Beauty

Okay, but Why Are White Women Wearing Bonnets?

Sparking a convo on *who* is allowed to do what and where.

61,068 Hypes

The topic of Black people wearing bonnets and durags in public has always been a contentious issue within the community. It’s unfortunate that women who choose to sport these accessories outside of their homes are often labeled as “ghetto” and not presentable. Comedian and activist Mo’nique sparked a heated debate in 2021 when she spoke out against the practice, suggesting that wearing a bonnet in public may indicate a lack of pride. Fast forward two years and now white women are being called out for donning these same accessories, further solidifying the fact that Black women are the ultimate trendsetters in the world of fashion and beauty. However, despite the pushback that Black women face, the question remains: Is it acceptable for white women to wear bonnets?

Hairstylist and Curl Specialist Melissa Guido (@manesbymell) posted an Instagram reel with the first part of the caption reading: “Bonnets on Board, let’s talk about it.” In the clip, she’s seen with a friend preparing for takeoff and whipping out a pair of bonnets, tucking their curls underneath. On the surface level, it could be harmless to some, but decades of hair trauma for Black women immediately sparked outrage within the comment section pushing Guido to update her initial caption to address the commentary on the post.

@theluncheonlawyer What is dis hunny #monique #bonnets ♬ original sound – Theluncheonlawyer

Inherently, people can wear what they want, but what happens when it is deemed as cultural appropriation? For years, Black people have been villainized for wearing their bonnets and other protective headwear in public while running errands, traveling, etc. Yes, bonnets were created for Black women to keep their hairstyles in place, and while this especially is meant for textured hair — it was designed for those with Black hair.

Gudio eloquently held space for Black women who have had negative experiences while wearing bonnets in public and acknowledged that her experience could not compare to the ones of Black women. She also mentioned that she chooses to not only wear a bonnet out of protective measures but also to honor and stand in solidarity with those who sport them in unconventional spaces.

For Black women and the LGBTQIA+ community, wearing bonnets is interconnected to cultural elements and deserves no explanation for it. Black people should have the autonomy to show up in this world however they please. Whether they’re wearing it to the grocery store, airport or to pick up their children — so be it.

 

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