Monica Rambeau: What’s Hair Got to do With it?

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I knew from the beginning that Mighty Avengers, the predominantly minority-led superhero team by Marvel Comics, would draw a lot of slack.  But what I didn’t expect was negative comments about Monica Rambeau’s new appearance, specifically her new hairstyle, to pour in by the masses.

Monica Rambeau, aka Spectrum, is a beautiful, intelligent, strong, and determined  African-American woman.  I am also an African-American female, with hair of black texture.  Monica is representing to the fullest.  So if you’re talking about her, then you’re also talking about me.

In case you don’t already know, this blog consists of my HONEST comic reviews, and my HONEST rants and tantrums.  Every blog post consists of my thoughts only, because I am not influenced by anyone.

I am literally shocked by the comments that I have been reading since Mighty Avengers debut issue.  Out of 20+ pages of this wonderfully crafted comic, written by Al Ewing, the only thing a lot of people mention is Monica’s hair.  The haters and complainers of Mighty Avengers are complaining about Monica’s new hairstyle, as if her hair is a character.  Last I checked, hair didn’t talk or fight.  Well at least mine don’t.

What disturbs me, most of all, is the fact that I can tell that MOST of those comments about Monica’s hair are not even written by African-Americans.

First of all, what the hell does Monica’s hair has to do with anything?

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 Nothing at all.

How is it affecting her role in comics?  It’s not.

Second, please stop with the notion that we (black women) relax our hair to conform to the standards of white beauty, because that’s just a pile of bullshit.  Black women have worn relaxed hairstyles for years.  We relax our hair to make it straight, just as white women perm their hair to make it curly.

And as for the mother mentioning the “burn” in the current issue, and above picture, a relaxer is a chemical.  Chemicals burn irritated skin, especially relaxers that contain dye.  So if you scratch your scalp before a relaxer application, it becomes irritated, and a possible burning sensation from the relaxer dye may occur.

So fucking  what Monica Rambeau is no longer wearing braids and a damn trench coat.  Getting rid of braids, afro, and opting to relax our hair instead, does not make us less black.

I read comments that stated a lot of black women like to stay natural, stick to our culture.  Well that may be the case, but for those women.  It’s not like that for all of us.

The main reason black women relax their hair is manageability/flexibility.  Relaxed hair is easier to comb and style, and we’re not spending a lot of time in the mirror trying to “make do.”

Hair of black texture is coarse and dry.  Our hair comes in three grades, fine (or good hair), medium, and coarse.  My hair is medium grade, and I haven’t relaxed it in almost a year.  But so what, it’s my choice.  Just like it’s Al Ewing, Greg Land, and Valerio Schiti’s choice to design Monica’s appearance however they like.

Let’s take a look at Misty Knight.

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Hairstyles, just like clothing, has to appropriately fit the occasion.  Misty Knight, the African-American badass from The Fearless Defenders does not have the same abilities as Monica.  She’s neither a beam of light, nor does she fly in the air.  She kicks ass on the ground.  Therefore, Misty’s braids and ponytail is befitting to her appearance in the comic.

On the other hand, I definitely would not want to look up and see Monica flying around with braids or a ‘fro.  That would look totally ridiculous.  Just as ridiculous as all those silly comments I read.

In other words, leave Monica Rambeau the hell alone.

With Schiti as the artist for the current issue, I thought maybe there would be more comments on his work, and Ewing’s writing.  And less negative comments about Land’s work and Monica’s hair.  I was wrong.

After reading the dialogue between Monica and the mother, I just knew all this nonsense about her hair would cease.  Wrong again.

I like to visit comic message boards to interact with other comic fans.  I don’t always comment, but I like to read a variety of posts and comments.  But lately I’ve found it hard to find intellectual discussions about some of my favorite comic books, especially Mighty Avengers.

By the way, if you think black women wearing straightened hair is conforming to white society, then wait until this summer when I attend the 2014 World TSC Conference in Washington, D.C.  My hair is going to be waist-length, silky-smooth and straight.

Since black heroes are not allowed to change their hairstyles,

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then I guess Luke Cage should still look like this:

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2 thoughts on “Monica Rambeau: What’s Hair Got to do With it?

  1. No but he shouldn’t have a curl either. 🙂

    Monica should be rocking the new wave twist and not straight hair. All Marvel is doing is making her more racially ambiguous. She looks Latin now. She’s not what I want my daughter see.

    You can pretty much to more with twist than you can with chemicals and fake @ss hair.

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    1. Monica would probably look less racially ambiguous if Marvel would study pictures of black hairstyles, and actually give some of them a try.

      At the time that I wrote this post, I had just gotten a fresh start with a haircut (it’s rare that I wear my hair short) that was similar in length to Monica’s, and similarly styled at times. Although I prefer chemicals in my hair to make it easier to manage, my grade of hair do not often require a relaxer. I’m not defending Marvel and Greg Land for Monica’s look, I’m telling it from my standpoint, a black female that wears my hair natural (except for 2 or 3 times a year).

      I have never worn my hair in twists, so I can’t comment much there. As for fake hair, I wear a weave only when going away on vacation, and I can style it however I like. And as for the chemicals, there are those with hair textures so coarse, that they opt for a relaxer to make it easier to manage the roots.

      I can go on for a very long time, because this is an interesting topic that hits home. Maybe if we start emailing Marvel our concerns/suggestions, and attach pictures of black hairstyles…

      Thank you for the great comment. By the way, I’m glad you found the Luke Cage image amusing! I was in full rant mode.

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