Whether you've decided to do the big chop and get in formation with #TeamNatural or you've been walking on the kinky side for decades, all naturalistas can agree that there are a lot of people that make assumptions about you based on your hair.
Whether there are 8 or 800 -- with bright double-ball elastic holders tight at the top and butterfly barrettes bouncing at the bottom or with cobalt blue yarn woven throughout -- braids are, and always will be, a definitive symbol of black girl culture.
Though we've made great advancements over the last few years, Brazil is still a very unequal and racist country. And the story of black women in Brazil is also the story of my life, although I have been more fortunate than many.
I call the defense disturbing because it is unsettling that we have to constantly go to great lengths to explain, support and justify the hair that naturally grows out of our head. I'm am over people calling natural hair "edgy" and "different." I'm abstract because I don't grow straight hair?
This type of hair-bullying is not just present in the media. It is present in our homes as learned self-hatred manifests in comments to little girls with looser textures that they have "pretty hair," while little girls with kinkier hair textures are told that they have "bad hair."
I have a four year-old and a one year-old and I can't imagine putting a relaxer in their hair because, like most kids their ages, they are busy-bodies. My mother relaxed my hair when I was four years old and my sister got her first relaxer when she was three. It really boggles my mind now.