Yesha Callahan

Too Black For Corporate America?

One of my favorite woman magazines has always been Glamour. Mainly because it always had great product reviews and realistic & affordable fashion choices. Their articles always highlighted diverse women, from the grassroots protester to women in corporate America.
Recently I came across an article in American Lawyer in regards to a slide show that was prepared by Glamour magazine. The slide show was presented to a group of attorneys and it was in reference to the “Do’s & Don’ts of Corporate Fashion”.

“First slide up: an African American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the ‘Glamour’ editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was ‘shocking’ that some people still think it ‘appropriate’ to wear those hairstyles at the office. ‘No offense,’ she sniffed, but those ‘political’ hairstyles really have to go.”(American Lawyer)

What was ironic about the meetings attendees, was the fact that there were about 6 or so female attorneys, who happened to be black and also some sported natural styles. I could only imagine the disdain on their faces!
Now, why is it after all of these years, natural hair styles are called ‘political’? Is it politically correct for me to want to lay some lye on my hair, sizzle it to make it straight? I’ve worn my hair natural since my freshman year of college and have not had any problem in the corporate arena as far as my hair being under scrutiny. I’ve rocked mini-fros, curly fros, kinky twists, blow outs, just about everything except cornrows and never once has anyone ever looked at me out the side of their eye, until recently.
A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to straighten my hair, so I could gage how long it was and to get a trim. On a Monday morning I walked into my office and the first thing my coworker, who happens to be of Indian (red dot) decent said to me was, “Wow, you look so much friendlier!”. I looked at her like she was crazy. After she deciphered the look I was giving her, she tried to clean it up, “Well I mean, the straight hair makes you look more youthful!”…(insert foot into mouth, b/c although she’s 27, I look ALOT younger than her). I was pretty much done with her for the day after those comments.
In any event, if women want to wear their hair natural in Corporate America, that should be their prerogative. There’s nothing dreadful about dredlocks, there’s nothing “unruly” about naturally curly hair, and if you think a relaxer is something that’s needed to fit into what Corporate America has deemed ‘acceptable’, well you’ve been LYED to.

 


  1. September 3, 2007 - Reply

    great blog. i found it by clicking on next blog! 🙂

  2. September 12, 2007 - Reply

    Political??? WTF? I woulda sculldragged her and gotten fired yeah but it would’ve felt REAL good. B*tch!

  3. December 16, 2007 - Reply

    wow, that co-worker is a real loser.
    the best thing to say is
    how long have you been in America to say (and believe) some jacked up mess like that?

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