Eurocentric Beauty Standards

2018

My mother had always wanted a daughter with European features.
Luckily, I was born with European features.
People couldn’t even tell that I was Egyptian.
But, unfortunately, I had curly hair.
I got all sorts of comments from my family and people I wasn’t even related to.
“Poor thing. She’s beautiful but she has bad hair.”
Can you imagine a 6-year-old getting her hair done at the hairdresser’s almost every week?
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards

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14 Years of Hair Straightening

2019

Ever since I was young,
I was told that my hair wasn’t nice.
I’ve been straightening my hair since elementary school.
Everyone around me made fun of me.
They called me “brillo pad.”

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Wearing my Hair Down

2018

My hair changed as I got older. It became frizzy and messy.
My mom always tied it back for me.
It made me cry because I wanted to let my hair down like the other girls.
I didn’t like receiving comments and getting weird looks from my relatives.
“Why is your hair so messy?”
“Brush your hair.”
And other comments I still remember until this day.
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards

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Long Hair

2013

All I remember is that I couldn’t stop crying,
As she kept cutting my hair shorter and shorter.
I used to believe that the essence of beauty lied in having long hair.
The longer your hair gets, the more beautiful you become.

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The Big Chop

2019

I always hated my curly hair.
Looking back at my pictures when I was a baby, I always had this halo of baby hair that looked like I had just been electrocuted.
It was always tied up in a bun or a really tight braid, which caused my hairline to shift back a bit.

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People Call Me Crazy

2018

I’ve always had curly hair. I hated it as a child.
I thought there was something wrong with it.
I’d pray to God to make my hair straight.
I made peace with my hair when I grew up.
That’s when I liked having curly hair.
But it’s the people around me who make me feel that something is wrong with it.
beauty standards, bullying, hair, body image

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Mop Head

2018

My paternal grandmother always had a brush,
And loads of hair products ready with her to tame my “unruly”, unkempt hair.
She would sit me down on my knees,
pull at my hair painfully until it got detangled,
then she would apply a lot of hair cream,
pull my hair back into a bun or braid it,
Until the curls were no longer visible.

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You're Not a Girl

2018

I’m a girl, but I never let anyone see my hair.
Even at home.
Even when I’m asleep or coming out of the shower.
I cover my hair at all times because of the abuse I get subjected to and because of the way they look at me.
“Your hair is coarse.”
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards

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Natural Hair

2018

Back when I was in school, all the boys and girls would stare at my hair and call it a “brillo pad.”
I braided my hair most of the time so people wouldn’t notice I had coarse hair, and so I wouldn’t stand out.
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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My Son Looks Like Me

2019

My forehead is kind of big.
I’ve always been bullied because of how I looked,
My forehead,
And my hair—
Which isn’t bad by the way,
But it isn't as beautiful as everyone else’s in the family.
I’ve always heard things like,
“Your hair could work as an antenna for the T.V.”

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