[Insert Obligatory Pun about Hair Here] or: This Oreo is terrible at coming up with titles for things she writes

Earlier this week, folks were bummed that this one particular episode of a show called Winx Club aired on Nickelodeon. Wink Club is a cartoon made in Italy back in the 00’s and Nickelodeon apparently airs episodes of it today. As far as I can tell from the very minimal amount of Wikipedia-ing I was willing to do, Winx Club is the fever dream of a very old gnome wherein he sees his soul separated from his body and dispersed into the forms of four orphans who belong to a you-can’t-cut-your-hair cult who escape their pain by taking psychedelic drugs so that they can escape into an allegorical world of their dreams where they exist as fairies.

That or it’s a bunch of girls who discover they have superpowers and train at a facility for gifted youngsters. But not ~that~ facility for gifted youngsters. They’re in a different district and they don’t have a voucher program.

Anyway, Winx Club became facebook-relevant this week when an episode aired that featured this scene. Please do enjoy:


In the event that this video expires or you don’t have audio or you just want to get to the point, here’s what happens in the clip.

The brown colored Winx sobs uncontrollably because her normally straight hair puffed up into the shape of an afro and she can’t get it to be straight again. Her friends poke at it a bit. It bounces. They all agree that this is the worst thing that could have happened and I can only assume they spend the rest of the episode getting this girls’ hair to straighten out before the Old Gnome wakes up and discovers he is still paralyzed inside the cave and that his life has not changed and never will.

People were upset about this clip because they said it promoted the idea that natural black hair isn’t acceptable. That this few minutes of Italian animation is suggesting that you can’t be attractive if your hair hasn’t been drybarred out within an inch of it’s life. They think that this show is sending the wrong message.

But look, that girl probably spent a crap ton of money and like hours of her time in some chair to get her shit straight. I’d cry, too if it all went back overnight. Tears are a totally reasonable reaction when your $200 afternoon gets thrown away because someone decides not to air out the humid bathroom after a hot shower. You’re not getting those 4 hours of your life back, so you know what, be in your truth and allow yourself to feel a wee bit miffed if a sustained session of pain turned out to be for nothing because the sky decided to rain that day.

That being said, I do the show is sending the wrong message…or at least a wrong message. This clip suggests that upon seeing your natural hair, people will make like a few snide comments and then walk away. I beg to differ.

Recently, I failed to time my hair regimen properly and for two whole days, my hair was as grey and natural looking as it gets…and I had the audacity to leave the house.

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During this time, two grown men interrupted me during meetings–at work where we are employed–to tell me and everyone sitting nearby that “awwww, they liked it better before.” And I had to tap dance around people who were basically strangers saying: “Okay, listen… I’ve alllllways wanted to know. What IS the deal with your hair?” several more times before the half week was out.

(And as you know, Oreos do not like tap dancing. We much prefer an Allemande, a promenade, or a Cheshire Cat Life if you have a partner handy.)

Those two days reminded me that upholding the Oreo standards of straight hair isn’t just a way to look nice in the obligatory Women In The Workplace!!! photo your company forces you to be a part of because publicity. Nor is is just a neato way of making sure you’re at least not one of the first ones into the camps during the Trump presidency. Keeping your hair unnaturally straight also allows you to move through your day relatively unnoticed. You blend in, so you’re able to pull those schedules off the copier in peace. Stand out by having statement hair and it can make the day just a lot longer.

But let’s say that you’re like me and you make an honest mistake in scheduling so that you do in fact have to force people to look at your natural looks. First, apologize. Then, take this quiz to see how you would respond to the most common things you’ll get asked should your hair get all Roots on you.

 

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They say: Sooooo is this like your natural, natural hair. Like your hair how it really is?
You say:

A. Yes pal-o-mine, this is the hair that God gave me growing in the way God intended in the country that God wove together with his bare hands.
B. Ugh, it is and I hate it.
C. Did you get your ticket yet to The Little Mermaid Live at the Bowl?

 

06-Cynthia-Hair-Flip

 

They say: Have you seen that Chris Rock documentary Good Hair? That was really amazing. I was like blown away. Totally shocked.
You say:

A. I did see Good Hair and I am happy that you are bringing it up now during this production meeting.
B. Why would I need to watch Good Hair? It’s about black hair. I have black hair. Not exactly news to me.
C. Who’s Chris Rock? Would you say his documentary style is more like Herzog or Brakhage?

 

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They say: You know, if I could have black hair, I totally would. It’s so cool and fun!
You say:

A. That is a sincere compliment that doesn’t make me feel like a weird fettishized object at all.
B. Would you also like the higher statistical likelihood of being profiled on NextDoor or getting a worse rate on an auto loan that goes along with that cool and fun hair?
C. Could you hold my ballet slippers for me one sec, I just need to score the soles and I dropped my nail file.

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They say: Wait, so, your hair right now… it’s real?
You say:

A. Are your boobs?
B. Are your teeth?
C. Should I wear my Members Only jacket or my Eddie Bauer fleece to the Coldplay concert at that craft cocktail and tapas bar tonight?

beyonce-curls

They say: Do you really not like it when people touch your hair? I love it when people touch mine. So relaxing. Feels like childhood
You say

A. Yaaaas Kween! I am so happy that you are soliciting my opinion and I shall reward with with one free pet.
B. This isn’t really about you. This is about my boundaries and personal space. And frankly, I don’t really like it when anyone touches me anywhere ever.
C. When I buy the title at auction, do you think I should choose the Lordship of Pitstone Neyrnut or the Barony of Duleek?** The Baroney comes with better mineral rights, but holy goodness, is just so beautiful this time of year.

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Results! 

If you answered mostly As, you might think you’re being a good Oreo as you’re not fighting back or running from the conversation, which helps make people feel comfortable. (And Oreos are nothing if not pleaser). But you’re also allowing the conversation to continue. A skilled Oreo can both let people feel OK with their awkward questions, but also shut that shit down toute suite.

If you answered mostly Bs., you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog as you are super comfortable with your blackness and that’s not really what we do here. Nothing against RPBs, but I just don’t have any 40s on offer. Month-old gin is about the closest thing I can pour.

If you answered mostly C, congratulations! You are Oreoing perfectly! Such a deft little dance we do, smiling and laughing, while gently escorting the conversation away from company and into the library for brandy and a subject change.

 

What do you think about the clip above? A harmless episode of TV not many people probably watched? Or a few minutes of film that could actually do damage to young self esteems? On a scale of 1-10 how fast would you change your hair if something tragic happened to it–rogue gardening shears, torrential downpour of tar, roots?

Let us know in the comments!

**Real titles that are actually available at auction right now! If you’d like to sponsor an Oreo’s life long dream of titledom, I have a copula links I can send you. Just let me know! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo:

Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what  you think!
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7 comments

  1. I was going to insert, as requested, an obligatory pun about hair but all the animated gifs have caused me to experience seizure. So thanks Sweetheart, hope this rant about raciest cartoon hair styles was worth putting me in a near coma for the weekend.

  2. What is it with hair and Black people?
    When I was a kid someone snapped that I had ‘wolf hair’.
    It was funny and I had some good jokes about them after that but that one stung a bit.
    These days here in the South that same hair is called ‘good hair’.
    Even dudes say, ‘ That good hair pretty emeffer.’.

  3. Considering that my nine year old likes to wear her hair in one big afro puff… yeah… this may have been problematic had she seen it. She would have initiated a conversation about it, and if I couldn’t make her feel that people didn’t like her hair she would have immediately asked for a change. Just because you import a season’s worth of episodes doesn’t mean you need to show them all.

    1. Dwane, if your kid develops a liking for that show, just explain that a forced change of hair style is a terrible thing to inflict upon somebody, THAT is the bad thing, consent, not letting somebody touch you in certain ways if you do not like it, freedom of expression, point out that some brown people are naturally straight and all that, not that the hair style itself is bad…

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