I was pretty speechless after watching the clip below from a Nickelodean cartoon called The Winx Club. The Winx Club is an Italian cartoon series shown in the United States. The clip is from an episode in the first season called ‘Miss Magix’, which can be viewed on their YouTube channel. The cartoon is about the adventures of a group of teenage girls who attend a magic school. In this episode they are preparing for a beauty contest. The offensive scene shows a black girl (who is dressed quite inappropriately) with natural afro-textured hair, crying and distraught that her hair is no longer straight. Her competitor who has straight blond hair laughs at her and she runs away crying. The clip has since been edited out of the episode, but what were the creators thinking by including it in the first place?
It concerns me deeply that a channel targeted at children would show a cartoon with such an insulting message relating to afro-textured hair. It gives the message that silky European hair is the norm and anything different is inferior and even shameful. However, we must consider what message we, in the black community have given our children about their God-given hair texture? With negative portrayals like the one in this cartoon and images of beauty that rarely include people who look like them, it is imperative that we lead by example as parents. When we embrace our natural hair we set a good example for our children.
Subjecting our daughters to chemical relaxers and perms only reinforces the message that there is something wrong with their hair and it must be fixed. This is why the term ‘natural hair’ exists in the first place, for generations we have been ashamed of our hair. Many of us have felt like the little girl in the cartoon, upset that our hair is kinky and textured, rather than straight and smooth. The sale of chemical relaxers is declining, so we are moving in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. Women with natural hair are still in the minority.
Even when we wear our hair natural it is usually covered by a European style weave. How many of us have friends whose real hair has never been seen because they constantly wear silky weaves. They say they are natural underneath the weave, but it shouldn’t be a crutch, although for many it is. Perhaps the world sees this and believes we prefer straight hair over our naturally curly or kinky hair. Maybe the story depicted in this cartoon isn’t too far from reality. It’s only when we as black women begin to love our natural beauty that the world will see it, rather than seeing a cheap imitation of another standard of beauty. More importantly our children will see that they are beautiful just the way they are. I’m glad the clip was edited out, but the fact that it was shown in the first place is reprehensible! It is not only the message it gives young black girls that is concerning, it is the message given to children of all races that is just as disturbing.
What did you think about the clip? Is it the result of us not embracing our natural hair?