Hair Relaxer Poem

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In “Hair Relaxer: An Origin Story” Tiana Clark uses Personification and similes to talk about a common experience that most black women have faced in their lives and to characterize the speaker and the hair relaxer. In this poem the hair relaxer is the embodiment of the European standards of hair that Black women have long tried to achieve. Recently, there has been a move away from European standard of beauty and a return to embracing the natural hair that black women are born with. Clark uses this poem to talk about how black women frequently put themselves through the pains of getting a relaxer so that their hair can “swing like the white girls” (9) but now they are starting to accept the way their hair naturally curls and coils while rejecting the standards…show more content…
Personification also allows the speaker to talk about the hair relaxer as a “chemical labyrinth” (20) that she has to find her way out of. In essence, the speaker felt that she had to escape from the hair relaxer but what the poet is really trying to convey is that the speaker embracing her natural hair is escaping her “own minotaur of self hatred”(22). The self-hatred is a result of society telling her that straight hair is the only thing that is beautiful. The poet conveys this notion in lines 9 and 20 when the poet talks about the white girls straight hair and the boys being able to put their hangs through the speakers hair. Learning to accept her blackness is a theme that is covered in both this poem and “Equilibrium”. In “Equilibrium” the speaker talks about how it took her thirty years to be proud of her blackness just as in “Hair Relaxer: An Origin Story” the speaker learns to appreciate the hair that she was born with and understand how her hair is just as beautiful as the White girl’s
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