Straw-straight, golden strands, sun-lit, sway as she moves. This is beautiful hair.

Coffee bean-colored locs catch the sunlight and spiral toward it. This is beautiful hair.

Why is it that society seems to be actively programming us to only see the first as beautiful?

I am a black woman. As with most women, whenever I go through a significant change, so does my hair. The summer before I started college, I cut all my hair off, just like the white girl in the movie.

What white girl? What movie? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I cried after as it hit me that just because our reasons for cutting our hair were the same, our hair texture was not.

She had a pixie cut and I had a black dude fro. Notice that I did not say that my black dude fro was ugly or that her pixie cut was cute. All hair is beautiful and while it does not define us, it does lend itself to be used as a tool of self-reflection.

The European beauty standard associates attractive people with those with the most European features, including straight hair. It is not shocking that with the standard so pervasive, only 16 percent of women in the films of 2017 were black.

White beauty standards forced upon black culture have had a detrimental effect on black women. This effect can devastate a child’s self-perception, as seen in the Clark and Clark’s doll test of 1947. In this experiment, 253 black children between 3 and 7 were shown two identical dolls, one black and one white. Approximately two-thirds of the children indicated that they liked the white doll better, in spite of their own skin color.

When the study was conducted again in 2005, the findings did not change. One young black girl chose the black doll when asked which doll “looked bad.” When asked to choose the one that looked like her, the girl touched the white doll at first and then, with a painful look in her eyes, chose the black doll.

Just the difference of skin color can lead to lower self-esteem and in some cases self-hatred. Now imagine adding other black features like curly or kinky hair. Let’s break the chain for both us and future generations. In the same way we’ve come to celebrate black history, let’s celebrate black hair.

Black girls and women need to see themselves on television as everyday women rocking their everyday hair. On a red carpet, actress Zendaya Coleman wore her hair in beautiful faux locs, swept to the side. TV personality Giuliana Ransic stated that the locs looked like they smelled of patchouli oil or weed.

Coleman has a huge fan base, especially of young black girls, so it was important that she rocked those locs and responded to Ransic’s comments.

“There is already harsh criticism of African-American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair,” Coleman said. “My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough."

Powerful strides to diversify our representation are being made through inspiring actresses such as Lupita Nyong’o, Issa Rae and Viola Davis. Seeing Davis take off her makeup and wig in “How to Get Away with Murder” was unforgettable. She was vulnerable. I felt that her being seen made me seen as well.

We need to see all types of black women, unafraid to own the beauty of their black hair. Black women going to bed or waking up with their heads in wraps, scarves, bonnets or pineapples (loose ponytail to preserve curls while you sleep).

This is our reality and our hair. How we take care of it or style it should not fill us with shame or insecurities. Our weaves, wigs, bantu knots, twist outs, Senegalese twists, box braids, corn rows, fro-hawks, blow outs, freshly relaxed or permed tresses, curls and kinks are all beautiful and should be represented.

I am a black girl raised in white suburbia. Whether it was school or the hit rom-com, I was reminded that I would never have the long, blonde swaying hair. To me that meant I would never really be beautiful.

I was both right and wrong. I would never have long, blond swaying hair. I am beautiful.

Taylor Keaton, a UF senior in the College of Journalism and Communications, graduates this week with her bachelor's degree in telecommunications.