Is there a social cost to going natural?

An article published by Sociological Images argued that the reason women spend so much time on their appearance is not a nature versus nurture argument. Rather women experience more social costs than men if they have not properly groomed themselves to meet society’s expectations such as loss of a promotion, rejection by a lover etc. Hence a woman’s decision to spend more time on her appearance to avoid these costs.

While reading this article I wondered about black women like myself who are transitioning to more natural styles (unrelaxed strands).  Since blackness already falls short of the current beauty ideal, will hair styles that show-off our natural texture put us at a greater social disadvantge in comparison with our relaxed or weave-wearing counterparts? I remember watching an interview by Chris Rock for his film Good Hair. He was asking a group of college women about the decisions they made about their hair.  One relaxed nubian told an afro-wearing young lady that although she thought her hair was cute, she would never hire her for a job if she came strolling into an interview with that hair.

Okay someone might argue that an Afro is not really corporate or professional hair. (Maybe this is another post topic: What is corporate hair for a naturalist?) But what about twists, bantu-knots and the respective “outs” of all of these styles? What about braids, locs and hair pulled back into puffs? I have always gone into an interview with straight hair or with braided extensions.  To a certain extent I do believe that wearing my hair in a natural style might pose as a disadvantage in the hiring process.  Is this a perceived costs or has someone experienced not being hired because of their hair?

I also wonder about black models and actresses where physical appearance plays a huge role in the hiring process. Do they get more jobs and make more money if they sport the silky, straight flowing strands?

What about relationship costs? In one blog entry on CurlyNikki.com this lady who had transitioned to her natural curly locks claimed that she received less attention from guys. Has anyone lost a lover due to their decision to wear their hair natural? Do men perceive afro-textured hair as less attractive, less feminine? Would they end a relationship if a woman chose to wear her hair in natural styles?

Please post your answers,  experiences and opinions below.

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