Letter to Michelle Obama: Let Your Hair Go!

(12/11/63)

Remember Frieda? She was the character in Peanuts best known for her naturally curly hair.  She delighted in reminding others about it every chance she could.

Which brings me to hair again.  At lunch with a college friend we talked about our hair in summer. She swims in a pool, despite her colorist’s chiding her about the dulling effects of chlorine.  She mentioned how so many women she knows don’t want to exercise because of their hair. Whether recently colored, straightened, curled, or cut, women it seems, don’t want to get their hair wet, sweat under a helmet, or sun visor.

I mentioned how I‘ve been writing to Michelle Obama in my head.  About her hair.  

Here’s my letter:

Dear Mrs. Obama: (this is how you’re supposed to address FLOTUS)

You are a world fashion icon. Every woman over 30 admires your choice in clothes, ability to mix high end designers with off the rack togs, and  your ease at blending fabrics and textures.

You always look perfect. Tall, slim, and fit. Your arms alone inspire others to lift weights.

Which brings me to why I’m writing. Your hair. I know you spend hours having it straightened and styled.  And the results are gorgeous, no question.

But if you’re really committed to health and fitness, you need to show others, particularly women, that natural hair is equally as beautiful.

I taught African American students for 20 years and know how much time and money they sat in salons having their hair done. Think about how some of that time could be spent outside exercising.  One only needs to see Chris Rock’s film “Good Hair” to witness the hair rituals and regiments imposed on children from young ages.

If we’re truly to become a fitter nation, we need to relax about our hair. It could start with you.

For the record: I have naturally curly hair. In the summer it’s mostly pulled back or on top of my head. Uncolored, untreated.  My cycling girlfriends keep their hair natural; we love helmet head hair! 

Sincerely,

Cyclingrandma (Lisa Winkler)

So, should I send it?

(my other hair post:  https://cyclingrandma.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/summer-frizz-a…-haired-lament/)

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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15 Responses to Letter to Michelle Obama: Let Your Hair Go!

  1. Nancy Chiller Janow says:

    Oh Lisa..what a terrific letter!! Please send it to FLOTUS as well as to other various and sundry media. More than being a role model to the country, she really could be a better role model to her daughters. Last time I looked even Malia and Sasha have their hair processed and straightened.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Letter to Michelle Obama: Let Your Hair Go! (via cyclingrandma) « kegsterk

  3. Judy Washington says:

    Well, you know that after years of having the same look, I went to a natural style. It took years to perfect it but it has freed me to exercise and as you know do yoga and sweat. I think truly going natural has helped me keep fit. I exercise and just wash it. I think you should send it. I love it when she just lets go. it would be a powerful statement.

    Like

  4. I like this post.

    It makes me remember Boulder…

    Like

  5. Leah says:

    I love Frieda! Yes, for sure send it to FLOTUS. Lets just hope POTUS doesn’t write you back.

    Like

  6. Lisa Ye says:

    Dear Lisa, yes, !!yes!!yes!! Yes!!!
    I have kept my short straight natural hair for the past 30 years with no changes: each hair cut takes abilout 30 minutes ; averaging 4 times hair cut a year , 2 hours per year.. !!

    Like

  7. hugmamma says:

    Send it! Michelle Obama will either love it, have a good laugh, or at least give it some serious thought. I think the White House has a website, where you can send an email, although it might not make its way out of the clerical pool. Or send it the old-fashioned way…which is what I’d do. You could add a few cents to learn if it’s been delivered. You may not hear from her…

    but you’ll know you acted…upon a whim, and hey!…how many people can even say they did that? 🙂

    Like

  8. Siobhan Curious says:

    Please send it! She’ll love it, and it will truly make her think about a message she never realized she was sending. What a great letter. (I also have naturally curly hair, and recently cut it all off in part so I can stop fussing with it when I get out of the pool/off the bike/out of yoga class…)

    Like

  9. Sent via email today. Will keep all informed if any response!

    Like

  10. Nancy Janow says:

    Send it snail mail as well as email (Is there an address at the WhiteHOuse.gov site?)

    Like

  11. Dalia Colon says:

    I’m a black woman, regular exerciser and journalist. I recently did a series of articles and videos on the health-versus-hair topic. You may appreciate it: http://healthystate.org/lets_move_good_hair

    Like

  12. Twaambo says:

    Black women are free to be relaxed, in transition, natural, weaved, locked etc…! It’s not always about making a political statement!

    Like

  13. Pingback: Botched Hair Dying: Kool-Aid, Boxes, & Corrections | cyclingrandma

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