By Amardeep Bassey
A new study reveals that at least 93% of black people with Afro hair have experienced microaggressions related to their hair.
Of those surveyed, nearly half (46%) reported the type of microaggression they had experienced was uninvited hair touching, while only 7% of people without Afro hair were able to identify common microaggressions.
The Gold Series from Pantene ‘My Hair Won’t Be Silenced’ campaign aims to increase awareness of hair discrimination and common microaggressions in the UK to stimulate the long-lasting change required and help end discrimination against Afro hair.
Hair has been shown to be key to self-esteem, confidence, and identity. The goal is >50% reduction in hair discrimination in the UK by 2025 with the My Hair Won’t Be Silenced campaign and the Power of Hair Fund.
The hair care brand has also launched an emotive short film featuring six Black British women talking about their own experiences of microaggressions as well as their personal journeys to embracing and celebrating their hair.
Great hair days have been proven to correlate with feeling more productive, creative, less stressed, more socially powerful, more resilient, physically stronger, and more in control.
With only 7% of people without Afro Hair able to identify common microaggressions, Pantene will work with Black Minds Matter, Project Embrace, to drive cultural debate focused on increasing awareness and education around unspoken hair bias.
Dr Rolanda Wilkerson PhD, Pantene’s Principle Hair Scientist and Creator of Pantene Gold Series: “Products tailored to protect Afro hair are integral, but we also need to ensure we overcome the societal bias and hair discrimination.
“My daughter Ava has naturally coily hair. I want her to grow up fully appreciating and understanding her hair”.
Highlighting the power of hair on emotional wellbeing, the research found that 52% of respondents agree that discrimination against their natural hair has negatively affected their self-esteem or mental health.
Agnes Mwakatuma, Founder of Black Minds Matter: “Many Black women are subject to racial microaggressions throughout their life – from school all the way to treatment in the workplace – with discrimination against hair and a lack of self-acceptance being an almost universal lived experience. ”
Pantene is also partnering withProject Embrace, an initiative focused on increasing representation of Afro hair within advertising and the media, to help progress its mission and its wider commitments to normalise and celebrate Afro hair.
Research has shown that 70% of Black people agree they do not feel their hair type is represented in the media and/ or advertising.
Lekia Lée, Founder of Project Embrace: “We cannot expect to enjoy the benefits of an inclusive society if the images we constantly see do not reflect diversity.
” By showing more images of Afro textured hair in a positive light, it is giving Afro hair a voice that has been silenced for far too long.
“It is normalising its existence and creating the diversity we need to see. ”