All hair is good hair.
This catchphrase was considered groundbreaking just a decade ago, when a new wave of millennials broke away from the normative practice of straightening or perming curly tresses in favor of their own natural texture.
SheaMoisture is continuing to drive this dialogue of acceptance with their new campaign, “What’s Normal,” an effort to redefine mainstream standards of beauty by highlighting an array of women existing in their authenticity. This push is part two of a conversation that began with #BreakingTheWalls, a campaign focused around desegregating the hair care aisle.
“What’s Normal” visually represents a diverse cohort of hair influencers and beauty vloggers in a 60-second short film.
“One of the most exciting and humbling aspects for us during the creation of ‘What’s Normal?’ was the continued chorus of courageous, confident, defiant and self-accepting women who shared their stories, their insecurities and their triumphs with us,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO of Sundial Brands.
“They were so deeply poignant that we were compelled to again develop the script for the film using a compilation of soundbites taken from our cast members’ interviews. So, we are still telling her story through her eyes and with her voice — and nothing is more powerful,” he explained.
Along with the emotional aspects of this campaign comes the science. While women know from subjective experience and shared stories that there seems to be an implicit hair bias against certain hair styles in various industries and work spaces, a tool has been developed to actually measure texture discrimination.
Perception Institute, a group of social psychologists and strategists who research how our brains respond to different races, ethnicities, and gender, conducted an “implicit association test” to measure how people respond toward particular groups in order to undo those biases.
Many women have experienced this internalized racial and texture bias when navigating job interviews and professional settings. Just a couple of weeks ago, students in South Africa had to protest the right to wear their hair as it grows against an antiquated dress code.
“Perception Institute’s study will be one of the most meaningful and extensive pieces of independent research to hit the beauty industry to-date,” said Dennis. “With increasing headlines around the world highlighting natural hair restrictions and intolerance in the workplace, schools and society at large, it is critical that as a society we understand hair bias and the role it plays in how we view others.”
So “What’s Normal” enters the narrative where it’s happening — in our conversations as women.
Watch the short film below:
PHOTO CREDIT: InteractiveOne | VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube