I Can Be Natural AND... by Dr. Johnette Ruffner-Ceaser

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BlackFemaleProject is pleased to be quoted in I Can Be Natural AND... by Dr. Johnette Ruffner-Ceaser in her May 2017 LinkedIn article and blog post. The topic of hair and its relation to or not to career advancement has come up several times during the BlackFemaleProject journey. See excerpt below and click here to read Dr. Ruffner-Ceaser's full article.

Naturally curly, chemical-free hair is a nemesis to the status quo. This adversarial dynamic has left many women and girls stifled and confused. Hair politics hinder us, and too often we do not feel free to embrace our natural beauty in professional and educational settings, especially if we choose to style our hair in twists, locs, or braids. Unfortunately, we are forced to consider the implications of our curls and sometimes make detrimental styling choices that impact our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Daily, we ask ourselves, “If I wear it curly will I get the job?, Will I get promoted? Do I look too ethnic for this meeting? Does having locs make me appear unprofessional? Will my hair be viewed as a distraction?” These consistent questions chip away at our self-image and self-confidence, resulting in one critical inquiry, “Am I good enough?”

We have proven that we are good enough because we "thrive professionally despite structures in place to maintain the status quo,” but too many of us are being made to feel like we must choose between our natural appearance and the job or opportunity. Increasingly, the issue of natural beauty is gaining the attention of companies like DoveAllure, and Pantene. I do not know if their primary intent is to help or to profit, but the documented stories about the struggles of women and natural beauty are real.