Do you remember Napster? What about Chia Pets or Cabbage Patch Dolls? Oh, man, what about those old cinnamon toothpicks? Those things were great!
And, let’s not forget about that haircut style poster that hangs in nearly every barbershop in America. When I was just a kid, I remember starring at that poster as I waited to get my haircut. I would wonder to myself if I should get the high-top fade with a part on the right side or if I should keep it basic and go for the brush cut with a part on the left. This felt like a huge decision as a kid.
However, looking back on that time, it’s clear that most of those things were just fads.
Is Natural Hair Just a Fad?
Lately, several people have asked me, “is natural hair just a fad”? Instead of simply giving you my opinion on the topic, let’s take a scientific approach to the issue.
According to Wikipedia, “a fad is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior being perceived as novel in some way. A fad is said to “catch on” when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone.”
Using that as our “official” definition, let’s dive into the this discussion.
The definition specifically says that for a fad to exist a form of behavior must develop among a large population. While the population of women still relaxing is probably larger than the population that has decided to go natural, I would consider the natural hair population to be relatively large comparatively speaking.
Next, the definition states that the fad then must be collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period of time. While the meaning of the phrase “some period” is subjective and may vary among each person, I think that most of us would agree that the movement has been followed collectively with enthusiasm over some period. So far, using this scientific approach results are pointing towards the movement being a “fad”, but let’s dig a little deeper.
The definition then says that a fad is generally perceived as novel in some way and once the perception of novelty is gone the fad begins to fade.
I think that this is the most interesting part of the definition. Do you think the natural hair movement is seen by naturals as something new and different? What happens once that refreshingly new feeling (novelty) begins to wear off? Will naturals begin to revert back to creamy crack?
Even when using a scientific approach to answering this question, we’re left without a conclusive answer.
Here’s my personal opinion: I think we’re potentially asking the wrong question. Maybe a more appropriate question is: Was getting a relaxer only a fad? We were all born with natural hair and chose to relax for some period of time – just like some of us who chose to get Jheri Curls or a high-top fade with a part on the right side. That tells me that maybe getting a relaxer was just a fad.
So, that’s my personal opinion, but it’s only one opinion. I want to hear what you think about the natural hair movement. Is this movement just a fad?