Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girls

2018

We were supposed to act in a play one time,
And my friends’ roles and mine were supposed to have curly hair.
But the teacher changed them.
She got girls with straight hair to play them.
She said she’d make them wear curly wigs.
body image, hair, beauty standards

We were supposed to act in a play one time,

And my friends’ roles and mine were supposed to have curly hair.

But the teacher changed them.

She got girls with straight hair to play them.

She said she’d make them wear curly wigs.

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Like a Disease

2019

My curly hair was like a disease.
Everyone pitied me for it.
Everyone offered to help fix it.
My hair has seen it all: chemicals, food masks, oils, creams, freaking spiritual healings...
hair, beauty standards, bullying

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Stay Out of It

2018

I started wearing the hijab when I was 11 years old.
I took the decision to take it off.
At work, Hassan, the security guy didn’t recognize me right away.
“Good morning, Ms. Why did you do that?”
I know he meant well.
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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It’s Bad Enough That It’s Curly

2018

I used to straighten my hair all the time.
I was in a relationship, but we broke up.
After the break up, I decided to embrace my natural hair.
My ex-boyfriend and I got back together.
I straightened it twice for him.
I once told him I was going to wear my natural hair that day.
“What?! You’re going to go out looking like that?!” he exclaimed.
body image, hair, beauty standards, romantic relationships, marriage

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We're Special

2018

My hair is naturally straight and I wish it were curly.
My father loves it when I wear it down.
He doesn’t like it when I tie it back.
Sometimes I try to make it curl, prompting my mother to call me mankoosha [frizzy-headed].
“Don’t style it that way again.”
body image, hair, beauty standards

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It’s Better Tied Up

2019

I used to be a swimmer.
I am dark-skinned,
Because I used to go to swim practice every morning.
I’m the only person in my family with curly hair.
Not a day would pass without someone commenting on my hair and skin.

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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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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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Wiry Hair

2018

I started straightening my hair at the age of 12.
I’ve been straightening my hair on a daily basis ever since.
My goal was to get rid of my horrible curly hair.
My hair got completely damaged.
But I didn’t have any other choice.
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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Bad Hair

2018

Brushing my hair as a child was a real burden to me.
My mother would pull it really hard when she brushed it.
It was as if she was punishing me for having “bad” hair.
Combing it was a difficult process.
“Your hair is disgusting. I’m sick of it,” she used to tell me.
She used to push me away if I cried because it hurt, saying,
“Get up. I won’t brush it for you.”
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

FULL STORY