Thursday, 27 September 2012

In Review: ISIS Magazine's New Website

ISIS Magazine launched a new website a few weeks ago and I was so impressed by it, I just had to review it.

The beautiful editor-in-chief of ISIS Magazine
Seeing the face of the editor of a magazine is priceless. How many magazines show their editors? We now know who the editor is and what she looks like; this is someone who definitely knows what she's talking about!

The different sections of the magazine.
These sections stay the same in every ISIS Magazine issue (as far as I know). You don't get surprised by a sudden change in content and you know what topics to expect. You also get to build on whatever you learned from the previous issues.

The models from Issue One; they're absolutely stunning! 
Interested in knowing who the Issue One models are? You get to check out who they are and what they do! There's no anonymity and there's no detective work needed to find out who is who, which makes everything a little bit easier!

Good quality charts to help you care for your skin, hair and diet.
I like the availability of these charts. They serve as a guide for skin care, hair care and diet. I will definitely buy one of these charts, particularly the skin chart since I need a lot of guidance on skin care.

You too can get involved.
Not many magazines give their readers the option to contribute. ISIS Magazine values their readers and want to know what they have to offer! You can share your expertise, talents and ideas.

The ISIS Magazine website also has a 'Hairstyle of the Week' section which is very useful if you're stuck on natural hairstyle ideas.

On the hair page, you find different categories which go into more detail about Afro-textured haircare.  The information is bullet pointed and written very clearly.

The information on skin types is very well detailed but also short and concise. The information is also well organised and easy to navigate.

Not many people regard food acidity as an important factor in maintaining their health. Many people also have food intolerances and allergies.

The food alternatives page is great. It shows a bullet pointed list of food and oral care alternatives. Tom's of Maine toothpaste is one of the non-fluoride toothpastes listed, it's my absolute favourite!

The lifestyle section offers great tips for life in the workplace, physical exercise, mental health and spirituality. Again, the information is very clear and concise.

If you're like me and sick and tired of the stuff MTV and VH1 puts out there that they class as 'music' then you may love this section. This section features poets and vocal talents; those discovered and those undiscovered. Get listening!

ISIS Magazine also provides a fortnightly newsletter. You can stay up to date with ISIS Magazine as well as news and events in the community.

Bits of ISIS Magazine Issue One
I reviewed Issue One here. If you want to download this issue or even get a hardcopy, you can get it directly from the ISIS Magazine website.

ISIS Mag hardcopies distributors.
ISIS Magazine is available in Japan! Hopefully we'll see it distributed all over the world very soon!

What I love the most about the ISIS Magazine website is the presentation. The font is easy to read and very clear. The colours of the website is very attractive. The pictures are also of great quality. The website is easy to navigate and has everything you need to know about the magazine as well as the information ISIS Magazine loves to share with its readers. ISIS Magazine have done a wonderful job with their new website.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

I was nominated by The Braunsugar Blog (honestly one of the best hair blogs out there). Thank you ^o^

7 Random Facts About Me:
  1. I am a huge lover of tea and coffee... basically hot beverages. I love green tea and chamomile tea. I love cappuccino's and latte's. 
  2. I am left handed in most things I do. I play the guitar with my left hand. I write with my left hand. Lefties unite. 
  3. I speak fluent Dutch and English, conversational German, Dinka tribal language and Sudanese Arabic.
  4. I'm a lip balm freak. I carry many lip balms with me at any given time. Lip balm is really important to me. 
  5. I'm a huge food lover. Baked goods, fried foods... anything! I really enjoy food.
  6. I'm a huge procrastinator (and I'm a Capricorn!). I always put things off. It's something I'm trying to work on this year though.
  7. I'm a big fan of Asian dorama's (drama's). I love Korean movies and Taiwanese and Japanese TV shows. I could watch a season of one show in only a few days! 
Blogger Nominations

To participate simply do the following (1) Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post (2) Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their post (3) List 7 random facts about yourself (4) Nominate other bloggers and inform them of the nomination. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Rest In Peace.

My younger brother died on the 18th of September.

The pain in my heart is excruciating. My therapist... my confidant... my debating buddy... is gone.

There's nothing worse than being an older sister and losing a sibling younger than you. You feel like you've failed. You feel like you didn't protect him like you should have. You feel like you weren't as attentive as you should have been.

It hasn't sunk in properly. There are moments when this is a shock and everything feels like a dream... then there are moments when it feels all too real.

I miss him.

He won't have his drivers license, his first car, his first job... he won't have all those things that young men his age have or would have enjoyed.

I will fondly remember him and his good heart. I will remember how he supported and encouraged me. I will remember how he annoyed and teased me at times.

I just wish he was here to annoy me. I wish he would annoy me.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Solange Talks About My Article in LURVE Mag

Solange is looking ├╝ber gorgeous in LURVE magazine. Check out her beautiful photographs as well as her interview on Necolebitchie:

Solange Knowles is showing off her sexy side in little black dresses and Dolce & Gabanna bodysuits as well as having a little too much fun with some lipstick, all for her latest spread in LURVE Magazine.  Inside, Solo dishes on what it was like to grow up with less boundaries than her super famous sister, her fashion risks and the attention her hair has been receiving.  She also reveals that she is no longer working with Carol’s Daughter and explains why she decided to vent on twitter after reading a story that described her hair as ‘unkempt’.
Read a few highlights plus more pics from her super fierce spread below:
On her sense of humor and fashion risks
That sense of humor is really just the key to keeping my sanity, not taking myself  or others too seriously. I’m the first one to make fun of myself because, quite frankly, I do some dumb sh-t all of the time.  I don’t get embarrassed too easily, either. That’s a trait that has served me well, and made a fool of me sometimes.
I mean, look at some of my fashion choices back in the day.  You know how people say, ‘Who let her walk out of the house that way?” or “She needs more people!”… Oh believe me, I had the people, and they tried, but I resisted the arrest! Life is suppose to be about experimenting and going for it, especially in your twenties. So I have to just go for it, and laugh later.
On growing up with less boundaries than Beyonce
I think your parents set so much structure in the first child because it’s so new and fresh, and you are trying to do everything right, and by the second one you’re like, ‘Eh, they’ll be okay.”
In one way, I think that my parents’ leniency really allowed me the freedom and experiences to be a very independent thinker.  In a lot of ways, I had the freedom to really explore the world. They trusted me and I really tried to hold value in that.  That is, until I got pregnant. [laughs]
On so much attention being focused on her Hair
I’m actually really trying to navigate my feelings on the entire hair issue and it’s tough doing that publicly.  On one hand, I can’t ignore the fact that I have done things that have put attention on my hair with going on Oprah and being apart of Carol’s Daughter.

I was asked to go on Oprah on an episode that was dedicated to Black Hair, and to speak about why I cut my hair. I honestly thought, “Number one, it’s Oprah, and who wouldn’t want to go on Oprah and meet her?!?!  She’s amazing! But also, I thought if I addressed it then, then maybe I wouldn’t have to on that level again.
I spoke about how I felt like my hair was holding me back in some ways from fully utilizing my life, in terms of the time, energy and money I was spending. I also remember very clearly saying that this was the phase I am in at the time and that if I wanted to wear a weave down to my calves–when and if that time came–I very much so would. I still feel that way now. I realize for some people that this was a big turning point in terms of how they saw me.
I’m actually no longer a part of Carol’s Daughter, but throughout my entire time working with them, I was constantly fighting for the right message to be heard. The message that, the way we wear our hair is a personal choice, there’s no right or wrong way; one way doesn’t make us more intelligent, or more superficial, and every one makes that choice for very different reasons.
On the time she vented on twitter after reading an article about her hair:
I made some comments on Twitter recently about an article someone sent me that a young writer wrote about how much energy we are putting into other people’s natural hair. I thought it was really interesting, and in a lot of ways true.  That is until I came across the part of the article that mentioned how certain commenters were debating on the texture of my hair in its natural state.

I really, truly was not even aware that there was a natural hair system in place to measure the texture of your hair.  At that point I thought to myself, “This is really kind of crazy…that these people know more about my hair than the human that even carries it!”  I went to my Twitter and sort of impulsively expressed that. I don’t regret it one bit but sometimes trying to put how you feel in an one-hundred forty character structure is not very successful. It sometimes comes off as ranty and aggressive, and that was not my stance at all.

Read more: Solange Knowles Shows Off Her Sensual Side For LURVE: Talks Sense of Humor & Hair Critics | Necole 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Netherlands pt 1: Travelling to and within NL.

This Summer I went to the Netherlands (like all the other previous summers). 

If you are very fortunate enough to ever visit the Netherlands, then you might find this post useful.

How to get there

This is easy. You can drive there, take a plane, take a ferry or cycle (some people do cycling holidays in Europe, you'd be very surprised). 

From the UK, you can take the Euro Star from London or take the cheaper and most nightmarish option ever; Eurolines. I've never been fortunate enough to take the Euro Star, but I have taken the Eurolines several times. It's a cheap option and I suggest you actually have food with you, warm clothing and some form of entertainment etc. Travelling at night is probably best because you can get some sleep and time will pass quicker.

My family sticks to driving down to Harwich and taking the Stenaline ferry to the Netherlands. The WIFI is free (albeit very slow depending on how many people are trying to access it). You can also access entertainment on the ferry, buy duty-free items and food as well. 

How to travel within the Netherlands

By bicycle

Yes. Bicycle. People love to cycle here so it's no surprise that almost everyone owns a bicycle. People ride their bicycles to anywhere from anywhere. I've made about two 28km round trips to Rotterdam and I have to tell you it's a workout! But it's nice to cycle and enjoy the scenery. With the bicycle you have a lot more control as well and you don't have to rely on public transport to take you anywhere. 

Here is a useful website in regards to Dutch cycle routes and more:

By train 

Travelling by train is quite simple. Major cities are connected by rail so you can go to Rotterdam and catch a train to Amsterdam which would be about 40 minutes. 

The Sprinter train

Note that the Sprinter train is actually the old 'Stop Trein'. The Sprinter is a slow train and goes through pretty much every town between major destinations. When I traveled from Amsterdam, (with regret), I took the Sprinter and it took me 1.5 hours to get to Rotterdam! I regretted everything. But I did see the countryside so that was nice. 

Intercity train

Always take the Intercity trains if you want to travel between the major cities. 

Unlike the UK, you don't have to book your ticket in advance to get it cheaper. If you check out the NS website, you can check train times and also ticket prices. You can buy it online and print or just buy it at the station. The prices are the same either way. 

You could use the OV-Chipkaart to pay for your train but it is much simpler and cheaper to just buy a ticket if you're a visitor. 

By bus, tram and metro

I don't know much about the bus but I did travel from my sleepy town to Rotterdam in order to get to the Metro which then goes to Rotterdam Central Station. On the bus you pay using the OV-Chipkaart (which I will explain later). If you are without the OV-Chipkaart, you can buy a ticket that is valid within a particular zone and valid for an hour from the time you bought the ticket.

Tram in Amsterdam

Most of Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam are connected with a tram service as well. It's the same deal here, you just check in and check out with your OV-Chipkaart and that will deduct your ticket price.

As for metro, you can use one in Amsterdam (I don't know much about it). If you end up in Zuidplein shopping centre in Rotterdam, you take the metro to Rotterdam Central Station. The metro also goes as far as The Hague Central Station. The metro system in Rotterdam has barriers where you tap your OV-Chipkaart to open up. To leave, you check out at the barrier and your ticket price will be deducted. You can also buy a travel card from the RET people and use that to open the barriers.

The OV Chipkaart 

My Anonymous OV-Chipkaart

Then there's the most confusing thing I have had to deal with when travelling within the Netherlands; the OV-Chipkaart.

At first, I was completely puzzled by it but I figured it's the same as the Oyster in London... it's similar but completely different. Most people can get their own specific OV card which has added benefits to it, i.e. you can automatically load money on it when it runs low. 

But the easiest option (for tourists and other types of visitors) is the OV Anonymous chipkaart. You don't get as many benefits with it but you can use it on public transport. Plus you don't need your photo on it so don't worry about having to take one.

It costs €7.50 to purchase at the Post Kantoor (Post Office in Dutch) and many other retailers...

Then you have to load it with money. Many machines only allow a bankcard to load the OV card and those which do take coins, only and literally take coins. So getting exact change helps.

It's super inconvenient that you can't load the OV-Chipkaart using a bankcard because those who do not own a bankcard with any Dutch bank can't electronically load up money on their card because it won't recognise your card. I found out the hard way when I wanted to get to Amsterdam and I had to ask my dad to load money on it. Thank you dad. 

So be on the look out for OV-Chipkaart machines which gives you the option to load the card using coins. 

Checking in and checking out

Be sure to check in and also out when you leave the tram/bus/metro. If you don't, your OV-Chipkaart will keep charging you. Everytime you tap your card on the reader, the reader will display the balance of your card. When you check out, it shows how much was subtracted. If you don't have enough money on your card, let's say you have €2.00 and your ticket is €4.00, it'll just subtract and show up as a minus on your card.

These are my experiences. They may not be the same for you. If you want to know more about travelling to and within the Netherlands, here are some useful websites to help make your travel within the Netherlands easy and comfortable: 
Happy travelling! 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bullied: I Was Called E.T.

Disclaimer: This post contains a lot of profanity that is uncensored (I'm angry, that's why). Further, if you're a hater of foreheads, please exit this post immediately. If you stick around anyway and find this post uncomfortable because it forces you to question whether your distaste for big foreheads is pathetic, then I have accomplished my mission. I want everyone to know that if you see me with a big forehead that you should shut the fuck up because I have had enough of hearing about it. Thank you. 

Step aside Tyra Banks and Rihanna; I have a bigger forehead than both y'all.

My forehead has bothered many people to the point where I got ridiculed relentlessly for it. Primary school was in the Netherlands and honestly the best time of my life. I was never bullied. I was made fun of at one point and then I attacked the guy but that was different. I was never made fun of when it came to my forehead and being the only black girl in class (and one of the only few in school).

A childhood friend of mine (living in my childhood neighbourhood) did point out my forehead on multiple occasions. During one instance, we both got upset, got into an altercation and she proceeded to make fun of my forehead. I was shocked, confused and hurt... I did not know what the hell was going on. No one had ever pointed out to me that my forehead was large as a kid. To me it was normal. I didn't even know that my forehead mattered because it definitely didn't matter to other people.

Fast forward, secondary school in the Netherlands and United Kingdom, I got bullied about it. I was bullied by people who looked like me; people of African descent and mainly girls. I was bullied relentlessly. On some occasions I got attacked and I had to fight back and the other girl was suspended. She had so much hate for me, all because of my forehead.

I had food and drinks thrown at me. I was ganged up on. I even remember in one of my classes, a classmate said; ''hey your forehead isn't that big, it's just that your hairline starts far back''. It was as if he had a fucking epiphany. I didn't say anything... of course. I mean how do you respond to such unnecessary bullshit?

The same girl who physically attacked me in secondary school, always called me E.T.

Yes you read it, E fucking T. E.T. E.T. dammit. E.T.!!!

FUCKING E.T.. I WAS CALLED E.T. *laughs hysterically*
I wish they called me fucking Tyra Banks or Rihanna. At least the things I have in common with them is that we all have a big forehead, we're all black and we're all women. I have nothing in common with E.T. Wait let me think... nope. I have nothing in common with E.T. I tried to see the link and I tried so hard but I see absolutely nothing. I know deep down though, that she wanted to be a smart ass and call me E.T. because I looked like an alien to her. If you saw her today you'd probably call her a hypocrite for that...

Fast forward to sixth form (where I endured the very last of my bullying), I got bullied again about my forehead. Guys laughed at me. Guys looked at me and talked behind my back. I felt uncomfortable. I would purposely avoid certain places of the school to avoid them. I felt like I was watched all the time. The guys would hang out with people I interacted with. They'd flirt with them, hang out with them etc. while making fun of me. Those guys were of African descent.

I went to a boys grammar school sixth form so it was majority boys. Girl and boys were allowed into the sixth form.

At this school, I remember a particular incident where I was in the library. I had my hair done (in braids and then the rest left out, it was fucking ugly but it wasn't me who did it so...). One guy made a comment about my hair (a guy who's always been bullying me about my forehead and he was in Year 13, likely 18 years old) and I called him out on the spot. He was embarrassed. I know he was and everyone was just looking. I left the library and went about my way. The guy apologised later and never bothered me again.

My school life was a disaster. Despite this, I still managed to do very well in school. I did have many friends and I was very likeable. In some cases people stood up for me, in other cases they didn't and I don't blame them. To be up against nine girls or a group of guys isn't something someone wants to endure.

The teachers were helpful and did as much as they could to curb the bullying. I'm very grateful for their support.

I want to let people know that making fun of the way someone looks makes you very pathetic. Before we were born, we didn't have the option to choose how we can look like. The way we look is something beyond our control. This is why I detest people bullying or putting others down because of the way they look.

I can't do anything about my forehead except wear a fringe to cover it. I don't want to though and I shouldn't have to do that to prevent looks, comments etc. This is what I was born with. It displays my heritage and where I am from. It is a part of me that will always remain with me. Unlike lips and noses which can be adjusted using surgery, I can't adjust my forehead. I can bring my hairline forward but it's unnecessary pain and money spend.

I am in the process of accepting my forehead for what it is. I am not 100% comfortable with it, but I am slowly, but surely, getting there. If you have a problem with my forehead, take a fucking number and get in line. The fact that you're so consumed with someone else's looks just shows how pathetic you are.

Here are some forehead pics of some beautiful people. If it bothers you so much, click the fuck away;


And here is a forehead pic of me:

Pic taken in Vondelpark Amsterdam last Summer.

This post was emotional and quite uncomfortable for me because it brought back many painful memories. I almost shed a few tears too. People can be so cruel and destroy a confident and happy person and turn them into nothing. All those years of pain takes a long time to get over. My last bullying experience was when I was 18 which was only 2 years ago. I'm learning to love who I am and what I have. 

I have written this post in honour of the children who get bullied for the way they look, for their sexuality, for their personality... for all of those reasons. This post is for you. Please love yourself. Please. Tell someone if you're getting bullied. There are people willing to help. You don't have to end a temporary situation using a permanent 'solution'. There is no need, you too can overcome it. 

And to the bullies, get some fucking therapy. It's unhealthy to be obsessing over someone else's looks/sexuality/personality. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Not Married, No Kids? No Success.

How many times have you heard or read people state that getting married and having kids is pretty much the epitome of success (or at least suggesting that in a myriad of ways that it is)?

I'll be the first to admit that I was guilty of this attitude that marriage and having kids is the epitome of success. I believed that I should get a university degree, a career, then get married and have kids. Now that I'm 20 years old and going towards my final year of my degree, my mind is changing. I have come to the realisation that success is:

... achieving what you want to achieve.
For the smart alec's that may say 'oh but getting a BTEC is not success' well it's a success if it's their goal and they've achieved it. Everyone has different goals and not everyone is aiming to get a £100k p/a job. Not everyone is capable of achieving such a feat so it's good that people are realistic about their goals (whatever they may be).

When I think back on what I used to believe, I look back with a bit of embarrassment but I excuse myself because I was young. Nearly everyone can get married and have kids so it's not exactly something brag worthy. What should ideally be classed as a success, is how well the kids are raised and how long the marriage lasts etc.  

Anyhow, the bottom-line is, success shouldn't correlate with marriage or children and too often people try and use that as a measure of success (the people I have seen anyway).

For instance, you may have a career, your own home and a marriage. Your friend who is your age may have a career but still lives at home and she is not married. Why should people deem you (the person with the marriage, career and probably future kids) more successful? Just because you're married?

Not everyone is aiming for marriage and that person living with mummy and daddy may be living there because it's cheaper/more practical or because they just love living at home.

Does a marriage mean that you've been able to get someone and you won't die all alone? Therefore making you a much more attractive individual (looks and personality-wise) in comparison to your friend?

Does not being married mean no one's checking for you, making your personality and looks unappealing and therefore you'll die alone?

I don't believe that at all, yet people try and insinuate that all the time. I have seen and heard people use their marriage to appear mightier than those who aren't married: 'I'm better than you because I have a ring on my finger and a man in my bed'. Someone who seriously thinks this way should probably not be married.

Someone who chooses not to get married because they aren't ready or they're just taking it slow are being very responsible and people shouldn't scold them for that. Besides, not many relationships end in marriage. Less people are getting married these days because of cultural changes.

Oprah is one of those good examples of successful people that aren't married or haven't got any children, yet people insinuate that she must be feeling empty inside because of that. She appears to be doing just fine. Doesn't she have a girls school in South Africa? I think she took them shopping recently too. Those little girls look happy and they definitely look up to Oprah.

While the need to reproduce has been ingrained in us because it's an evolutionary survival mechanism for our genetic lineage, people are getting away more and more from what is natural to us. Times are changing, gender roles are changing and our culture is becoming more and more individualistic.

There's no doubt that parenthood can be a rewarding and exciting stage in life but seriously, parenthood and marriage is not for everyone and some people should be encouraged not to have any kids at all. I myself have doubts about having kids someday because the world is just that messed up. I wouldn't want them to have to endure what many other people are enduring. It's painful thinking about it.

And as if it's not awful enough to expect everyone to be married with kids before you deem them as successful, this is always used in the case of women. It's like a woman's sole purpose is to get tied down and birth kids left and right before they can be seen as successful. This may have been the case 60 years back (and in collectivist cultures today) but today it isn't the case and women have a lot more freedom and opportunities now, than they did back then.

Marriage isn't the end all, be all form of success and it is unfair to assume that everyone needs to get married or have children in order to live fulfilling lives. I'll probably get kicked for saying this but some people may even argue that they are leading more fulfilling lives because they have no kids. Human beings do not fit in a 'one-size fits all' box and that needs to be appreciated.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My Right To Remain Natural And Not Be Stereotyped.

As someone with natural hair, I had to respond to this article because I felt it trivialised what (some) naturals go through.

Black women have every right to remain relaxed. In fact, they probably have a bigger right to remain relaxed compared to people who want to go natural. Getting your hair relaxed has now become the norm. People don't question you doing it. People don't look at you up and down or as if you have two heads when you're wearing relaxed hair.

To suggest there's a war on straight hair is laughable and false. As I discussed in this guest post for Afrodeity Ltd., I demonstrated how healthy hair is shown in hair commercials. I also demonstrated subtle jabs at curly hair in the media. Straight hair is still put on the pedestal and is deemed as well-maintained, beautiful and healthy hair.

I wear my hair in its natural state and I have been told by almost everyone that my hair needs to be 'done'. I've also had people looking at me and wondering if I forgot to go to the salon that day.

There are still many black women out there wearing an 18 inch weave or a straight faux pony tail with slicked back relaxed hair. I see it all the time and no one bats an eye.

“Well, my relaxer…” she said. My eyes widened, and all sound came to a silencing halt. She went on to explain she always made it a point to tell people she was relaxed because of the widespread notion that only natural hair is healthy hair. 
A lot of people aren't even aware that you can have healthy relaxed hair, let alone healthy (and even long) natural hair.

It’s tough to be a user of the creamy crack these days. And although statistics show that over sixty-five percent of Black female consumers are currently relaxed, the all-consuming natural hair movement would make you think otherwise.

The stats do not lie; a lot of black women still wear their hair in its relaxed state. The 'all-consuming natural hair movement' isn't as all-consuming as many would like to think. Where I live, there's probably 1 natural for every 8 relaxed heads (a rough estimate). Of course in bigger cities like NYC and London you'll see a whole lot more naturals. Despite all of that, many more people still wear their hair relaxed. This natural hair phenomenon doesn't stretch too far and isn't as widespread as the paragraph above suggests.
 Having a hair preference has become a crime against your own ethnicity. Hot-headed naturalistas—even in the year 2012—will revoke your Black card for flaunting a few straight strands. 
There are some natural hair nazi's but they are (thankfully) in the minority. Some natural hair nazi's are even controlling in regards to natural hair, so it's not a natural vs relaxed thing. Furthermore, a lot of naturals take pride in their own hair but also like to switch it up and wear straight hair on some occasions.

In addition, a lot of naturals do not equate natural hair with ethnicity. A lot of naturals are stereotyped as Afrocentric when in fact many aren't. The reality is that naturals have different reasons for going natural and that goes beyond Afrocentricism and blackness.

Michelle Obama wears her hair straight on most (if not all) occasions. No one has questioned her, Malia or Sasha's blackness. So natural hair = blackness is an old, tired rhetoric that has become a stereotype for naturals.

A little research on today’s straightening creams proves that they’re not the damaging conks of the past. Due to the booming business of natural hair products, relaxers were forced to change their formulas about five years ago to incorporate a slew of conditioning buffers like shea butter, argan oil and keratin. Today, most relaxers are much milder.
Relaxers may be much milder right now. There may also be techniques to ensure you don't get relaxer burns... but the fact still remains that Boston University linked hair relaxes to uterine fibroid tumours. Wearing a relaxer should be a personal choice, but its possible dangers shouldn't be ignored or underestimated.

"I desire to wear my hair straight most of the time and proudly have a professional stylist relax my roots every eight to 10 weeks,” says Tahira Wright, who mainly wears her hair short. “It is deep conditioned, trimmed, and it's never over-processed. I rarely have to put heat on my hair, if at all, in between appointments. Healthy hair can be achieved and maintained whether natural, colored or chemically treated!"
I'd like to believe many naturals are very aware of this.
When asked if she’s ever felt pressure to go natural or received the notorious side-eye when discussing her relaxed roots, she confessed, “Yes,” but says that it doesn’t bother her one bit. "My beauty regimen is very personal, based on my own individuality, how I desire to look, and what fits my lifestyle. If not treated well, natural hair, just like relaxed hair, can become very dry and brittle. I love versatility!”  

Some may argue that natural hair is more versatile than relaxed hair as we can go from natural to straight and then back again. Do you if you're happy with your relaxed hair.

But when it comes to Black hair, having a point of view other than “natural” has been deemed archaic. Natural is the new black. At the heart of the matter is the prevalence of permanent damage, and allegedly hair hate. Over-processed strands are obvious, but the idea that having a preference means automatic dismissal of your God-given roots is up for debate.
Again... Michelle Obama's blackness has never been questioned because she wears her hair straight.

Furthermore, natural is not the new black or anywhere near it... it's still something that is accepted with difficulty. It's still not mainstream and it's only now that the mainstream media have started to show some love for natural hair by featuring naturals in commercials and on television etc.

I've also had my fair share of natural hair prejudice. Trust me when I say that when I was wearing straight hair, I got better treatment.

I think it's sad to run into a sister who hates her hair in its natural state. People like that have bought into society's definition of beauty, which excludes us,” says Sage, a curly-hair woman who went natural five years ago. “And, for the record, no you should not be using harmful chemicals, such as relaxers, that are known to cause damage to the hair and scalp.”
Yes it is sad and not just sad it is also quite common to find girls who think that way. Why should something that we have naturally be deemed so negatively?
Equating relaxing to self-hatred is not a fair comparison says Candice Frederick. That's such a ridiculous assumption! I do it because I like it and I felt I needed a change. It's just hair. No big deal.”
I agree with you Candice Frederick. It is a ridiculous assumption and as a natural I don't believe any of that either. Some may do it because of self-hate but others may relax their hair because of the maintenance or they just like the straight look.

Alas, the war wages on. Too often—especially within the Black community—acceptance of one thing typically means absolute rejection of another. Don’t we all want choices when it comes to our most prominent vehicle of creativity? We should  be looking forward to the day when our vast hair needs commands an entire store aisle at local drug stores for both curly and straight types. Black hair care will never fit into a one-size-fits-all model, and there’s only one hairstyle truly worthy of intolerance, and that's the Jheri curl! 
There is no war though.

I've encountered relaxed ladies or people with the relaxed hair mindset telling naturals what they should and shouldn't be doing with their hair. I have experienced this firsthand. This article suggests that naturals ostracising relaxed ladies is a one-sided occurrence and that the natural hair community is giving all of the grief when that is far from the truth. Naturals have to face those who are relaxed or have a relaxed/straight hair mindset as well as the mainstream media. We can get grief from all sides.

As someone with natural hair, I frankly don't care what the next person does to their hair, as long as they keep it healthy (whether it is relaxed or natural).

As written in the article (and I am in utter agreement), ''black hair care will never fit into a one-size-fits-all model''. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tumblr, Instagram Should Come With a Warning: Bad for Self Esteem




The superficial in me always exclaims how ‘perfect’ the girls on Tumblr and Instagram are. 

You may want to scold me for what I’m writing next. You may point out that I have low self esteem and insecurities. You may even suggest some self-help books. But everyone has days when they feel a little low of themselves and today is my day.

Whenever I log into Instagram and see the popular page, you always have girls… well look for yourself (I don’t want to get sued or get into trouble for posting other people’s pics). 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks like this. I’m sometimes in awe of the beauty and the fabulous on Instagram and Tumblr and I have encountered many people thinking the same thing. Nevertheless,  Photoshop, angles, lighting, make-up and Instagram filters result in people looking differently compared to how they really do in real life. I'm making myself feel better by repeating this notion. 
I have used many pictures of myself and put a filter on Instagram because the original pic without filter is frankly… quite frightening sometimes. I suppose this is the very reason why many other people use Instagram filters… or Pixlromatic filters (they have better filters by the way).  

The use of Instagram filters is so common that it has now become commonplace to put #nofilter on Instagram if you post a filter free pic. To me that says 'hey look at me; a nice picture of me which didn’t require any filter to hide the bags under my eyes and the blemishes on my face’, why thank you for letting the world know how you really look like. 

#NoFilter is a helpful indicator for people like me (on those bad days when I feel a little low). I know you’re not fooling anyone about the way you look and we see the real deal; you’re reminding us that you’re human and that you’re probably not perfect yourself... or you’re reminding us that you’re perfect with or without filter.

One trend I began to realise (and to be honest it makes complete sense, how can your pics get on the popular page if you don't get enough likes?), the Instagram people who get on the popular page are always the people with many followers and they tend to have a good blog, or they are a celebrity/socialite or popular YouTuber. What they have, is something that everyone likes.. so they do deserve to be on that page. 

The people on Tumblr are something else though (probably in a bad way). The ‘Tumblr Famous’ phenomenon is only known to those who are on Tumblr… because really, who outside of Tumblr knows these ‘Tumblr Famous’ unless they do something significant besides Tumblr itself? Many generate their own pictures, some using webcams and they’re still successful with thousands of notes, others opt for a DSLR (I have to admit though that some take very beautiful pictures). 

Other Tumblr people rely on making gifs. Some gifs and pics are nice but the whole cute face, puckered lips (duck lips) look is stale and tired. Some gifs are also quite cheesy and unoriginal but they have 50K notes so they must be doing something right... 

I have also seen girls try hard to get this Tumblr ‘noteriety’ by posting nudes. If you feel that this is what you need to do in life, by all means go for it; but you’re exposing yourself to unwanted attention.. But you probably know this already... it comes with the territory, doesn't it?
It's sad that *I* have somehow handed my self-esteem over to Tumblr, Instagram and the WWW to keep and regulate... something which should have never happened. I would be lying if I said I wasn't affected by the online world and the media. In my defence, being affected by Tumblr and Instagram is the same as being affected by the mainstream media (in my opinion).

What does Tumblr and Instagram fame/popularity do anyways? Nothing but make you popular on those platforms... it will probably open up some doors outside of the internet but let's not pretend that's common. Last I checked, Tumblr/Instagram popularity doesn’t pay any bills (unless you have ads on Tumblr). It doesn’t help you in school. It probably won’t be useful on your C.V. either..
Lastly, the people on Tumblr and Instagram (most likely) work hard to look the way they do. They are good at applying make-up (some are, not all), they work out (some do, not all), they work to pay for their awesome gadgets and the clothes they wear (some do, not all). Commoners like me who prefer to spend time reading rather than applying make-up or going to uni in sweat pants and hoodies do not invest any time in that sort of thing. There's more to life. 

Anyhow, me on my best days knows that Tumblr and Instagram are an online thing and can never be used as a determinant of success, beauty, self-esteem, self-confidence and more. There’s a big world out there and the online world should only be a small part of it.