Synonyms for “Curly”

2018

Synonyms for Curly Hair:
“Poofy hair”
“Like a poodle”
“Like a broom”
“Like a toilet brush”
“Like a ceiling duster”
“Mixed in a blender”
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards

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The Thing I Love Most

2018

When I was young, my mom used to intentionally fix my hair so that it’d be tightly tied back,
and I’d be safe from peoples’ comments.
For the longest time, I wouldn’t leave the house unless my hair was straightened.
hair, body image, bullying, beauty standards

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Closed-Mouth Smile

2019

Mama has several objections about how I look—
My teeth, hair, and body.
I’ll start with my teeth.
I’ve had problems with my teeth ever since I was a child.
I didn’t know how to take care of them.
I didn’t pay attention to my appearance (I was a child in elementary school).
I’ll never forget what mama said to me:
“Smile with your mouth closed, so you’ll look good.”

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Not Pretty Like Them

2018

My hair is curly. But my mother and relatives aren’t convinced.
“Are you going out with your hair all messy like that?” my mother would always tell me on my way out.
“Won’t you do something about your hair?” she’d tell me on our way to family gatherings.
“Don’t come with me if you won’t straighten your hair.”
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards

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Covering My Hair

2018

My hair grew out very dry and curly.
Mama didn’t know how to deal with it.
She tried oils and creams.
My hair was in braids all during my childhood.
I never let my hair down.
I never felt the wind in my hair.
My maternal aunts made fun of me
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying, hijab

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Medusa

2018

My mother only likes straight hair.
She’d always straighten our hair, using various gels and keratin.
She wanted to straighten it in any way possible.
hair, bullying, beauty standards, body image

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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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You Must Not Be Fasting

2019

I stopped wearing the hijab a few months ago.
Ramadan is approaching and I’m terrified.
I’m afraid of what my family might say.
I’m afraid of what people in the street will say.
social stigma, hijab, hair, harassment, the street, social pressure

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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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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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