Reader Question: Why do you use the word Nappy?
This doesn’t happen too often, but occasionally I get comments that question my use of the word nappy. Most recently, one of my readers, Mardi, left this comment, which I decided to address here.
Q: Why is it that you call the hair on your head nappy. First you should change your lango and start maybe using the term overy curly hair. When the term over curly is used it puts a different perpestive on the type of hair that we have. People will start to view the texture of their hair differently. The hair used to be nappy when their werent a lot of hair products to moisturise the hair. Their are many, many products available for the over curly hair that any one could purchase over the counter or to their cosmetologist.
A: Well personally, I’ve never had a negative reaction to the word nappy. Growing up, I took it to mean texture, not unkempt or dirty. Everyone around me had nappy hair; we all knew it, and I can’t recall people having a problem with that. It wasn’t until I started frequenting hair boards about four years ago coupled with the IMUS Nappy-headed Ho controversy, that I discovered “nappy” was a fightin’ word to some.
So when I use the word nappy, I use it to describe the texture of my hair and others who have kinky/highly textured hair. And I actually use all three of these terms interchangeably.
To me, there’s nothing bad about my nappy texture. With that in mind, ask yourself if someone could have nappy hair that’s unkempt and unclean? If you’re honest, you’d say, “Sure they can.” And then ask yourself, if someone could have beautiful, clean and STYLED and UNSTYLED nappy hair? Again, the answer is yes. So you see, the term nappy is NOT about grooming, it’s about texture. And if you’re on board with that mindset, you take the negative out of nappy.
With regard to product selection, as long as you’re not chemically or thermally altering its texture, no product is going to get rid of your naps.
Now, as far as your perferred term of “overly curly” is concerned, that to me suggests an extreme of sorts and comes across as negative. And quite frankly, I don’t consider ink pen sized coils to be curls. And why does calling nappy hair curly seem to make some people feel better about their NAPPY hair. Ok, unless of course you really do have nappy hair that does naturally show and allow some measure of curl definition. If that’s the case, then knock yourself out calling your hair curly, but if you have hair like mine, you’d be hard press to find a curl on your head. And if you do, why is it better to have others perceive your hair as “curly” hair as opposed to nappy? Do you really think that people look at NAPPY hair and see curls? I don’t think so. If someone told me they had curly hair, and I couldn’t see them, I wouldn’t picture MY hair. Instead, I would visualize this
So to me, my hair is not overly anything nor is it curly. And truth be told, I don’t have a lot of coils either. My strands are a combination of irregular loops, bends and some coils that all take a different route that literally create kinks and a whole lot of texture. And geesh, sometimes this all takes place on the same strand. This is true for most nappy heads that I’m familiar with.
Now, if you do personally take issue with the word nappy, then that’s certainly your perogative. However, it’s also your own hang up about the word, not mine. And if you or anyone else has a problem with the word nappy or with having nappy hair, most likely you’ve got issues with wearing your natural hair no matter the term used to describe it. At the end of the day, it is what it is. Kinky, nappy or highly textured or even eh, overly curly, if you don’t embrace what’s growing out of your head, it won’t matter what you or anyone else calls it.
Because, a nap, by any other name is still a nap.