Friday, June 12, 2009

Revelation (followed closely by dismay)

Blog reading is good for me. Generally, it's just up building; it bonds me to others; it's artistically/creatively inspiring. Then, every once in a while (or back-to-back, like this week), I run across a post that gets all kinds of red flags waving in my brain. Today, the matter involved dreadlocks. [Googled image] Of course you recognize Bob Marley, reggae God, hottie beyond hotness, musical angel, and (heretofore, in my mind) the epitome of Those Who Wear Dreadlocks.

Now this [Googled image, runway model, dreadlock-coiffed]: What I read today was someone's innocent, simple declaration of her lifelong desire, and new found intent, to have dreads. Someone who is a white woman. I read, and found my face screwing itself into a pretzel. And my brain trying to launch a fur ball of some sort. ????????????????????? And BAM FLASH KAZAM, Batwomen!! This image then blasted into my brain. Since its introduction into media history, I have DETESTED this photo. It's not the swimsuit, the bouncety-bouncety-breasts-on-the-loose beach jog, the chiseled body and cheek bones. IT'S THE HAIR!!! I have categorically (and for, what, DECADES, now?) despised the hair. Inauthentic! Poseur! White Woman Wanna Be!!! Why should Bo Derek launch beaded tresses into the main stream? Bo Derek, a white woman?

oh. eesh. oh. blimey. oh shite shite shite!

Today, my friends, Toni tripped ALL DAMN OVER an internal prejudice. SPLAT. It was NOT pretty! Toni's prejudice: white women, by virtue of being white, are somehow disallowed from braids and dreads. As if I have felt, without realizing it until today, that they are ethnically challenged, inadequate, and otherwise lacking in credentials to do so. And (especially, I soon realized), BLOND white women, who are of course the farthest removed from my, Toni's, Epitome Of Those Who Wear Dreadlocks, Mr. Marley himself.

I never knew. I never knew I felt that way. And in examining it, earlier, in my journal, I discovered a deep, relentless FEAR at the bottom of it -- fear of being ACCUSED of being a wanna-be, an impostor, a poseur, especially by those my mind has deemed ethnically 'allowed' (qualified) to wear the dos. Fear of what other people in general think, would think, have thought, of a blond white woman walking through life with a head full of dreads. Or braids. Ridiculous! Outrageous! Arrogant! Doesn't know who she is or where she's from! ... oh the weird, revealing daggers my brain threw!!!

I'm dismayed, & dagger-shredded & quite bloody!!! Me, who just two days wrote this: 'We've fought to rise from under it, to declare ourselves WOMAN in whatever way WE define, for so many decades.' And yet I've been carrying around this discriminatory, close-minded, shrunken, absurd opinion all this time?!!!

So ... what happens, I guess, is that I'm looking at a white blond woman in dreads or braids and WORRYING (for her, but actually for ME) that fingers are pointing and tongues are wagging about how she's being inauthentic, that she's illegitimate in that style, that she's appropriated something she 'has no right to'.

I'm so ashamed. I've got some major internal housekeeping to do. I know I won't be growing dreads as atonement because ... because ... I'D BE SCARED!!! [I don't, actually, like them, not for me -- I don't like ANY 'do' I have to actually take care of, spend time on .... ] but the REAL REASON is that I'd be scared!!! of external opinions! ME!!!!

I gotta reckon with that. splat, splat, splat.

Oh, thank god for blogs and others with more enlightened viewpoints -- I LIKE being busted hard across my chops when I need a wake-up call.

ROCK ON, BLONDS WITH DREADS, BLONDS WITH BRAIDS!!! I have new eyes and a new heart, now, with which to see you!

8 comments:

beth said...

I knew the whole time you were talking about denise and I'm totally thrilled that she wants to do that...see the comment I left her....

I have loved em and her dreadlocks forever and if I had hair, I would soooo have dreadlocks, too and you would still love me...I know you would !

I don't like tattoos at all....but my girlfriend has lots all over her body and I love her....but you'd never find one on me.....ever !

we are all different and that's why we love each other...how boring if we were all the same, right ?

excuse now while I go shave my head !

Holly said...

So, reading this post was less painful than shaving my head with a cheese grater, but not by much...

Because now I have to go and sit in a time out and figure out what things still set off my judging fearola meter. Thanks a bunch.

That look, as you can tell by my preferred way to wear mine, is not one that I like. On anyone. But, that's just me...and I can't judge it because it's only hair...and can be lost, cut, changed in the next breath...unlike my mind which takes FOREVER to let go of a limiting judging thought.

I'd love to stay longer and chat with you, but no, I have internal work to do. And, can you effin stand it? My verification word is REGEA...what the hell?

Mel said...

Amazing isn't it? We think we've come so far...only to be rudely rousted from our smug and enlightened state by some dark something lurking in the Shadows....*sigh*

Me? I'm diggin' the dreads. Love, love, LOVE dreads...on anyone..white, black, brown, purple, orange...LOVE 'EM!! Even contemplated them for myself...(I suffer from the same zero-maintenance affliction though). You're makin' me think about it some more now.....

My favourite? KIDS with dreads....that just makes me SMILE....

One love, baby, one love...

lee said...

I had to look at that picture several times....ha ha, but its a good one of Bo....Dreads are not for me, I am a wash and wear type of gal, but on Bob Marley they are hot hot.

Carla said...

I hate it when that happens. On the other hand, it's new information that we can deal with and go on.

creativedawn said...

I like what I read here...and I understand your feelings....Having said that I want you to know that as a woman of color, I was upset with the Bo Derek thingy because I had worn corn rolls beaded and unbeaded all of my life, and was teased by white girls...Bo Derek wears them..."authenticate" the look and all of a sudden it is "cool", "hip", to wear my cornrolls, beaded braids! UGGGHHHH!!! THAT PHENONMENON (white right syndrome) is what I railed against.... I firmly believe that we can wear/do whatever we want (doesn't have to be in vogue)...I object to being told I'm not pretty if my skin is not a certain shade, hair not the "right" texture, not the size of a toothpick-therefore I'm not beautiful and on and on....you get the idea! Why must we receive that type validation to believe in "me"? lol... EMBRACE DIVERSITY!

cinner said...

Hey Toni, I am a huge fan of dreadlocks on Bob Marley...don't like them on much others, however I think you need the personality to be able to wear them. I know none for me thanks to my own haircuts at 3 am ....maybe dreads would be good! I would not wear them to be in style, I would if I just wanted to....god I think!...one more thing to think about today. thankyou my friend for all the wishes during my dads passing. I really appreciated it. I am back and ready to polyvore with you baby! Hugs, cinner

Misty's Creations said...

When you wrote Bo wasn't entitled to dreads, I thought why not? It's part of being free, self expression is a wonderful thing and if dreads are it, do it! I love dreads on guys, I especially like The Terminator's tentacle/dread thing he's got going on. If only he were a little more approachable! It really is a shock to realize self prejudice, my grown daughters point mine out to me every now and then!