Since the beginning of time, women have been told that their hair is their crown and glory. It is what makes them feminine, attractive, and in many ways, a woman. Nell Coleman of The Bald Movement is challenging that idea of hair=beauty by founding a movement that celebrates the beauty of a woman without hair and proving that hair does not make the woman.
I chatted with Nell last week about The Bald Movement and what it stood for. I am being completely honest when I say this was one of the most insightful and familiar conversations I have ever had the pleasure of having. Don’t worry, I’m sharing:
YFN: What is The Bald Movement exactly?
TBM: The Bald Movement is an online community built to provide support and empowerment to bald women. The goal is to enhance self esteem and self confidence, and lessen depression through talking and sharing stories about baldness on a platform that is like a community.
YFN: What led you to being bald?
TBM: As a child, I was always ridiculed because of my looks. Perms, weaves, natural, all of everything and I was never accepted. I was always made fun of because of my hair. I decided one day that I didn’t want to hate myself anymore and I wanted to love me. I figured I’d remove the very thing causing me stress— my hair. For the first time, I felt beautiful and confident and people sensed that.
YFN: I can definitely relate to that feeling of freedom and true beauty by letting go of beauty standards. Why do you think our culture is so obsessed with hair and why we will do anything to get it?
TBM: Society tells us this is how you need to look to be considered beautiful. Texture is bad, black hair is bad, silky straight hair, though, is good. Long hair is professional and accepted.
YFN: The word NAPPY in the natural hair community or black hair community holds a ton of negative connotation. It is almost taboo. Do you feel like the word bald has some of that same taboo?
TBM: The way bald is seen is:
Bald = sick, old, stressed, masculine
My new idea of bald = good, freedom, liberation, courage, strength
Being bald is freeing and liberating for other women out there just like me. My word for this movement is baldie. People ask me why I use that word. I do because it is a representation of themselves, myself.
YFN: That change in definition is so powerful. That strength is so parallel to the strength I found going natural. What can natural women or women going natural learn from baldies?
TBM: Hair is an accessory. It does not define who you are; you do, your mind, heart and soul do. You don’t need to change anything about yourself. You need to start to accept yourself first.
Nell is working on a line of apparel that will allow women to wear who they are on the outside. Join The Bald Movement’s amazing message and keep up with their latest happenings by checking out their site at thebaldmovement.com, follow them on Twitter @theBALDmovement and on instagram @thebaldmovement.