CLAIM

Research by a cosmetics company found that women with natural hair have lower self-esteem than women with treated hair.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

On 21 March 2015, the News Nerd web site posted an article positing that research undertaken by a cosmetics company had found that “women with natural hair have lower self-esteem than women with treated hair”:

According to research by cosmetic company Bountiful Hair, women with natural hair have lower self-esteem than women with treated hair.

According to BlackHair.com, natural hair is “hair whose texture hasn’t been altered by chemical straighteners, including relaxers and texturizers.”

The most common natural hairstyle is an afro, which many black women consider an undesirable look. The hair is many times matted and coarse, and is not considered appropriate for a business environment. Many employers consider the look untidy, and ban individuals from wearing this style.

According to the study by Bountiful Hair, natural hair being viewed as a messy look is causing many women, who wear their hair in that manner, to feel inadequate and less desirable as their counterparts. Those feelings of inadequacy causes women with natural hair to lash out at women with treated or straightened hair, and in turn lowers their self-esteem.

This report was a fabrication that originated with The News Nerd, a site whose disclaimer notes that its content is satirical in nature:

The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only. The stories may mimic articles found in the headlines, but rest assured they are purely satirical.

The News Nerd article was nothing more than a parody of (among other things) the infamous “not actually a study” phenomenon — an exercise in which companies engage PR firms to conduct highly unscientific forms of “research” and issue “studies” that steer consumers towards those companies’ products and services.

Nonetheless, the satire hit close enough to home that many readers didn’t necessarily find it to be too obviously far-fetched:

While I knew the article was fake, I personally wasn’t laughing. Why? Because, in my opinion, the opinions and ideas presented in articles or jokes like this aren’t far removed or far fetched enough to be considered funny. When you make a joke about not wearing your natural hair because you won’t be able to find a man, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s also a real concern of some women. Just think of all of the “What does he think of my hair?” type posts and videos. Or when an article comes out that says women won’t wear their natural hair because it makes them feel ugly — that’s not far-fetched or a hyperbole. That’s true for some women.

Sources:

Leonard, Kato.   “Study: Women with Natural Hair Have Low Self-Esteem.”
    The News Nerd.   21 March 2015.