A Waco, Texas pastor named A.J. Aamir recently banned the wearing of hair weaves by staff in his church. He justified his decision by saying that "black women are getting weaves, trying to be something and someone they are not."
Um, hello controversy.
Aamir, who grew up in an Islamic household, suggests with this statement that hair weaves project a false image of the woman wearing them, and that they should therefore be prohibited in the sacred place.
The pastor told American Preachers, "Long hair don't care. What kind of mess is that? I don't want my members so focused on what's on their heads and not IN their heads."
Women are often expected to look their very best in church, to dress up in hats and finery, and yet a WEAVE is the only aesthetic signifier singled out by this Texas pastor. What about the wigs Orthodox Jewish women wear to cover up their natural hair? Or, for that matter, a weave a sufferer of alopecia or patient of chemo might wear to feel more like themselves? Since when has a woman's piety been conflated with the way she adorns herself?
For a while, it turns out. Women in the church have had a long history of being scorned for putting efforts into their appearances, of being told that in order to be pious, they must live a frugal life. Arguably, practicing women face this type of pressure more than men do: women are often tasked with appearing homely so as not to draw male attention to themselves and away from God. Aamir perpetuates this double standard, and he harshly shames women for the ways in which they choose spend their own money: “I lead a church where our members are struggling financially. I mean really struggling. Yet, a 26 year old mother in my church has a $300 weave on her head. NO.”
Let me get this straight: because this woman spends her own money on something for herself, she is superficial, a bad Christian, and a bad mother?! My answer to his ban, his racism, and his sexism, is a resounding, “NO.” Wear your weaves proudly, Waco ladies, knowing that your appearance has no bearing on your devotion to your church.
Thanks to KHOU, American Preachers
Photo via NewsOne