In search of aesthetic ideals, women undergo painful hair rebonding to straighten their naturally wavy and curly hair. But for what?
Hair rebonding, which is a similar process to hair relaxing, is a treatment that chemically alters wavy hair into straight hair. I remember wanting my hair to be as sleek and straight as the women in Korean soap operas I’d watched growing up as a kid in the Philippines, where straight hair is seen as the ultimate beauty standard.
“While straight hair is associated with beauty, curly or wavy hair is associated with undesirability in Filipino culture,” explained E.J.R. David, a Filipino psychology professor and author of books including “Brown Skin, White Minds” who focuses on internalized oppression. David points out that the common Tagalog phrase “kulot salot” (kulot means curly, while salot means plague) “explicitly conveys this sentiment that curly or wavy hair is to be avoided and straightened.”