Another new voice on the ClubX Blog! Today, Director of Youth Programs and Innovation Yetta Robinson shares a personal journey and shares an exciting resource from our partners at Dove.
My hair IS my crown. It has taken me over two decades to believe that. I grew up having a strange relationship with my hair. I loved it best when it was freshly relaxed and felt embarrassed when it wasn’t. I wanted long, luscious locks and often felt inadequate because they weren’t. This led to some pretty serious low self-esteem issues. I didn’t always think I looked presentable, which had a direct impact on how I felt.
Living with low self-esteem issues can be a burdensome weight to carry, and I eventually had enough. I no longer wanted to feel as if I, in my most natural state, was inadequate. So, in May of 2015, I decided to take the plunge: I started my natural hair journey. It was not always easy. My emotions were nothing short of a rollercoaster during that time, spending many days and nights in tears while feeling insecure, but I stuck with it. I eventually gained more confidence, and I now wear my crown proudly.
But my story is not unique. According to the Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report in 2017,
- Globally, 8 in 10 girls with low body esteem have missed or opted out of social engagements because they don’t feel confident about the way they look. This decreases to just 4 in 10 for girls with high body esteem.
- 4 in 10 girls with low body esteem have avoided playing sports or withdrawn from extra-curricular activities because they don’t feel confident in the way they look.
- 7 in 10 girls with low body esteem have failed to assert themselves or ask for help in school because they do not feel confident about the way they look. The figure is just 3 in 10 for girls with high body esteem.
- 5 in 10 girls globally with low body esteem have stopped eating, binged or skipped meals because they don’t feel good about the way they look, compared to just 1 in 10 with high body esteem.
- 3 in 10 girls with low body esteem have put their health at risk by not attending a doctor’s appointment, compared to just 1 in 10 with high body esteem.
These numbers are staggering and should be a call for action. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful and worthy. Everyone deserves to feel confident in their skin and hair, which is why BGCA is excited to partner with Dove on the Dove Self-Esteem Project to offer the My Hair, My CROWN program. My Hair, My CROWN is an academically validated tool that helps facilitate a supportive space to explore appearance pressure for young people – particularly regarding hair and hair culture. My Hair, My CROWN encourages hair love in kids with curls, coils, waves & protective styles while building allyship in others to Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. CROWN! This workshop aims to provide young people with the space to self-identify and share key confidence-impacting stereotypes and experiences related to hair and beauty in a safe setting.
During the 90 minute session, youth will:
- Learn to identify and critically assess current hair stereotypes.
- Consider the effects of media and social media on their hair attitudes and beliefs.
- Consider the relationship between hair appearance pressures and bullying.
- Explore ways to advocate for themselves and/or their peers in response to hair bullying.
- And more!
I eventually found a community of people who supported me on my hair journey. If you are excited to support and nurture positive body images surrounding hair with your youth, this workshop is an excellent way to start. Consider running it in conjunction with National Crown Day, July 3, which commemorates California becoming the first state to pass a law banning natural hair discrimination. And be on the lookout for more MyFuture activities from our partnership with Dove later this year!
How do you support youth self-esteem and confidence? What are your favorite resources for special events or workshops? We want to know! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org.
About Yetta Robinson
Yetta is Director of Youth Programs and Innovation. Before coming to BGCA, she worked as an Education Supervisor at Zoo Atlanta overseeing camp and community programs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching documentaries and hanging out with her two children.