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Jennifer Obiuwevbi: How Holy is Your Beauty Choice?

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BN Beauty - BellaNaija - June2015I like to think that a place of worship is somewhere I can let go. I’ve always had this idea of everyone coming to worship much like you would visit a hospital – you’re not concerned about what the other person has; you just want to get rid of that fever.

This ‘unrealistic’ idea of mine was however, stomped on by a thousand cows in the form of 2 women at church last Sunday afternoon.

It was a great service and I was having so much fun – I was even sweating and not even concerned about my makeup. After the message, the Pastor comes up and begins his intro to an altar call. The whole church goes silent; one of those eerie silences like when a teacher asks who the President of Kazakhstan is. The pianist gets back on the stage and starts playing that medley that makes you feel guilty, even when you’re probably not; and I hear the words – “If you know you’re here and you don’t have a relationship with God. If you know that if the trumpet sounds this very second, you are not certain of making Heaven, come out now and get right with God“.

I don’t know about you, but this part always makes me do a double check on my conscience. I start thinking ‘if God comes now, will I really make heaven? Maybe I should go out…but then again I went out last week. Won’t this man think I’m possessed if I go out again?’. While I was deciding on my after-life fate, I noticed people had started walking out. First a man, then a lady who seemed to be his wife (how cute), then a young girl, and then a boy with blonde dreadlocks. Hmm, blonde locs…an interesting choice. But the women sitting beside me didn’t think so.

As those who came out lined up in front, some crying tears of joy and others with heads bowed, I couldn’t help but listen to the conversation going on beside me. My neighbors, with whom I had been participating in a game of “Turn to Your Neighbor and Say” with, had a problem with the boy with locs. When he first came out, neighbor No.1 said – “Chai, thank God oh! The devil really had this boy. See how his hair is. If my son brings this one home I will just disown him.” Then neighbor No. 2 goes – “My sister don’t worry. He has given his life to Christ now, he will cut the hair. I don’t even know what a man is doing with this kind of hairstyle sef“.

As I listened to what they were talking about it took me back to a few days ago. I recently dyed my hair for the first time with blonde highlights and have been feeling myself. But when I met up with a friend of mine he  gave me a new perspective to that decision. “Did you dye your hair?” “Yeah, you like?” “It’s okay. Hmmm…so you’re a bad girl?” “Wait what?” “You’re a bad girl. Can’t you remember those days back in school. If you dye your hair then people would think you’re a bad girl! Don’t you remember Doyin?

Ah yes, Doyin! She was that “bad girl” your mother flogged you for hanging around – and all this happened after she dyed her hair blonde like her mom who ran a beer parlor. Enough said! In those days, dying your hair was a lot like bleaching your skin – Most people think only bad girls do it.

But does that notion still exist? Even with so many people colouring their wigs red and blue and blonde, it seems when it is done to your natural hair you are automatically put on an invisible black list that no one sees but everyone acknowledges. This boy had come to church the best way he knows how – by the way, do you know how long it took him to grow that hair? But some people expect a sudden ‘magical’ change when you decide to live life differently. My uncle calls it the #NewGovernmentSyndrome.

So I’m stuck with the questions – does it boil down to presentation or should some hairstyles just not be seen on worship grounds? Does the same thing apply to makeup? Maybe some trends just aren’t “holy” enough? Share your thoughts with me!

***

Hey, please note this post has been written from my own point of view – however I would love to hear about your experiences. Have you had this kind of experience before? If you’re a Muslimah or from any other denomination, what restrictions do you face when it comes to expressing yourself through your beauty choices?

Photo Credits: Dreamstime/Hongqi Zhang (Michael Zhang)

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of BellaNaija.com. Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at)bellanaija.com or style(at)bellanaija.com | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle

31 Comments

  1. nena

    June 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    first of all as a christian you are not supposed to judge not even in your heart, second of all aw you dress is how you are addressed whether you are good or bad and den this pple might even be addressing you in a bad way in their hrts without telling you, lastly when you give your life to Christ, you become a new creature but it takes time to transform, which has to be through the word. so make them allow the guy go out first to d altar, understand the word then unconsciously he would see himself taking of those locks that’s if its necessary cos ur actions would speak tho

  2. Idomagirl

    June 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I was called ‘ekwensu’ once (devil in Igbo) because I had on a pair of trousers.

    Not generalising, but Nigerians are very parochial, small-minded and judgemental and this is worse among the religious. I’ve seen and heard fellow Christians completely destroy someone and conclude the worst about them solely based on the person’s hairstyle or style of clothing and this sort of judgement is directed at both genders.

    I’ve also noticed that this is far worse among the members of those churches that have strict dress codes, all those ‘no earring, no makeup’ churches.
    It’s terrible my sister, sometimes I don’t blame people who avoid going to church.

    • A Real Nigerian who also happens to be Caitlyn Jenner's no.1 fan!!!

      June 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Christians, muslims. Religious people are generally pathetic!
      I’d rather stay at home than go to church and have some judgmental, hypocritical pricks around me.

    • natu

      June 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

      That is why I love white churches. They truly understand the true meaning of religion. My friend from France invited me to her church and I wore make-up. They embraced and accommodated me. I wasn’t judged. I felt safe. If this was in Africa, I would had a different reception. I truly believe that Africans love acting religious and the reality is that they are not.

  3. chi-e-z

    June 3, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    some weaves should be deemed evil in sight of God some naija women be wearing though and those lil pigtail awful hair-dos that do nothing 4 their faces 😀 hehehe I kid I kid … really we’re banning people from church 4 hairstyles now instead of banning gossiping in place of worship. Now they’ll say all men should cover their whole head like they say to women in most of these occultic fundamental religions… tschew joblessness dey worry ppl

  4. bruno FIERCE

    June 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    in conclusion, many people who go to church are lunatics.
    my lord, so this is what u people do in church.

    ” If you
    know you’re here and you don’t have a
    relationship with God. If you know that if the
    trumpet sounds this very second, you are not
    certain of making Heaven, come out now and
    get right with God “.

    apart from heaven and hell and rapture does ur pastor teach u people anything at all. no wonder, any small thing u people start shouting end times. continue brainwashing your selves. continue hoping that the world will end. mumus

    incase many of u hypocrite christains don’t know changing the colour of you natural hair is a sin because it is unnatural. anything unnatural is a sin. sewing weaves, relaxing u hair etc are all sins in the eyes of the most high. but I know many of u will pretend or ignore it, cause ur a hypocrite who hand picks what’s suits u and leave what doesn’t suit u.

    • A Real Nigerian who also happens to be Caitlyn Jenner's no.1 fan!!!

      June 3, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Lunatics indeed!
      Well said.

  5. emmy

    June 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Moderation is key to whatever it is. It is in the scriptures. You can always tone it down. It musn’t be all out there. Note that christianity truly isn’t easy.

  6. ssah

    June 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    hmmmmm…quite simple but deep and sensitive issue. in my church someone wrote a note to pastor saying a particular female minister didn’t cover her hair while preaching on the altar. This female minister rushed to church from her office, she usually puts her scarf in her car but on this fateful day she forgot, so was she to tell God that “no i can’t go up there to do what you sent me bcs I don’t have my scarf on”? who cares?
    anyhoo, pastor was irritated and he came up stage to tell the whole church about the note he received and immediately rebuked whoever sent it. That wasn’t the last of the case, ofcourse people still go on and on about things like that.
    Point is, yeah churches have their doctrines but really, should we care about things like that?Everyone is trying to work out their salvation.in fact, many people will be shocked when they get to heaven and see some people who in their narrow,little minds they have termed “unholy”.

  7. A Real Nigerian who also happens to be Caitlyn Jenner's no.1 fan!!!

    June 3, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Wonderful article.
    This is the best thing BN has posted in…what? 2 years?
    The church has turned into a ground where people come to show off, engage in mockery and gossip about other church members. It has become so wretch inducing!
    The pastors are even worse, all they know how to do is preach about “sowing seeds”, “blessings” “giving and receiving” and not for genuine reasons, but only so they can coerce simple-minded religious folk into donating money that will go solely into the pastor’s pockets! Greedy clergy.. Urgh.
    In my opinion, there is an amount of decency that should be followed when dressing for church but I see nothing wrong with dreadlocks or any hairstyle for that matter. In fact, even if you make up like Marilyn Manson to church, nothing wrong with that!

  8. le coco

    June 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    i have come to realise that its a cultural thing. nigerians seem to be close minded when it comes to things they dont understand. in other parts of the world, a man keeping his hair is nothing.. in southern africa, both males and females keep dread locs.. nd its nothing special.. they groom it just as much as any regular person hu goes to relax their hair.. they braid it in different beautiful updo’s nd they are acceptable be it in the work place or in social gatherings, but you come to nigeria nd someone with locs would be considered dirty.. as in how does the hair even equate to hygiene.. dont get me started on nigerians perspective on coloured hair.. please, dying your hair black, or dark brown, or dark red doesnt make you promiscuous.. walahi i dont know where some nigerians get this mentality. its ok to put all sorts of coloured weaves on but you cant dye your hair? its ok for your mother to pierce your ear as a child, but any girl hu pierces extra ears must be wayward? REALLY? i wont forgot one nigerian guy hu was commenting on my ripped jeans.. i was jst lyk.. BET WHY!!!! i cringe when i think that our people are still so backward with such trivial things.. @idoma girl i feel you oo

    • le coco

      June 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      forget*

  9. Yebo Stephen

    June 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I agree that Nigerians are mostly backward, close-minded, and parochial in our reasoning and thoughts. Aside that, I must admit that even the Bible said women shouldn’t depend too much on external beauty and adornments. As for men with long hair, the new testament shows us that Paul was of the view that it’s wrong for men to carry long hairs, and that women shouldn’t wear men’s clothing and vice versa. As for trousers, the trouser for women is different from that of men, so I won’t say it’s a sin for women to wear trousers…but I don’t think it should necessarily be worn to churches, none should a woman use excessive makeup to church. Moderation is key. Constructively critiquing something that’s bad is not judging, so long as you don’t conclude that the person is going to hell.
    Some of u might say God looks not at the heart but the outward appearance, but the truth is, by their fruits u shall know them, and the same Bible has told us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Therefore, merely accepting Jesus into one’s life doesn’t mean the person should go and fold his hands.

    • A Real Nigerian who also happens to be Caitlyn Jenner's no.1 fan!!!

      June 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Paul said men shouldn’t carry long hair, so? That was his personal opinion. And I believe many jews back then had long hair. We should live our lives today based on what some apostle said millennia ago? Do you think having long hair or not is the most important part of being a christian?

    • tye

      June 4, 2015 at 7:36 am

      Are you sure Paul said that? Mr Yebo?
      Please what chapter and verse?
      I am only aware of men not covering their heads in worship.
      Some bible movies even show Jesus on long hair. Same with the prophets and disciples.
      So please where exactly did Paul say so?

    • Blessedheart

      June 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      1 Corinthians 11:14

  10. miini

    June 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I have read Mr Bruno “fierce’s comments quite a few times and the impression I get of him is a bitter and disrespectful fellow who totally lacks decorum and social etiquette.
    I don’t think iv read any post of his where he didn’t lash out at invisible pple in the blogosphere/Internet. This dude is so quick to label pple judgmental while it is so apparent from his comments that he is d judgmental prick.
    Dear Mr fierce, I rly wonder if u have a good life, coz u only give what u have. U can’t give positivity if u dnt have it, bad trees dnt produce good fruits. I really hope u find happiness so u can let go of all this bitterness and anger against the world, and I really pray u find Jesus.

    • Idomagirl

      June 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Bruno is a two-faced hypocrite. He keeps calling people judgmental but the comments he has dropped on posts about Bruce Jenner’s transition and transgender issues generally are even more judgmental and harsh. If people said half of those things about gay people he would nearly explode, but he feels perfectly fine saying them about trans people. Confused human.

    • A Real Nigerian who also happens to be Caitlyn Jenner's no.1 fan!!!

      June 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      “I don’t think iv read any post of his where he
      didn’t lash out at invisible pple in the
      blogosphere/Internet.”
      Yet here you are, being made angry by what an “invisible” person posted on the internet.
      Oh the irony…

    • miini

      June 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Ur emotional sensor is quite poor, coz if it ain’t, u wd be able to detect that there is no bit of anger in that post, it’s just an emotionless analysis of someone’s numerous hateful comments…but then, u are too sentimental to see that.

  11. miini

    June 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    As for the post, there are so many different dimensions to it, from d not so apparent significance of the dude’s hair color to the women’s gossiping, but the truth is I’m often amazed at man’s spectacular ability to play God and pass judgment on as little matters as earring use and hair color. Thank God man ain’t God!
    That said, any fanatism is dangerous be it Islamic or “christian”. In Christ we have freedom, and we have been set free from d harsh demands of the law. Why xtians now choose to believe in works like the ‘foolish galatians” is beyond d scope of my reasoning. If only we would read our bibles and save ourselves from doctrines set on men’s opinion and egos. Paul dealt with this issues so much in his epistles, but the problem is we xtians are just so lazy! We ignore the main thing which is Christ and d serch for his truth, and we are either so caught up with religion or we are busy searching for non existent miracles up and down. May Christ have mercy on His church.

  12. bunmi

    June 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    All dis grammar too much

    • somi

      June 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Because you don’t understand it?

  13. Doxa

    June 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I have just one policy, if I can’t wear it to church, then i dont buy it at all. Thank God for my church, we are not ‘close-minded’. I have followed this policy all of my adult life and it works for me just fine. And I also noticed that if any time comes where I begin to feel uneasy wearing any item of clothing to church, I also immediately stop wearing it altogether, kinda ‘if it’s not good for God, it’s not good for me either’. If I buy ripped jeans today, it means I must be able to wear it to church, maybe not sunday service, it could be mid-week service, prayer meeting or even choir practice. But so far I have bought it, then it qualifies as church cloth. If my conscience did not judge me, then you can’t either. The day my conscience judges me, I will change.

  14. Chidi

    June 3, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    This topic caught my attention from Twitter so I followed to see the comments. The gospel of Christ is about freedom from religious laws. In error and out of ignorance, many are being put back under the same bondage Christ died to deliver them from and the result is the experience narrated in this article, and can be seen in majority of the comments. if you search for the truth, you shall find it.

  15. Itohan

    June 4, 2015 at 3:20 am

    There’s freedom. And then there’s decency. I truly don’t get why a man wants to carry long blonde hair but hey, I don’t get many things. Do not judge. Yes. But you can’t stop people from wondering or staring when you dress inappropriately. There’s dressing for the occasion. The church isn’t the place to wear your club outfits. Let’s not pretend our brains don’t tell us what is appropriate. We choose to ignore the decency code.

    • Jhennique

      June 4, 2015 at 10:52 am

      So as a christian you are allowd to wear club dresses but keep them outside the church?
      im getting you.

  16. Nigerians are the biggest hypocrites

    June 4, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Where do I begin? First of all, the same pastor of a Church that condemns women from wearing trousers or relaxing their hair is the same one that watches pornography and engages in sexual acts with prostitutes. I have heard about things like this one too many times.
    Secondly, the same women who are quick to judge other women and girls who wear weaves or dye their hair are the same ones whose teenage daughters have either had several abortions or are pregnant.
    Thirdly, the same pastors who preach about how “simple” Jesus was are the same ones with three private jets and luxurious cars. Meanwhile their congregation is made up of people who can’t even afford a car.
    Moving on to the Muslims, a lot of those who teach others about Allah are the same ones who have sex with girls that haven’t even hit puberty. Some go as far as to marry them.
    Religion is one of, if not the sole cause of why the world is messed up. People have misinterpreted the Holy books and twisted things to suit their selfish desires. Majority of religious people have made themselves gods whose purpose in life is to make judgements about how others live their lives. Rubbish.

  17. Stella

    June 4, 2015 at 9:31 am

    May God help us, I believe in decency both in church and outside d church. I bevieve that in the book of 1 peter 3:3 that peter was talking about “moderation” in what we wear like hair, apparel n gold but some churches are against the use of jewelries, hair etc, when i asked they quoted Isaiah 3:16-end. That it was only Jezebel that painted her face in the bible. God please teach give us more understanding of your words.

  18. Jhennique

    June 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

    If you will peirce you ear at all, then please dont think you are better than people who pierce 5 holes, cos if there is hell fo rone ther is hell for the other. If you wear trousers as a woman, then dont think you are better than those that wear ripped jeans cos if there is hell for one there is hell for the other. If you sleep with only your boyfriend then dont think you are better than a prostitute cos if there is hell for one then there is hell for the other,
    If you relax your hair or wear weaves, dont think you are better than those who dye their hair green cos if there is hell for one there is hell for the other

    Nobody should put sin in grades. Sin is sin. And we all must rely on the holy spirit to teach us what is sin and what is not. Forget your pastor, what he says or what he does. Read your bible and genuiely ask for God to guide you cos we no come know who holy again these days. Work out YOUR OWN salvation! Face your life and stop pointing fingers. If you must correct someone do it in love and to the persons face, not throwing snide comments behind them. Peace y’all

  19. emmy

    June 4, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I think people try to be christian in their own way. They, most of the time, try to adjust Christianity to their way of life. Social liberty is different from Christianity. If we cntnue to say people who point out certain questionable things are judgemental and small minded? What are we? At the end, we all just want to do it right. God pls help us.

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