would get comments like " you have a new hairstyle" instead of "your hair looks great" to a point that made me feel uneasy. Was sick of all the explanations " you know actually this is not my real hair, my real hair is very coarsy and hard to manage and the water here makes it even worse, so i opt for false hair and thats very normal for african women." So i opted for braids, they are easy to maintain, am never scared if my husband wants to run his finger through my braids and they look so African!

But on the other hand i believe that our diverse hairstyles are part of our African culture and maybe we shouldn't abandon them just to fit in. We are creative by nature and we have the right to express it through our hairstyles.

Come to think of it, why does the mankind wear clothes? Who invented them and why? Why is it considerd not normal or illegal to be a nudist? Why don't we just stroll down the steets on our natural birthsuits? Maybe this are the same reasons the African Woman wears her weaves and braids, thats what makes her her. African hair is not the easiest to handle but SHE MAKES THE BEST OF WHAT NATURE GAVE HER.

Nyachomba Kariuki said...

@MsAnony, Thank you for the comment. I totally understand how hard it is to take care of your hair especially in the EU where the seasons can wreak havoc on your hair. Braids are Godsend in such situations.

I totally agree with you about diverse hairstyles being part of our culture, Africans should definitely appreciate this. However Weaves become a problem when ladies wear them because they are unhappy with their hair texture and would much rather look to western ideals of beauty to fit in! I greatly disagree with your argument about walking naked and hair, You cannot possibly compare weaves and clothes. I am not against weaves and this is evident from this post,

Weaves and Braids do not make the African woman and I think the African woman has a lot more going for her and she is beautiful no matter what kind of hair she has, weaves, cornrows, braids, twist outs, braid out, flat twists and afros.

Cynthia said...

thats a great post!!! we'll keep our weaves,since most of our hairs cant grow that long..i always say if you're going to put one,ask for professional advice,and get an expert to fix it.and finally enjoy yourself,i know i did the first time i put one on,after that,its been great "how do you maintain such long hair" comments from random people...then they find out what it is,and they are impressed...

Anonymous said...

Interesting post! Weaves are not the problem, it's the attitude people have towards them. I see them as an option to change up your style not a permanent replacement for styling or caring for your own mane. If overused, you could end up with traction alopecia, i.e. hair loss coz of all the tension on your strands.

@Ms. Anonymous in the E.U., I agree with you that caring for your own hair in a different country and climate is hard but with time and practice it can be done. There's so much info on the internet now.

@Cynthia, there's a misconception that African hair cannot grow long. I happen to have known girls in high school who had long hair (around bra strap length). Most of them don't have it any more after perming. Of course genetics play a part too. I think we all just need to be more gentle with hair care practices.


Katey said...

I just came across this post and I have really been on the fence in the whole weave debate. I've had a weave done once for a wedding because I knew my natural hair wouldn't stay put the entire day. I spent a pretty penny but it was done well and it helped my hair rest...anyway i think the point is if its done well then they have their function. then again if a woman feels she needs it to look good then by all means let them. The extremism of questioning a woman's decisions because of how she wears her hair is unfair to be honest. otherwise this argument may as well be extended to corsettes and padded bras. we all have an aspect we augment/downplay/misrepresent. I think, if its done la weave.

Anonymous said...

I genetically have good hair; grows really long, is soft, thick, lots n lots and when wet curls nicely......hmmmm now let talk about managing this blessing. It tangles easily, when i sleep its a pure mess, when washed takes half the day to dry, n as it dries thru out the day,the bushier it tell me why i would not want to keep this locked up, tied up n far way from my precious sleep time. i would have to lose 2hrs of sleep to dedicate it to my hair...every blessed morning. I am not hair, am not my skin, i am the sol that lvs within. So look beyond the choices i make n really look at me.

Anonymous said...

Really now, I personally think that most Kenyan ladies are misguided by their salonists who prtend to know whats the newest weave in town. Some end up looking like they "wore the weave backwards," oops! my bad. Weaves, I mean good weaves really don't end up on the kawaida lady's budget as u say but i believe if you gotta wear one, atleast wear something that does'nt make you look odd- something that goes with your skin color and the shape of your head. I too have had my good share of male counterparts who believe in women rocking their natural hair but at the end of the day it boils down to the point where our Kenyan women ain't really that ready to lose their weaves so we gotta deal with it somehow.

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