Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The American Version of Glamour Magazine needs to buy a clue.

So there has been much debate in the Blogsphere and salons about this. I first heard about the controversy over at Afrobella's blog.

Guess what - relaxed hair can also be unprofessional. Why is keeping my hair the same texture that it grows out of my head political?! If you keep your hair clean and tidy what is the problem?

I was watching the news up here in Toronto and I saw a black female reporter with shoulder length twists in her hair. I was shocked!! Meanwhile, American black women are being told if you want to be "professional" you must burn your hair to fit it. I say no! If someone wants to spend the time, money and use those chemicals/heat, cool but to be told you have to is ridiculous.

Why should I be ashamed of my hair's real texture? If my hair was supposed to be bone straight it would be. It is 2007. Why is Glamour magazine doing articles like this?

I used to love Glamour. Then after Bonnie Fuller took over (I think she did or do I just like to blame her for the tabloidzation of America on principle?) the mag went down hill. I know they have had new editors but after this article I won't be buying their magazine. In my eyes Glamour has become a magazine don't.


Jen said...

That's just ridiculous. Professional is as professional does. And no one should have to conform to another cultural "look." Sheesh.

gibber said...

Oh man. This pissed me off to no end. And as a woman with locks, I'm aware that I might have an issue working in some uptight corporate structure. Well...I would NEVER want to work anywhere where hair is that much of an issue. Whatever with that.

This line made me laugh: “can I touch it,” (answer: no, I am not your personal Chia Pet) So damned true. NO you can't touch my hair. Damnit!

And the biggest insult to me is that the army makes black women cut their locks off. Now, it's NOT about length, because active duty white women can have long hair (remember jessica lynch? her hair was long). Nope, it's just black women and locks. Now why the hell is that? "Please put your life on the line for your country but first, can you put some chemicals in your hair, some heat, or cut it all off?" THAT IS SOME BULLSHIT.

Oh, and I canceled my Glamour subscription 3 years ago. They suck now. Self is so much better.

Tina said...

That really is ridiculous.
Why is it that anything that's not perfectly smooth and straight, is considered "unprofessional"...?
I'm not black myself but I do have naturally curly/wavy hair, and I have recently decided that anyone who can't handle it can just buzz off. Why should I have to fight with my hair (and damage it, and spend money on product) when I can just be myself?
I don't read fashion magazines at all and this is one of the many reasons.

Miriam said...

fashion magazines! who needs 'em! :0)

Nice blog.

sognatrice said...

Wow. That is just amazing.

FWIW, the law is right up there with the most discriminatory professions out there (for anyone who isn't a white man), so in that sense, this kind of stuff doesn't surprise me. Disgusts me, absolutely, of course.

Reminds me of that scene in Philadelphia when they talked about the black secretary being asked to take off her "ethnic" earrings.

Mah. 2007. Honestly.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - exactly!

gibber - I forgot about the Army regulations. That is ridiculous. You know what is funny? I work in a non corporate enviroment yet I get comments about my hair. Next L.A. brother who asks me why I don't straigthen my hair, I will tell him not to ask me stupid questions, shallow mofo! haha

tina - hello, the whole thing is just crazy. Remember when Annika started to embrace her curls? Her hair looks so healthly probably because she is no longer beating it into submission. If I see one more movie where the ugly duckling's curls are blown out so she can become a swan I am going to walk out. :)

miriam - thank you. I actually love certain magazines mostly shelter (Elle Decor and Domino)and esp. my Vogues (Italian, French and American...I don't really check out the British addition too much) but they have better articles on art, music, film, politics etc than Glamour, Harper's Bazaar and I don't know what the heck is going on at Elle. Essence has better news and current events now under their new editor but that Puffy/Kim Porter cover story? Why?

sognatrice - seriously, that editor was tripping. The law firm actually put out a email to all the employees dismissing her comment.

However, working in Hollywood it 's clear there is still only one standard of beauty when it comes to black women. The closer you are to it the better. I really feel for the actresses...it's brutal.

Kataroma said...

Wow - that is truly evil. How dare they tell black women that their hair is not "professional" au naturel? Ugh.

I also once read an article (can't remember which magazine) which said that big boobs aren't "professional." Apparently if you want to be taken seriously in the workplace you should have medium sized boobs. Great - so I'll just go get 'em sliced off so that others (men) will see me as a professional rather than a bimbo/earth mother.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - I have heard and read that a lot.

I do have a large chest myself (also naturally) and I resent the idea that having curves implies stupidity.

Are we supposed to dress like men? Give me a break. Of course I would never show up at work looking like like a stripper but to say having large boobs is "umprofessional" is ridiculous. There can be a balance. Clearly no one has told professional women in other countries (esp. Italy, France, Brazil etc.) where women believe it's okay to be a chemical engineer or whatever and wear a dress that shows some cleavage. I did the whole button up thing but now that I'm older and it won't long before zee breasts are at my knees I am going to rock out (uhm once I move to Rome that is.) haha

Kataroma said...

Yeah, I agree NYC - I, very, very occasionally, show some cleavage these days. But only occasionally. I'd would never do it at work. I guess I've been traumatized by years of sleazy male attention which is actually particularly bad here in Rome.

But the article didn't say "don't show any cleavage at work" (IMO sensible unless you're a stripper or cocktail waitress), it said "don't have big boobs." That's what offended me - the idea that I chose to have them and that they signal something about the size of my brain or my competence at work.

Italian women tend not to have much in the boob department (bra sizes come in 1,2 and 3 - and anyone above a D cup in US sizes had better forget it!) but what they do have they tend to show off. Donatella Versace is the look which many seem to strive for here. :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - yes, I agree. The message smaller boobs = professionalism is crazy. As if we can and should control the size of our breasts.

regarding my "declaration" let's see what happens when I actually get to Rome. Old habits (my dressing like a nun) are hard to break. :)

Amanda said...


I read your post about a Glamour editor’s comments on hairstyles for work, and I’d like to share with you our thoughts. First, we regret the comments were made. The employee, a junior staffer, not a beauty editor, spoke to a small group of lawyers at a private luncheon without her supervisor’s knowledge or approval, and her comment — that Afros are not work appropriate — does not represent Glamour's point of view.

Secondly, immediately upon learning of it, we sought to rectify the situation. The editor has been dealt with in a very serious manner, and the entire staff has been reminded of the magazine’s policies and procedures for making public appearances.

Glamour is proud of its diverse readership and celebrates the beauty of ALL women. We have responded directly and openly with readers to assure them of this fact. We have also apologized to the law firm, and we extend the same apology to you.

If you know others who were offended by this incident, To ask you to please pass along this letter. So they, too, know how sorry we are.

Cindi Leive
Editor-in-Chief, Glamour