The Anthropologist and Social Worker in me, is always worried about offending cultures/religions and actually anyone. So I’ve wondered if I would anger anyone if I dread locked my thin stick straight boring hair.
I realize that hair is a touchy subject tied to beauty, identity and politics, and that hairstyles, like fashion, can make a statement adding complexity to the issue of cultural appropriation, while others might argue that wearing dreads is appreciation.
For me, its neither appropriation or appreciation. While I appreciate the context, and how locks are sacred and historically significant to multiple cultures from India to ancient Egypt, Germanic tribes, Vikings, Pacific Islanders, early Christians, New Gineans, Aborigines, the Galla, Maasai, Somali, Ashanti and Fulani tribes of Africa, and of course the Rastafarians; to me, my inspiration behind getting the locks is the psychadelic rainbow colored synthetic dreads I saw in Spanish street fashion when I was passing through on my backpacking adventures.
My hair, has always been my creative outlet, it’s been my way to color outside the lines and express myself. I want to finally give myself permission to just do whatever I feel like doing with my hair, because I’m not too old, and I don’t want to have to care about what other people will think. I’m really trying to let go of caring. Because I do care. But I know I shouldn’t hold myself back from living life in fear of being judged. Because life is too short, and as I am watching my hair fall out after this pregnancy, I am realizing that anything I’ve ever wanted to do with my hair I should take a Carpe Diem approach with, because if I want to get dreds or color it purple again like I did in high-school, or if I want to grow it long, or cut my bangs, or shave it all off…. why not!? It’s just hair. Might as well have fun with it while I have it 😉 Sure, there are people who will think I look crazy, or dumb, or maybe they’ll be insulted somehow by however I chose to put myself together. Or maybe they’ll think I lost it, that I’ve flown off the deep end or that I’m having some kind of life crisis. And that’s OK. I can’t control what anyone else thinks. I simply just thing they look cool, and I hate my boring flat hair.
“after doing lots of research, I think anyone can wear dreads, it’s all about the individuals experience. If you are concerned about cultural appropriation, many feel the dreadlocks do not fit into one culture. Historically and presently people all over the world have dreads and other hair extensions/decorations. However, cultural appropriation is very real and very problematic and harmful and cultures should be respected and not commodified.”
In terms of feeling “too old” to wear them, her response was: “You are never too old for dreads, some of the most stunning pics I have seen are of beautiful women with silver blended dreads. Absolutely stunning. Ultimately, it should feel right for you to wear them. If you’re curious and afraid to try, then you should try them, because not doing something out of fear may not get you where you want to go in life. Be bold, take a risk!”
I love how Iconic Locks encourages people to “rock their own style and get excited about having custom color blends made, custom thicknesses and lengths. Your choice of decor. What kind of a vibe do you want to bring to your dreads? There are beads of every color, every material. If you’re into rainbows and resins, flowers and lace, hemp and wood, whatever you feel represents you and be added to your dreads! Personalizing them is so much fun, and you can change up the decorations whenever you like.”
I absolutely am head over heals in love with dreads. Not only do I think they’re so awesome on peoples heads, but they symbolize a sense of freedom for me, in fact, I’m so inspired by them, they actually influence so many of my fashion designs from my custom rainbow wedding dresses to my electrical light up gowns, in a crazy 3 dimensional flowey mixed media, textured way.
“There’s something really romantic about dreadlocks. It changes the sense of self and identity. I’ve had customers tell me that it really helped them evolve into someone they felt more confident being. Dreadlocks really represent a certain sense of freedom. To me, when I have dreads, I feel more confident and approachable. People interact with me in a different way. I seem to attract a lot of good luck and sweet interactions. Maybe people assume that I am more open or free spirited because of my dreads.”- Therin Mayhem
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