Your Curly Hair is Unprofessional

Every so often I am an enemy to the women around me. I don’t want to be, I want to be part of the sisterhood. I want to give more than I take and I want to make everyone’s life a little easier. Well, today I made my daughter’s life more difficult. In fact I’ve been doing it for years.

We were talking about our hair and which products to use. We have very similar hair, it’s thick and it’s wavy, threatens to curl and if you treat it wrong it gets really frizzy.

While I was talking about hair I mentioned to her that people might see her as unprofessional if she doesn’t blow it out straight when she’s looking for work. I told her that it’s not the right thing but it’s the way things are when you’re an adult.

Here’s Jane’s hair:

And here’s my hair┬átoday as I’m blogging. No makeup and with my wavy but not quite curly hair. It’s my natural state, this is what I look like when you run into me around town. This is how my hair would look if we were having a meeting or a cocktail (or a meeting over cocktails – even better).

gottlieb jessica

This is what I look like after I’ve shot a TV segment

bio pic gottlieb

If you ignore the war paint (and I swear they put on the makeup with a spatula and a garden hose) I’m not convinced that the TV hair looks that much better than the every day grocery store hair but I know that it’s the hair that says, “Trust me. I’m on TV.”

Granted TV is different but if I’m going into a meeting do I have to blow dry my hair for 45 minutes to be seen as professional? Shouldn’t 15 years of success in business and a couple of degrees get the job done? Why do I have to ruin my hair to be taken seriously? Am I being taken seriously without a blow out? Maybe I have it all wrong.

I apologize for not going on TV with my curly hair. I apologize for not using curly haired headshots. I’m going to fix that.

I’ve been told that my hair is wild and that it reflects on my personality. My answer to that has always been, “Thank you?”

When Jane was a toddler the lady down the street asked me why I didn’t blow dry her hair out so it would be smooth. I regret to inform you that I didn’t have an answer for her. I just sort of stared at her with a droopy jaw and a quizzical look on my face.

What if I’m African American? Do ladies with kinky hair have to use hot combs and chemicals to land a good job? Don’t answer that. It’s too depressing.

Why do we have to be slaves to our hair to be seen as competent when we don’t work in a beauty salon? Why have I allowed myself to be part of the problem?

 

 

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  1. As a black girl with natural hair…this is very comical. It’s been said that natural hair is deemed unprofessional in the “corporate” world. I’m not even talking Angela Davis “Black Power” 3 ft tall Afro hair, either. Apparently, natural or curly (in your case) is not considered a “polished” look….but we’re people, not shoes!

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