Celina Caesar-Chavannes, an Ontario Liberal MP, delivered a powerful speech about body shaming to the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Specifically addressing the fact that many girls in Canada and around the world have been shamed or banned from school for their hairstyles, the 43-year-old decided to wear her hair in braids to make an important point.
"Body shaming of any woman in any form from the top of her head to the soles of her feet is wrong," Caesar-Chavannes said. "What makes us different makes us unique and beautiful so I will continue to rock these braids."
The MP went on to explain that she didn't wear her hair this way just because braids "look pretty dope." She also wanted to show support for those who have been shamed for looking different.
"Most importantly, in solidarity with young girls and women who look like me and those who don't. I want them to know that their braids, their dreads, their super-curly afro puffs, their weaves, their hijabs, and their headscarves, and all other variety of hairstyles, belong in schools, in the workplace, in the boardroom and yes, even here on Parliament Hill."
Caesar-Chavannes' one-minute speech earned her a standing ovation, and it's not hard to see why. By wearing braids, the MP was making the statement that what you look like shouldn't determine your worth, and that people should accept you as you are.
There have been a number of reports of girls being banned from school for their hairstyle, specifically black students who wear their hair in braids. In May, African-American twins Maya and Deanna Cook were barred from attending their school prom in Massachusetts because of their braided hair extensions.
This shouldn't still be happening in 2017, but textured hair still has negative associations, and there's a study to prove it.
A majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of colour based on their hair.
With that context, Caesar-Chavannes's message about celebrating differences was widely applauded.
I wish every woman had heard this message over and over from the time they were children. Awesome job.— Niki Lundquist (@niki_lundquist) September 20, 2017
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