It seems there is an anti-curl sentiment out there when it comes to looking smart or being taken seriously in a job role. I have to say I was pretty shocked when I read these articles, even though I was once told that I would have to change my hair during an interview – but that was when I was wearing my hair is spikes (see here) so it’s not quite the same… I was temping after I graduated from University and the agency told me I’d have to change my hair if I wanted to get work in an office. I remember feeling pretty shocked and angry at the time, especially because I was scared about how exactly I was going to wear my hair since I’d been wearing it that way for years. I remember thinking ‘but this is my hair, what exactly am I supposed to change?’ In retrospect, I can see how the spikes might have been deemed inappropriate for the corporate world, but I still think there should be less emphasis on how someone looks and more emphasis on their skills. I suppose, like most things, people are quick to judge, especially those who don’t conform.
I still find it astounding that people view curly, natural hair in this way. Surely people don’t really think those of us with curls are mischievous, messy, artistic or in some way incapable of taking on a serious role in the work place? I was speaking to my partner last night and asked him what he thought and he said he could see how people could have that view – maybe I’m the one who’s bonkers after all. Now that I think of it, I had an interview at the beginning of the year and everyone I asked said I should wear my hair up for it as it looked more “professional”. A quick look at the 2013 forbes ‘100 most powerful woman’ list shows a mere 6% are flaunting curls – coincidence or is there some truth in these articles about the lack of curls at the top?!
All of these articles were written just last year which is quite frightening. I love my curls and I genuinely feel like they are a big part of my personality. For a month, years ago, I straightened my hair to try it out. It felt so weird, like a big part of me was missing. However, I’d never expect that its that very part which could prevent me from progressing in a job! I could appreciate it more if it was spiky green hair or a mohican that was deemed unacceptable in an office, plus I could understand if big free flowing curls are frowned upon in a kitchen or for waiting staff (as who wants to find a curl in their food, and we all know how much curls LOVE to attach and curl around everything) but deeming curly hair unacceptable for an office is just ridiculous. Am I the only one who thinks this? Do any of you hide your curly locks as if somehow your curls will take centre stage over your ability to do your job? Isn’t this 2013? In the articles there is a great response from Stevie English a hair dresser in Sydney (incidentally has anyone been there for a cut as he mentions they do curly cuts?) who writes an engaging post on ‘curly hair discrimination’ so I know I’m not the only one who thinks this is all daft. What do you think?