Dreadlocks for Everyone


Recently I have been wanting, no… more like daydreaming over a certain hairstyle. But due to comments rejecting my daydreams it’s made me sit here and ponder. Not ponder if I actually want this hairstyle, but ponder why? Why are people rejecting something that I want for myself? I’m not imposing anything on anyone, I’m not making them wear this hairstyle, so why should it matter? One person asked why would I if I’m not of Jamaican or African decent. Most just say I have beautiful long hair and it should stay that way. While I appreciate people’s concerns or opinions, it’s really got me thinking. What is the hairstyle you ask? Dreadlocks. Now before you too start saying “Oh, no, Emily, please don’t”, ask yourself “why not” before you reject it.

Since when is it unacceptable for someone to have dreadlocks, especially if they’re not of color? The first known examples of the hairstyle date back to ancient Egypt, where dreadlocks appeared on Egyptian artifacts. Mummified remains of ancient Egyptians with dreadlocks have even been recovered from archaeological sites. The Old Testament also recounts the tale of Samson and Delilah in which a man’s potency is directly linked to ‘the seven locks on his head’ and according to Roman accounts, the Celts were described to have ‘hair like snakes’ Germanic tribes, Greeks and the Vikings are all said to have worn dreadlocks too. In classical India, all students on the spiritual path were directly enjoined by their scriptures to develop Dreadlocks as a means to detach them from physical vanity and aid them in the development of bodily strength and supernatural mental and spiritual powers. So as you can see, dreadlocks were being worn before Rastafarianism, however the hairstyle is very closely associated with the religion.

Now me, I’m a “whiter-than-paper” person & my religion doesn’t require dreadlocks. But I want them because of that simple reason… I want them. I like the style and to me, it’s easier to manage than the way my hair is now. I have coarse, rough and brittle hair, so keeping it “smooth & beautiful” takes entirely way too long. It consists of 5+ minutes of just brushing to get all the knots up, putting serum in my hair to keep it smooth, spraying heat protecting stuff in my hair before using a straightener to flatten my hair out. Because if I don’t, it’ll look like I have an Afro starting from midway, down. When I did have dreads before, it was less work, less irritating and much more fun to style. Sure it was work to keep the dreads from joining with their neighbor, and palm-rolling to keep them smooth, but it was still so much less work than my usual regiment to fix my hair. Not to mention, I liked the way it looked.

There are many myths about dreadlocks. Including the inaccurate myth of not washing your hair. Actually, you must have clean hair in order to keep your dreads looking nice. If you don’t wash them, there will be a build-up of oils which will cause the dreads to start to come undone since the hairs won’t be able to lock-up properly. Not to mention, they’ll stink and can cause mold in your hair, and that’s just disgusting. Also, most people think all dreadlocks look nappy. That’s untrue, I’ve seen some people with nice & neat dreads (including myself when I did have them).

Anyone who knows me, knows that I generally don’t listen to anyone & I march to the own beat of my drum. So people’s comments are not going to affect my decision. But the comments is what made me question everyone and why they’re worried about a certain hairstyle. I’m sure if I said I wanted to color my hair bleach blonde, get a perm or get streaks in my hair, there wouldn’t be any objections. So, is it because of my race or the look of the hairstyle that makes it “wrong”, or maybe a little of both? Do people consider it cultural appropriation? If so, why… not one culture “owns” a certain hairstyle, plus western “styles” of hair and clothing has spread across the world. America is one huge melting pot, and that includes hairstyles. I’m not ashamed of my hair, I just want something different. And I know not everyone will approve of my choices, but all I’m asking is to at least respect it.

So to end this… whatever you want to call it… rant, question…etc, what have you… Here are some pictures of women who have dreads who, like me, don’t fit the “norm” profile of someone who has dreads.

P.S., I’m not a pot-smoking, tree-loving hipster either. I’m a metal lovin’ type of gal.
ROCK ON!    \m/(><)\m/