The Perception Institute revealed reactions gathered in a recent study surveying 4,163 people, and the results were hair-raising. “The ‘Good Hair’ Study: Explicit and Implicit Attitudes Toward Black Women’s Hair” was inspired by popular beauty brand Shea Moisture’s provocative “Break the Walls” campaign, which challenged traditional aisle “segregation” of hair products by race and redefined long-held industry ideals of what is considered “normal” in beauty.
A few key findings from the study:
- “Black women experience more anxiety related to their hair and greater social and financial burden of hair maintenance than white women. Black women are twice as likely to report social pressure to straighten their hair at work compared to white women.”
- White women demonstrate the strongest bias — both explicit and implicit — against textured hair, rating it as less beautiful, less sexy or attractive, and less professional than smooth hair. However, white women who engage regularly with naturalista communities have lower levels of bias.
- Millennial naturalistas have more positive attitudes toward textured hair than all other women. This is consistent with past studies showing that millennials identify as progressive, confident, self-expressive, and open to change.
“What is most exciting from this study is the finding that black and white women who are part of this particular natural hair online community showed more positive attitudes — both explicit and implicit,” said Rachel Godsil, the co-founder and director of research at Perception Institute. “In this community, images of women with textured hair are celebrated and affirmed. As part of Perception Institute’s work toward finding solutions to address bias that so deeply affects black women and girls in all aspects of their life, we will continue to explore the effects of regular exposure to positive visual representations on people’s attitudes.”
How do you rate? Take the quiz and find out. Disclaimer: The results may shock you.