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    Natural Hair Movement Fights Back Against Bias Revealed in Perception Study

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    The natural black hair movement has boomed in recent years, nowadays becoming even more popular on social media. Numerous video tutorials express a cultural shift, redefining the way people view black natural hair. A recent study from the Perception Institute however, has found that there is an unconscious bias against black women's hair.

    This bias was seen in people from a Caucasian background as well as black people themselves, according to a study conducted by the Perception Institute, a research center, which has developed the first ever Hair Implicit Association Test to measure whether or not people are unconsciously biased against black women's hair. 

    ​The results of the study, titled, Do we have an implicit preference for "Good Hair"? surveyed more than 4,000 people. The participants were showed a series of images, all depicting women wearing various smooth and textured hairstyles such as braids, dreads, and afros. Then, the respondents were asked to associate positive or negative words with each image. The participants were also shown photos of a model wearing various hairstyles, they had to rate how "pretty, professional and sexy" she was.

    They were asked to share their opinions on how they thought society perceived those looks. The study found that a majority of participants, regardless of race, showed implicit bias against black women's textured hair. 

    Sputnik spoke to hair blogger Natural Coco Doll, who lives in London and as you may gather from her name, likes to wear her hair natural. 

    "The problem is we always focus on the negative and not the positive — this study is negative. I wear my hair in a variety of styles and I have never faced criticism or seen bias," Coco Doll told Sputnik.

    "The issue is that black women don't embrace their hair or love it, as a result other sections of society look at our hair negatively as well.

    "If a black woman covers her natural hair away in a 22 inch wig or weave made of Indian hair, then she is saying that she doesn't like her natural hair and so, society will start to think if black women's hair is so nice, why are you wearing a straight, long wig," Coco Doll added.

    It all about #naturalhair

    A photo posted by NaturalCocoDoll (@naturalcocodoll) on Nov 13, 2015 at 12:30am PST

    Natural Coco Doll also believes that that the natural hair movement has come along by leaps and bounds for black women, however she understands the reason behind it taking some time to grow in prominence, and says it could be down to the fact that black women are a minority. 

    ​"We are the minority, and we have to understand that in the West, Caucasians are the majority, so its understandable that the standard of beauty would be a white lady with straight hair," Coco doll told Sputnik.

    There have however been cases of black women who have been refused jobs because their hair is natural, however Coco Doll believes that this is sometimes down to the fact that black women themselves do not manage their own hair correctly. 

    ​"My hair is natural, however its not fine to wear it unkept, unclean and not tidy. Even someone who is Caucasian, who turned-up to an interview with unkept hair and tattoos would get a negative response," she said.

    ​​Natural Coco Doll believes that when natural hair is seen as an asset as opposed to a liability, then more people will start to embrace hair which is beautiful, thick and luscious.

    As black women start to experiment with natural hairstyles, which allow people to see the art, creativity and beauty of black natural hair, the discussions around an unconscious bias may start to fade away. 

    Natural Coco Doll's blog about black natural hairstyles: http://naturalcocodoll.com/

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    Tags:
    Black, hair, Caucasians, beauty, bias, black hair, West, society, research, study, United States, United Kingdom
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