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  1. #1
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    Default Forced to relax my hair

    Hi!

    I'm almost 21 years old and my mother is forcing me to perm my hair. In her defense, she pays (a lot) for my education and if I weren't living on campus I'd still be under her roof.
    My mom has never made me feel ashamed of my hair, but I'm looking for my first serious job and she believes that the clients I will be working with won't accept my (admittedly wild) natural hair. I have no arguments there, and I have agreed to straighten my hair (although I'm deathly afraid of losing my curls to heat damage) but I really really really don't want to start perming my hair again. I relaxed and straightened my hair for the good majority of my high school years, and when I decided to stop I dealt with stringy don't-wanna-curl-for-nothing hair for years. I finally have hair that I love and accept and it'd kill me to have to go through the battle of getting it to curl on it's own all over again.

    My mom thinks that everything will be fine because she has a perm and wears her hair curly and it looks beautiful, but I can't seem to convince her that we do not have the same hair. Her argument is that it would be too difficult to straighten my natural hair, but even when I was getting my hair relaxed it would take me hours to straighten it all because I have so much.

    When my hair is wet and I detangle with my Denman, my ends spring up into the tight little corkscrews I've grown to love, but the middle is frizzy and not as defined. When my hair dries, it all looks uniform but the top section of my head remains frizzy. Certain sections in the back of my head are the opposite: when wet, the roots are more defined and my ends still look kinda stringy until they dry into curls. My mother claims that this is because the bottom portion of my hair is still permed, and that we could get a 'baby relaxer' and only relax the top portion of my head to get a uniform texture. I'm not convinced.

    How in the world am I going to convince my hell-bent mother not to perm my hair?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Forced to relax my hair

    Question: how is your mother "forcing" you to perm your hair? You are 21 years old and I'm guessing perfectly capable of not going to the hair salon if you don't so wish. Unless she forcibly takes you to the salon and straps you to the chair, all illegal I should add, she can't make you get a perm.

    I reread your post to see if I missed whether or not she threatened to cut you off should you not acquiesce and I see no such statement so in reality, what you are saying is that your mom is pressuring you to get your hair permed but again, you don't have to relent.

    My guess is you've been trying to convince her of why you don't want to get a perm, or maybe you are still not certain about your natural hair and she is preying on that, but it may be time to put your foot down and say that no, you will not get a perm or straighten your hair. No arguing, no justification as to why, because that's when you crack the door open to counter arguments. Tell your mom that you will not perm your hair and you will no longer entertain her arguing the point. If she tries again, you can't stop her from speaking, but you don't have to join in. Walk away if you have too, don't respond to emails, texts or PMs where she wants to engage you on the topic.

    Since you are a grown woman, unless it's a matter of immediate life or death situation like get out of the way of incoming traffic, she can only make suggestions about how you live your life.


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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Forced to relax my hair

    Please, don't get a perm because of your mother. Only do if it is what you want, but you are here so you obviously don't . You seem to have the mentality that what your mother wants for you is what you should want, even if you don't desire it. This is a fast-track to unhappiness. My mother does not like that I keep my hair at a 1/4 inch and natural and I am 26. When I am 56, she will still be expecting me to keep her desire over mine, but phuck that. I have had to try hard to reverse this as it is not a healthy thing to do. You say "in her defense". Why defend her if that's not what you want? It is irrelevant how much she pays for your schooling or board or food or anything else. Your body is yours; what you do to it affects you first and foremost, not her or anyone else. You live on campus, so you have freedom not to hear the noise.

    How is your mother going to perm your hair for you? If you do not desire it, it cannot happen. It is your hair, please wear it as you please. You are 20 now, so you are old enough to discard the idea that what your mom wants is more important than what you want. Let us prioritize our well-being and happiness over others who want us to change or fold to their ideas for no good reason. Your mama is simply perpetuating what she learned and passing it onto you. Accepting it is optional.

    Please don't think I am being harsh . I have too much experience with this same thing. I am giving up the need to convince my mother of the good in what I want. If I wait for her approval, I'll wait until forever.


    What is "admittedly wild" natural hair? You mean "4d" hair? I have that, got a job with it, I see people with this hair getting a job and working. Many people here are professionally successful nappturals with fulfilling careers. Your mama has internalized some of the myths of natural hair. Is it that you are having trouble finding a style that is appropriate for job interviews? If so, I urge you to get a pank membership and peruse through all the pics people put up. You may find something suitable and easy to do.

    If your mother continues to bother you about this, and you live in the US, tell her the shitty state of this economy will hamper your job-search efforts much more than the state of your hair .
    Last edited by Ororo; 09-16-2015 at 04:30 AM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Forced to relax my hair

    Force? It's not like you're 5. You can make hair decisions @ near 21. There's nothing to convince... just stand firm. What's the worst your mom will do... not pay your tuition because you accept what's God given? What I suggest is experiment with natural professional hairstyles, and include your mother in the decision making. You stated you wear wild hair. Maybe mom isn't convinced on the styling methods.

    I understand some parents are stuck in their ways... mines went from add a relaxer, let me put a comb in it.... to ooh, I like what you're doing. Your mom is concerned in professional settings... which is understandable... especially when there's less naturals and/or raised with the unkempt theory. Be a visual representation and just maybe she'll back off or convert.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Forced to relax my hair

    Co-signing everyone who said she can't force you, a grown woman, to perm your hair.

    Also, define "wild." I'm sitting here with mostly-4b hair that I've worn in a variety of styles for the 20 years I've been natural and I have NEVER had a problem getting or keeping a job because of it. For most of those 20 years I've been in IT, but it's only been in the last year or so (with my current job) that I can say I'm in a true Silicon Valley-style casual work environment.

    I bet I'm your mother's age or close to it...I got a lot of side-eyes from black women over the years for wearing my hair natural. Today some of those same women are wearing weaves to hide the damage done by years of perming...but I digress...

    When I went natural I'd already been in the work world for 8 years. If you're just starting out and you're worried about looking professional a TWA will work perfectly fine for any environment. Alternately, if your hair is long enough, you can stretch it with or without heat and wear it in an updo. There are plenty of YouTube video tutorials available. Good luck!
    It's 2020...do you know where you're going to?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Forced to relax my hair

    It's hard to explain the relationship I have with my mother. I'm an only child and she's been a single parent since I was about 6. She made the choice to keep even after finding out that my father was unfit and she would have to raise me by herself with no financial support. Its been me and her for as long as I can remember. I feel like I owe her a lot, but as many of you have urged, not control over my life or hair.
    Honestly what some of you are saying is a strange concept to me, my mother has always made it clear that as long as I'm under her roof I'm to do as she says and I guess there's a part of me that still hasn't grown up yet. I would feel differently if I were on my own and providing for myself, but again, it's my hair and it grows from my scalp.

    But anywho, here's what I plan to do based on your suggestions:

    - Show her some youtube videos of women straightening their natural hair
    - Show her some professional styles I can wear without straightening my hair
    - Scratch my scalp on a regular basis and tell her I'll die if she gives me a perm

    By wild I mean shoulder length/bsl 4a&4b hair flying all over my head (do you measure the length by when it's wet or when it's dry? ). The bigger the better During an especially busy week, I like to wake up for class looking like a frazzled lion and just leave it how it wants to be.

    Thank you all dearly for telling me what I needed to hear!

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Forced to relax my hair

    Trust me...there are a lot of people on this forum who understand your situation.

    You can show her the videos if you want to, to reassure her that it's the 21st Century and there are lots of naturals who are working professionals...but you still need to do what's best for YOU. If you want to keep your natural hair texture, keep it. If not, straighten it. Either way, it has to be YOUR decision, not hers.

    God willing, you will have plenty more years with your mother and plenty more life decisions she's not going to like...
    It's 2020...do you know where you're going to?

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