Thursday, 16 October 2014

Dear White People: Afro Wigs Are Not A Costume

Yeah. I totally stole the movie title.

this one came under 'costumes for halloween wigs'

I went to a themed party about a month ago where the dress-code was 'Wear A Hat'. Easy enough. I borrowed a hard-hat from my brother even though it matched nothing I wore because I thought it was funny. Plus I don't own any hats. I got to the party and there was a lot of head gear on display, extravagant day-at-the-races hats, some arab-style scarves but by far, the most popular headpieces were .. afro wigs. At least half the people at the party were wearing them! I shouldn't be surprised really; I've been to a lot of fancy dress parties (blame my husband) and afro wigs never fail to make an appearance, no matter how tenuous the link to the actual theme may be. It never really bothered me before; I felt mild irritation but guess I just never took my hair that seriously. A turning point, however, was when I first went natural and went to a 60s night with my real hair and everyone was super amused that I had an actual afro. Me, not so much.

that 60s party 

Since then, this trend has increasingly bothered me. I truly don't understand why it is considered comical to wear your hair in a style that is almost entirely naturally attributed to one ethnic group. And it's not just afros that are fair game; Rasta hats resplendent in faux dreads, are another common choice for comedy gear. True, you do see the occasional blond 'milk-maid' pigtails but the most popular parody wigs by far, are afros. 

I'm sure there will be people out there thinking this is political correctness on steroids but it really isn't. Whether you want to admit it or not, these huge, woolly wigs are a stereotypical caricature of black hair. And it's not just the wigs but the general buffoonery surrounding those who don them. There is only the basest of humour to be found in mocking someone's ethnicity. And while most people would be extremely uncomfortable about blacking their faces (except the Dutch, who still think Zwarte Piet is cool), nobody thinks twice about wearing an afro wig as a joke because well, its funny, right? Everybody's doing it, right? It's not hurting anybody... right?


No comments:

Post a Comment