Mind + Body


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Why I Hate Women's Obsession With Hair Shrinkage

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 I went natural long before there was a community to teach me how to do my hair. I still had Indian hemp hair grease and pink lotion in my hair care rotation, which now would never suffice. I also never did the big chop; I went natural in safer space (meaning away from white people hands trying to touch it), with hair weaves. One day my hair stylist at the time said she was going to stop relaxing my hair because it made no sense to do so since my hair was away all the time. I agreed, she was my hair Goddess and never stirred me wrong. My hair grew, and I would press my leave out if I had any. My naps were never an issue for me, it was always just hair to me, as long as I like it I'm fine.  All of my hair anxiety come from the world's reaction to my hair, never anything birth in my consciousness. 

My hair is nappy, we all know straight hair isn't growingout my scalp, I never understood the big deal.
The obsession people had with my hair grew, even more, when I started wearing my Afro out in the world. Many were surprised I had hair (what did they thinking I was attaching my weave to all this time?), there were people who would ask me when I was going to do my hair, and as offensive as that question was, what actually offended me the most were the hair stretchers and the other Black women that would say things like, "don't you hate hair shrinkage" or "wait until people react to your hair straight, since they can see your “real" length. I was very taken aback by all this; this idea of proving my hair could grow was something I didn't particularly care for. This contingent of women that insisted I prove my hair had length was a phenom, I'd rather not be apart of. I thought wearing my natural hair would stop the silliness connected to my hair, but it did the opposite. People wanted to know more about my hair, had more questions on the decisions I made for my hair, and way more requirements for it. 

Black Opal Beauty

The need to prove that your hair grows is rooted in white supremacy

This need to "prove" my hair grows wasn't something I cared to do. As the natural hair community grew on social media, all the propaganda surrounding hair shrinkage was always negative. I would see statements such as “shrinkage is the devil” or “I hate shrinkage” popping up often. Then the hair stretching pictures of women elongating their curls started popping up also. Who were they proving their hair grows too? Also, what standard are they trying to uphold by giving this proof? 
Its result of women reacting to all the bad ideas tied to Black peoples hair; the white supremacist idea that the texture of Black people’s hair is bad, unmanageable and doesn’t grow. These pictures of “proof” our hair and these conversations about shrinkage and how to stop it feed the very narrative they’re trying to break. With this resistance, the idea that white gaze, and standards still need be strategically proven is not my idea of existing naturally as a Black person. I know my hair grows, even when in a shrunken afro.

Source: Naptural85/YouTube

Bcbg Max Azria Group, LLC

Shrinkage actually means my hair is healthy, and I welcome it.

But you see, the way our strands (ultimately, our follicles) are set up… usually, the tighter the curl, the more shrinkage it’ll have and the shorter it’ll appear. It’s a beautiful, unique trait of natural hair. You pull it, release it and it goes  That’s hot! Besides all that, the reality is, shrinkage is certainly not your enemy. It’s actually a good thing! 

Shrinkage=Hair Health 
You read correctly! The fact that your natural hair is able to shrink back to its normal state after being stretched by whatever means indicates that there’s a measure of health and strength in those strands. Isn’t that what we want? 

Sure, it doesn’t really help when you’ve spent all night achieving a fierce blow-out and here comes a day of 99% humidity to shrivel up those kinks! I’ve been there. But you’d better be glad your hair snapped back the way it did! 

Consider This Example 
If you straighten your natural hair on occasion, don’t you hold your breath just a lil bit when you dip your head under that water on wash day, hoping your curls come back? You may even clasp your hands together and say a little prayer! Why? Because if it DOESN’T revert back, that means your hair has suffered heat damage (unless you’re “heat-training” and you don’t care, which is another topic for another time) and now you’ll either have to live with stringy ends or cut those jokaz off. 

Bet you’d be wishing for some shrinkage then! 
It’s like a tee shirt. It has a certain shape when it’s new. Once you put it on, it stretches to fit your body. When you wash it, it shrinks back to normal. If it’s made from poor, cheap (unhealthy) material, wear it and wash it enough and it may not shrink back at all. Now it’s fitting all cray and you don’t want it anymore. But a shirt made of good quality (healthy) material will last much longer. 

That’s the best non-hair analogy I could think of but I’m sure you get the point. 

What are you thoughts on shrinkage of natural  hair? Let us know in the comments below! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

5 Things to Quit At Any Time of the Year


Many people use the New Year as a time to change old habits and start off fresh. It's a pretty good time indicator to start a new, but we all have the power to change habits as soon as we feel it is necessary for our lives, we have made a cheat sheet of habits to eliminate from your life, and will change it for the better. 

  1. People Pleasing- Live life pleasing your self, it's not being selfish. Living your life pleasing other people and fulfilling their standard is the fastest way to be unhappy. Embrace how full you feel when you please yourself and stay in that place, also consider how long that feeling lasts verse when you please other people. 
  2. Playing Small- One thing many people marginalized people are taught is to shrink themselves, to either fit in, assimilate and not draw attention to themselves. This is a tool that works very well for oppressive systems like racism, sexism, anti-gay and anti-trans behavior to continue, and to ignore the needs of these groups. Women, in particular, are told to shrink themselves, and fed ideas like Be Lady Like to mute your being. Stop doing this as soon as possible, take up space, be heard and seen as much as possible. 
  3. Procrastinating-  If you put everything off for later eventually nothing will get done. Usually, procrastination is fueled by anxiety to start a task, it's  more than just not starting a project. It's helpful to create routines or break large tasks into smaller ones to curve the onset of procrastination. Remember, the only thing in life you can't get back is time, so treat your time like a priceless commodity.
  4. Living in the Past- Most depressive feelings (non-clinical) can be birthed from living in the past. Understand you can't change the past, but you can take steps in the present to heal from it. Progress works by combatting things in the now. Many times people live in the past because they have never confronted them and taken the steps to leave them behind them. If this step is a hard one to overcome, seek therapy if. Therapy is a great form of self if it's financially attainable. 
  5. Perfectionism This doesn't exist,  actually it will never exist and that is fine. When you strive for perfectionism, you will always fall short because you are reaching for something unattainable. Why set yourself up for horrible feelings? The best way to deal with a false sense of perfectionism is understanding there are things in life that are out of your control, another is by getting over yourself. Don't take yourself too seriously, it makes things a bit easier. 


What bad habits are you trying to quit now? Let u know in the comments below! 

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 

Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

    Thursday, December 28, 2017

    Three Real Reasons You Are Not Getting The Commitment You Deserve

    Photo via Createherstock

    I was chatting with a friend the other day when we began talking about her man. Although they have been in an exclusive, committed relationship for the last five months, she felt discomfort she about being firmly located in the land of relationship status ambiguity.  After a night of passion, she awoke the next morning and confessed her feelings. Her gentleman panicked and told her that although he doesn’t want to see other people or be with anyone other than her, he was not ready to be in a ‘relationship’.

    Okay. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure he's not

    Are you sympathetically grimacing at your screen for my friend? ...Wondering why your partner said the same thing once?

    Welcome to the second installment of The Wonderful World of Vagina’s A blog series dedicated to outlining issues for people by folks with vaginas. This edition?


    Don’t worry - I’ve got answers:

    You haven't set enough boundaries-An important part of every relationship is respect. How does one earn respect in life and relationships?  BY SETTING BOUNDARIES!

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    ...Maybe not this sort of boundary

    Boundaries tell people how they can and cannot treat you and draw lines in the sand, that those who respect you will not cross. If your partner thinks they can have their cake and eat it too, make sure they understand that getting into the inner sanctum of your relationship perks CANNOT be obtained with an easy fuck and a snuggle. If they are already getting everything they need from you without commitment, what is the incentive to be in a committed relationship? I’ll clue you in. THEY DON’T HAVE ONE. While this isn’t the sounding alarm to suddenly withhold sex and build crazy, emotional walls. You probably shouldn’t start doing their laundry or cooking three-course meals until they decide to be your exclusive, committed partner.

    They are "getting their shit together"

    I read an article once, on, to slightly paraphrase:

    When your partner says, “I’m not ready for a relationship yet,” they may very well mean, “I’m not ready to take you on,” instead of, “I’m not ready to give up being single.”

    Image result for bite shiny metal ass gif
    You heard the robot

    This is a rather bullshit excuse! Tell them to call you when they’re ready for a challenge, because life isn’t easy and neither are you. You shouldn’t have to change to fit their needs! If your partner isn’t adult enough to realize that NO ONE HAS THEIR SHIT TOGETHER you shouldn’t be with them! If your partner isn’t mature enough to realize that you should STILL BE A LOVING HUMAN WHILE YOUR SHIT IS NOT TOGETHER you shouldn’t be with them! If your partner isn’t hard enough to realize that THIS IS THE ENTIRETY OF LIFE, you shouldn’t be with them! You don't need that kind of negativity in your life!

    They aren't ready for a relationship

    People will straight up tell you this. They will say things like “I feel like the timing is just off” or “I don’t think people are biologically wired to commit to one another” or “Please stop talking to yourself in my DM’s and lurking in my driveway at night ... you are terrifying.”. Listen to them when they say these things! STEP AWAY FROM THEIR DRIVEWAY! Do NOT think you can change their mind by using any of the following things:

    • Your bomb ass sex game
    • Your bomb ass personality
    • Your bomb ass cooking 
    • Your bomb ass paycheck
    • Your bomb ass ass

    I know ... I'm sorry. I'm sure your ass is perfect!

    You have to realize all of the above are band-aids and stop-gaps on a much more serious wound! A TRIFLING ATTITUDE. If you are clearly looking for a relationship and the person you’re talking to isn’t with “the shits”, but still wants all of your benefits, I’m going to need you to locate the hills and run for them! That person is wasting your time!

    “Ok ok ok” I can practically hear you say, “so you made your little list and you dragged me by the hair. I’m mostly nosy though and want to know what happened to your friend. I scrolled all the way down here and dealt with how much you talk on paper and not in videos. I deserve a reward.”

    Feeling a little attacked here but, ... okay

    How does the story end with my unfortunate friend? Happily!

    Once she expressed her initial displeasure and even more after that, she decided on setting THE MOST MINOR BOUNDARY IN LIFE!
    After expressing that she would rather not continue arguing via text, or at all. She told him she was angry about his lack of ability to commit to their clearly, already existing relationship. She did not want to speak to him until a time in the future when she felt less like tearing his head from his shoulders, or when he would have a more acceptable answer for her.
    After a few hours had passed, everyone was left alone to think and calm down. He showed up at her apartment, took her out to dinner, and told her that her silence spoke volumes. It had shown him, more than anything else, how much he had hurt her. He apologized and asked if she would please consider being his girlfriend if being with him was still something she wanted. She agreed and they are now a happy couple.

    Your ending might not be as neat, but you have to learn to stick to your guns! If your partner can’t respect your boundaries, whatever they may be, kick ‘em to the curb guiltlessly because THEY WEREN’T RIGHT FOR YOU! The right partner will respect your boundaries and love you more for them. So get out there and FIND EM!

    Think this is mildly useful and want a low-pressure way to make us happy? LIKE THIS! Low key have a question you want to ask us? We can't know your thoughts unless you SAY SOMETHING with a comment! Are you in the same boat as my friend and kind of want to sub-tweet at the guilty party about it? SHARE it and start a conversation!

    By Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans. 

    Monday, December 18, 2017

    Nervous About Meeting Your Partners Parent's For The Holidays? Don't Worry, We Got You!

    It is officially the most wonderful and expensive time of year yet again! CUFFING SEASON. Thanksgiving and Halloween are safely in the past, and since we have all been staring at Christmas tree decorations since October 31st (looking at you, Target!) Your thoughts are probably turning toward the most dreaded part of the year.

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    Caption: New relationship responsibilities

    This edition of The Wonderful World of Vaginas: WHAT DO I SAY TO MY PARTNERS PARENTS OVER DINNER?!

    1. Go in prepared! Talk to your partner! No one knows their family better than they do! Ask them for a quick rundown of the main event. Ask your partner about who the difficult family members are, what topics are sensitive, and what things you should expect to be asked. Remember that these people are not the static, cut-outs in your mind! Prepare for awkward questions that you don’t necessarily want to answer. Get in front of a mirror and practice crafting some diplomatic answers. Practice and don't feel silly! You're a grown ass human being and you can do whatever you want!Image result for do whatever i want gif
    2.  Come bearing gifts!   DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SHAMELESSLY WARM YOUR WAY INTO THE GOOD GRACES OF YOUR PARTNER'S FAMILY. YOU WANT THOSE PEOPLE LIKING YOU MORE THAN YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER BY THE END OF THE NIGHT. Come bearing whatever you think they will like best! A safe bet is to always bring alcohol. A quality wine is a great gift that shows class and will serve the dual purpose of mellowing out the relatives. You can also ask your partner what their family likes to drink, if you’re not comfortable with guessing. Aim for the most important members of your partners family. You don’t want to schmooze mom if the opinion that really matters to your partner is that of their cousin. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL

                          Got some non-drinkers on your hands?
      Image result for you're a monster gif
      What kind of sober monsters are these people!?

      Bake something! Baked goods are pretty safe in the food department. Keep in mind that food, during the holidays, is sacred, especially for POC. Also, the family might not trust your three-bean casserole yet.
      Start small and bring something like a cake or a pie. Maybe even a parfait. Because like Donkey said "everybody likes parfaits."!    

      Stephanie knows why. Don't be Stephanie. 
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    3. Stay out of the R.E.A.P Zone Follow this rule of thumb and R.E.A.P. the benefits! This acronym is a nice rule of thumb for what topics NOT to breach over dinner. I use it when going into new social situations with people I want to get along with, but don’t quite have a feel for yet.
      R - Religion
      E - Economics
      A - Abortion
      P - Politics
      You never know who is around your dinner table, especially when interacting with extended family members from your new, or not so new, partner. The 53%  elected a shaken up bottle of Fanta as our president. Let's stay away from all political danger zones.

      Inline image 2
      Opening the night with your thoughts on the new world order might not be a “classy” opening night conversation and thats the last of it!
    4. Eat Modestly Fucking Relax Your partner likes you. Your partners family likes your partner. (If your partners family doesn’t even like their own offspring, what the hell are you doing at their dinner table anyway???) Odds are they will like you as well, hopefully even more than you expected. MOST of us don’t have to deal with the HORRIBLE relatives, and even if they ARE horrid, at this point, you will literally have done all you can do. So, you might as well chill out, drink your alcohol, don’t overeat, and enjoy! You got this!!!

    5. Fucking Relax Your partner likes you. Your partners family likes your partner. (If your partners family doesn’t even like their own offspring, what the hell are you doing at their dinner table anyway???) Odds are they will like you as well, hopefully even more than you expected. MOST of us don’t have to deal with the HORRIBLE relatives, and even if they ARE horrid, at this point, you will literally have done all you can do. So, you might as well chill out, drink your alcohol, don’t overeat, and enjoy! You got this!!!

      By Alisha Smith, Alisha is a 24 year old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans. 


    Sunday, November 19, 2017

    The Call For Non-White Roommates At Universities Is Necessary

    Photo via Createherstock

    Early November a former college freshman was charged with a hate crime after allegedly tormented her Black roommate, whom she called Jamaican Barbie.

    According to the Huffington Post , Hartford police arrested Brianna Rae Brochu after they say she admitted to committing a series of vile acts against Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe in order to get Rowe to move out of the dorm they shared at the University of Hartford.

    Police said Brochu confessed to licking Rowe’s dining utensils and smearing menstrual blood on her backpack
    , according to the Hartford Courant. However, she did not admit to any of the other heinous acts she posted about on social media, telling police that anything else she described was merely an attempt to “appear funny.”

    On Instagram, where her account has since been made private, Brochu had boasted about putting moldy clam dip in Rowe’s lotions, spitting in her coconut oil and sticking Rowe’s toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine.”

    This story was made news due to social media the hyper visibility it brought to the incident.  There are many people of color that have lived with white roommates and have been terrorized with micro and macro aggressions in the place they should be able to call home. At many universities the request for non-white roommates are on the rise. Many feel its with just cause,  but many universities don't oblige, and think it's racist.

    Dylan's Candy Bar

    According to the Independent, Kare Urena, a rising junior at Pitzer College, posted the housing advertisement on her personal Facebook page, saying she and two others were looking for a roommate. "POC only," the post reportedly said, referring to people of color. "I don't want to live with any white folks," Urena reportedly added.

    The Independent included Facebook comments from other students who were taken aback by the seemingly racist nature of the post. Other students commented that they understood and respected the desire to create a safe space in one's home, free from racial divides.

    Safe places to live, in college and beyond is important and very necessary. A few women shared their experience with horrible white roommates with us.
    Trigger warning for some white fuck shit:
    Story told by Victoria Mills

    Black Opal Beauty Black Friday Banner

    Another story by Iskae Khadiya Smith 

    We received many stories, of unsanitary conditions, verbal abuse and white roommates  insisting it was the person of colors job to be their teacher of their race an culture. Coming home continuously to those behaviors, after already experiencing the the many isms in the world can be heavy on your mental health. The call for non-white roommates at universities is necessary.

    Have you experience mental violence due to a roommate of another race? Please share your story in the comments below.

    By Queen 
    Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
    Follow Queen 
    Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

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