“I’m Not Pretty Without Weave”…Confessions of the Weave Dependents

Some sisters feel they have to sew, glue, and purchase their way to beauty. What’s behind their addiction?

By: Amanda Anderson

Weave has to be one of the most polarizing topics in the African American community. While it’s true that black women aren’t the only ones looking to weave to achieve their beauty driven agendas, it is clear that other women tend to fit the standard of beauty created by the media more than black women. For years, it’s been suggested that straighter hair is better, and by all means, black women…your hair isn’t good enough. So instead we, glue, stitch, or sew some other woman’s hair on top of our “ugly hair” to get closer to meeting those standards. Now there are some black women who aren’t depending on weaves, wigs, or meeting the European standards of beauty. These ladies may rock a weave from time to time, but by no means is it required for them, to feel beautiful. They feel just as beautiful without the tracks. To them, weave’s just convenient, but not a necessity to feel attractive. 
And then there are the weave dependents. Without their weave, they feel unattractive, unworthy, uncomfortable, and inferior to the media’s pushed standards of beauty. 
How did any woman get to this point of weave dependency? Here’s their take on the weave addiction.
” I started wearing weave when I was in high school. I know it sounds crazy, but I would spend my little work money on tracks and glue, and spend hours in the bathroom gluing tracks in. With enough skill, I got really good at doing it. My hair wasn’t nearly as long as the weave, so I am sure that the length plays a part in me feeling more attractive with it. After a while, I just became so obsessive. I no longer wore my real hair. I paid the price for it because my hair began to break off really badly, and thin faster than I could manage. I eventually had to cut my hair into a short cut, and that had to be one of my lowest moments. I felt so unattractive with the short cut, and naked without the weave. I tried to get through the first week weave less, but ended up at the hair store mid week. I really want to break this addiction because I have a daughter now, and I don’t want to raise her to hate her hair or hate how she looks like me. It would break my heart to see her dependent on weave, and battle low self esteem. Eventually, I am going to break the habit. I guess I’m still looking for reassurance that I can even do this.”- Janet D.
” Yeah, I’m addicted to weave but I don’t really care that I am addicted. I mean really, it’s not my fault that society pushes this standard of beauty that black women can’t meet naturally. People tell me all of the time to wear my hair more, but I don’t see the point. Hell even the men themselves like weave more than they would like to admit. Black men love long hair, and I don’t have long hair. I still want them to be attracted to me, so I sew in some tracks. I see a lot of sisters going natural and cutting out the weave, but I’m not really encouraged to follow suit. I feel beautiful with my weave, and even if that is sad, it’s just the way society has made it. When the standards  change, maybe I’ll reconsider weave. But until then, I just want to feel beautiful and make some heads turn.”-Monica K.
“I definitely feel more confident when I have some hair flowing in the wind. But I don’t think it’s fair to get on black women about wearing weaves, we didn’t make up these standards on beauty. We’re not even the only race of women that wears them, even white women put in tracks to create more volume and even length. Maybe we’re more dependent on weave than they are, but it does seem like we are being called out unnecessarily for doing something that a lot of women do.”-Nicole W.
I can’t speak for all black women, but I guess I’m addicted to weave because long European hair has been and will continue to be a prevailing symbol of beauty. My real hair is shoulder length, but I definitely feel like I get more attention from black men when I have in longer tracks. They say they don’t like weave, but yet they break their necks for the women with weaves. Deep down inside, we all just want to be that woman worthy of the neck break. If black men were more supportive of natural beauty like they claim to be, they would stop giving the fake beauties so much attention. They praise fake women like Kim K, but dog out the sisters with weaves. If they wouldn’t worship so many fake Hollywood beauties, then just maybe black women would take it easy on the weaves. It’s not any deeper than that.”- Kara J. 
Each response sheds it’s own light on the weave obsession, and its ties to acceptance from black men and a close minded society, but each saddens me more for one reason: some of us have allowed society to determine how we feel about ourselves. Weave isn’t the end all be all in the woes of the black community, but the absence of self-esteem and self love are. 
Hair is just hair, but our attitudes about ourselves dictate rather we are beautiful or not; not a media ignorant on any other race accept the majority. I seriously hope all of these women will be able to see beauty without the extensions, and realize that the best kind of love starts on the inside. And only then will someone have the desire to love the same person you finally developed the courage to start loving.  

9 comments

  1. Some of these responses are just sad. The woman with the daughter saddened me. I'm with her, I hope her daughter doesn't adopt the same views as her mother. So sad that some women need weave to feel beautiful.

  2. One of the major reasons I started wearing my natural hair is because I realized that I couldn't even step outside to throw away trash without either a)putting on a scarf, or b)throwing on my lace front wig. I realized that I did not feel pretty or beautiful w/ out fake hair or at least something covering my own hair. One week, I just decided that I'd no longer allow myself to not (learn to) accept my God-given beauty. I decided to give my natural self a chance. I know better now, so I will do better.

  3. I wore locks for about eight years and then braids for one year. I haven't had a perm since the 90's but still find it really hard to just accept my hair as it is. When I had locks they were really long so it was easy to appreciate my hair even though it wasn't straight. Now its not long and it's not straight and I struggle daily with the compulsion to go do something to drastically change my hair. The belief that I am not enough as I am is so deeply engrained that I cannot seem to free myself even though I have been natural for years. This is really sad. I do not down any black woman for adding to her hair because this burden of being made to feel less than from birth is very hard to bear. And we are human not saints.

  4. I'm 16 and I do feel that I'm not pretty without weave I mean before I started wearing weave I felt pretty good bout myself I first started wearing it when I was 14 and now I'm addicted its about being accepted a highschool thing and everyday kids are like your hair is so pretty and when I don't wear weave they say nothing. And I really want boys to like me. I just feel prettier with weave

    1. There is nothing wrong with wearing weave. Just make sure you are taking good care of your hair underneath the weave. So when you do want to wear your real hair you have some. And I understand how high school is. College will be different for you hopefully. People are more broadminded, but that is dependent on where you attend. I wish you all the best!

  5. Yes, women of other ethnic groups wear weaves; however, they do not wear weave that is different from their own texture. Black women go beyond just seeking a fuller/longer look; they go for the longer, fuller, and anything far from the texture of my roots. It is sad!. I understand why black men don’t trip off of someone like Kim K. wearing weave because it is a known fact that if she takes out her weave she will not look drastically different, nor would she have to go through extreme measures to retain a certain texture like most black women do when perming their hair.

  6. The author is right. One of the underlying issues with every woman was self-esteem issues. I am not going to lie. It really does take a bold woman to step out and choose to go against the grain by taking the weave out or off, cutting hair off, going natural, ect, ect. I remember my sophomore year in college when I wore weave back to back and I received tons of compliments from dudes. I remember thinking at the time to myself I could never go without weave because I wouldn’t feel as pretty. Fast-forward to now, I am a senior in college with about 1 inch of natural hair on my head. I am not going to glorify the experience and pretend like rose petals now fall from the earth every time I rise in the morning. However, I can say it has been a beautiful experience for me to stand in front of the mirror with a clean scalp and realize that I am more than hair (whether it’s mines or someone elses’) I can feel for these ladies because I know how they feel and what they are going through. I feel like people should do what makes them happy so if wearing weave does then go ahead. However, when something like weave starts feeling like a necessity instead of an option it becomes bondage instead of a gift. I believe it just takes self-love to get over this small issue. I realized also that I do not even care to attract the attention of a man who cant accept me or doesn’t find me attractive for who I am naturally. Most guys who are interested in girls who look like video vixens don’t have the personality, ambition, mindset, values, morals to keep my attention from jumpstreet. Anyways these ladies will be alright. They will overcome this issue.

  7. We can talk about self love and self acceptance until the end of ome. Hair is and has been throughout history a POWERFUL symbol of beauty. It doesn’t have to be straight, but long, thick and healthy hair adds to any woman’s allure. Race has little bearing on this: there are countless examples of black women who have grown their non- straight hair to lengths they could never have imagined back in the Luster’s Pink Oil days. All it takes is TLC and a little time.

    No, it is not “just hair”. It is a biological signal that a woman is healthy.

    1. If hair is only supposed to show good health, then it should matter for a black women to have extremely long hair, but poofy hair. How could it be biological that hair that lays down flat would be attractive for every person, if they’ve been surrounded by women whose hair does the opposite? The curlier your hair is, the more shrunken it will look. That has nothing to do with hair health as you can have altered hair that’s down to your back but untouched it could appear to be around 2 inches long.

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