I recently read on Essence that an Australian scientist is working to develop a pill that will make curly hair straight. This isn't new, however. Five years ago, ABC reported that L'Oreal researchers are creating a pill that will do the same. Apparently, these pills could replace relaxers and flat irons one day, but as Tia Williams pointed out, as scientist isolate the gene that makes our curly, it may eventually be removed altogether.
Our efforts to integrate diversity in our culture are being counteracted by this type of "progress." Why should we face the stigma our natural hair has when it is becoming increasingly easier just to chemically alter it in order to forget that we weren't born with what the world labels a genetic mistake. Instead of teaching society to embrace genetic diversity, we will jump at the chance to consume a product that brings us closer to the European standard. To make matters worse, as more of us transform ourselves to look European, we support the fear and ridicule of natural hair, reducing it to nothing more than being something foreign or a relic of the 70s. In fact, it practically is already. For example, why is it okay for white people to wear huge afro wigs in an effort to look clownish when it is offensive for them to go in blackface to look silly or pull their eyes mocking Asians. Blacks have no problem allowing them to mock our hair because we continuously try to separate ourselves from it. The uniqueness, respect, and beauty of our natural hair will continue fade as producers make products to match our cravings for straight hair.
Another consequence of this our powerful urge to assimilate and conform is a uniform dull world (sort of like the extreme society that is painted in "Eye of the Beholder"). As skin lighteners, hair straighteners, and surgical procedures bring cultures around the globe closer to a single ideal, encouraging us to lose appreciation for racial diversity, we create a world where everyone has similar features. How beautiful would the world be if it lacked its variety?
On a side note, this article from Essence reminded me of the Coil Review's excellent commercial:
Black Model’s Photo Campaign Tackles Fashion Industry Diversity Problem - Nigerian model Deddeh Howard has recreated some of the most iconic high fashion ads.