Judgment towards dreadlocks!
Posted: Jul 07 2014
All of us meet people that have judgment towards how we decide to wear our hair.
Isn’t it strange how hair can be the cause of so much emotions and thought within people?
Living in Sweden it’s now become a bit more accepted with dreadlocks, and I guess living in a big town like Stockholm you get away with a lot. Or do you really?
I want to share some stories with you of when I’ve bumped into judgmental people.
Mostly I really don’t understand how people can be so judgmental as they are, but I don’t let it get to me.
I wear my dreadlocks proudly and try to be an inspiration for others and I hope that people will change their opinion with time.
We are a big dreadlocks tribe in the world and let’s inspire others to join us!
I want to share some of my stories on what has happened to me thru the years of wearing dreadlocks, just to let you know that you are not alone out there!
As some of you might know we used to have a shop and a salon in the Old Town of Stockholm.
The whole atmosphere of the shop and salon said that this is a unique place and something special is going on here. So you could really wonder why people with a lot of judgment would decide to walk in to a shop/salon like that…
One thing that happened last summer is that I was standing and doing dreadlocks with extensions on a woman in the age of 55-65.
Two women came in to the shop and walked around and when they saw us, and what I was doing, they stopped and rolled their eyes.
One of them said to my client: “How can you let her destroy your hair?”
Cool as my client is she just said that she actually sat down there on her own free will and she had always dreamt about having dreadlocks.
Then the two women asked me how long it will take, and I answered that I’m happy if we would be finished within 12 hours.
That was apparently also totally outrageous! “Oh my, oh my! Sitting at the hairdresser for so many hours, how can you actually expose yourselves to something like that!”
We just shook our heads and didn’t let it get to us.
I wonder how they would feel if they would sit at the hairdresser and someone would walk in asking questions about what they do to their hair and how it’s done?
Another strange experience that I’ve had in the salon was a woman that came into the shop, she walked up to the dreadlock products that we have on offer and she said: “How come you sell dreadlock shampoo when everyone knows that you cant wash deadlocks, that must be a waist of money?”
So I kindly tried to explain how dreadlocks work, that you really need to wash your hair in order to get your hair to dread and that you can actually wash your hair when it’s dreaded.
Her answer to my information was: “So why do you sell shampoo for dreadlocks?”
Other things that happened in the shop/salon were that people would come in and shoved a camera up my face, both filming and taking pictures without asking.
Or 5-10 people standing on a line just staring at me working on my clients like we were monkeys in a cage.
A teenage girl once said: “Oh look dad! I want to go in here and look”. I was standing behind the counter with one of my dreadlock clients talking, and he looked at us saying: “This is an opium den, you are not allowed to walk in here!”
Sadly enough, I started resenting people, hearing all this negative stuff about what I do, and I started to doubt my work, a very strange feeling that I’ve never had before in my working life.
I really do love what I do, and also all the lovely people that come to sit in my chair and let me do my magic =)
So these are the reasons why we closed the shop in the Old Town.
I really needed to get rid of the negative energy and create a safe place for my clients to come and have no judgment on who they are and how they decide to look.
Other things that people has said to me, and or done to me, is:
“Oh the big question that everyone ask me is - How do you wash your dreadlocks or do you wash them?”
I’ve heard people saying that I have lice and bugs in my hair. I wonder if I look that dirty?
I’ve been searched in customs in several airports just because they believe that ‘people like you have drugs on them’.
I’ve had security guards walking after me in a store just to see that I won’t steal anything.
People ask me if I’ve had drugs behind the counter of my shop just because I have dreadlocks.
Sellers coming into my shop and “ask for the manager”, I say that I’m the manager and they say “no I mean the real manager” and when I said that I’m the CEO and I own 100% of this company they just stand there as a question mark looking at me like that they don’t understand what I’m saying and the whole time the ladies are staring at my dreads.
I had a meeting with a woman from the Swedish Employment Office to see how I could have an intern working with me.
She came to the shop walking around saying that this was “special” with a negative tone.
When I sat down talking to her I told her about the company and what I needed help with and what my demands were of the intern.
After a while she asked me: “So where does the money come from?”
I told her nicely that I do hair, I sell our products in the shop and I sell stuff online.
Her answer to that was: “So you don’t have a sugar daddy that helps you with money?”…
I could barely believe what she said to me!!!
I said that “I of course make my own money and I don’t have anyone that give me money on the side!”
As you’ve probably understood by now, as a woman choosing to have my hair dreaded and also working with dreadlocks, people say things, you get funny looks, people take pics of you without asking etc.
But I want you to know, that you are not alone if you’re experiencing any of this.
I recently started a campaign on the Internet called “Be an inspiration for others, wear your dreadlocks proudly!”
My goal with this is to get people to see all different kinds of dreadheads and also we all can stand by our word together that Dreadlocks is great and nothing more!
Tag yourself #prouddreadhead on istagram, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook if you want to be in our campaign!
Let us stand together and show the world that dreadlocks are not a dirty disgusting thing, it’s a great and wonderful thing!
Have you had similar experiences happening to you?
Please share them with us in the comments below! We want to hear your stories!
Owner of Dreadstuff