Four Reasons Why Afros Are the New Alternative Lifestyle Haircut

this is me sporting a mo-fro, chopping onions while wearing goggles

Once upon a time I had an alternative lifestyle haircut. It was pretty great. With my curly hair shaved on both sides, I had the afro version of the Mohawk – what I liked to call the mo-fro. Wherever I went, I attracted lovely looks from my fellow queer girls. It was pretty great.

I decided one day to stop with the side shaving and grow my hair out into a full-on afro. While it definitely gets attention of the “Omg, your hair’s so puffy! Can I touch it?” variety, my fro could use some help with attracting the queer gaze. Therefore, I would like to use Autostraddle to start a queer hair revolution. From now on, the afro should be the new alternative lifestyle haircut.

You may not know it yet, but trust me when I say the afro is perfectly suited to your gay lifestyle and agenda.

Reasons Why the Afro should be the New Alternative Lifestyle Haircut

1. The Afro Fulfills All Your Queer Storage Needs

I don’t know about you, but when I’m going to a hot, gay dance party, the last thing I want to be carrying is a purse. It gets in the way of dancing, you know? And a wallet bulge just looks unattractive. Solution: WEAR AN AFRO. Depending on the size/density of said afro, it can be a great place to store some dolla dolla bills y’all and an overnight kit (wink, nudge) with a pair of clean underwear and a small travel toothbrush. Should your phone not be working, the afro is also a great place to store cute girls’ numbers.

2. The Afro Functions as a Mobile Thermostat

It’s an incredibly hot and sunny day, and you’re on a date. If you happen to be taller than your date, the afro gives you an excuse to stand close to her and offer some shade.

Welcome to Canada

Maybe you live in Hawaii. If that’s the case, fuck you. You don’t have to boast about it, okay? Or maybe, like me, you live in the Great Canadian North. If you are a fellow Canuck, you will be more than familiar with the freeze-your-nostril-hair cold; but lucky for you, there’s an afro for that! Though the afro does not negate the need for a warm winter hat, if worn underneath your hat, it provides a welcome layer of insulation. Now, if you come across a fellow queer while trekking through a snow bank, you don’t have to go with the old standby, “Isn’t it cold? to start a conversation. You can say, “Hey, did you read that fascinating article about the afro on Autostraddle?” She will then fall in love with you and think you are awesome because you read Autostraddle and are warm to the touch. Also maybe you can lend her your hat.

3. The Afro is your Most Useful Travelling Companion

Your active gay lifestyle probably includes a lot of travelling. Boarding a plane to visit your long-distance girlfriend? Hopping from bus to train as you backpack across Europe or South America? Whatever your particular situation, carrying a pillow is probably an awkward and unnecessary hassle. Once again, the afro is here for you! If properly arranged underneath your head, the afro makes the best of pillows. Unlike the afro as underwear-holder, which is really just a hypothesis at this point, the afro as pillow is tried, true, and tested. When I was having adventures in Europe, I slept soundly everywhere I went thanks to my afro!

Thanks to my afro, I will be sure to sleep well after a day full of adventures!

4. The Afro Can Help You Change the World

For all you activist queers: are you tired of going to marches and holding up signs when you’d rather your hands be free to hold the hands of all the cute girls around you? Well, don’t worry. I have a simple solution. Just stick a sign in your afro. Now you will be advocating for social or environmental justice while leaving your hands free to do all the fun things queer girls can do with their hands.

Next time you see a cute girl with an afro, I strongly suggest you wink at her. She may just respond by asking for your number and placing it in her afro.

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Malaika likes books, drinking tea, long conversations, dinner parties, making funny faces, bike rides, and dogs. Originally from Edmonton, she now lives in Montreal where she edits, runs, and writes about the Alberta Tar Sands for The Media Co-op. You can follow her on twitter @Malaika_Aleba.

Malaika has written 84 articles for us.


  1. So, a friend and I use to joke about how you could hide doobies in afro’s, which then inspired us to get on MS Paint and make a visual of said joke. The fact that you basically did the same thing (the drawings/photoshop), made me lol, then I immediately started thinking of Lady of Rage –

    • If I came across a lovely lady with doobies in her fro I’d be all over that in a second. Seriously, a lovely lady fully equipped with doobs? I’m down.

      • Welllllllllllll… I don’t know where you reside, but if you ever happen to make a “pit stop” to California, hit up the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (… you may be in luck! *winks*

  2. Omg. The photoshop in this. Omg. Omg. *dies laughing*

    Win-tacular. Congrats, Malaika! You almost made me pee myself.

  3. Considering how I wilt in the sun, I would gladly use a taller girlfriend (and her hair) for shade (and let’s be honest, I’m short enough that I’ll never be the taller one)

  4. I strongly support this idea (movement?) because of awesome photoshopping and also because afros are the sexiest hairstyle, bar none. I feel like it’s hard to be more convincing than that.

  5. Finally, my afro receives recognition! Two years of: “it’s so soft. can I touch it?” pays off.

  6. I like where you’re head’s at. metaphorically and also in all of those pictures. reason #5: an afro incubates your brain, which allows said brain to come up with great autostraddle article ideas.

  7. As a card carrying member of the afro club, I support this post.

    You forgot to add that it makes a convenient umbrella in the rain. Just shake and forget about it.

    Af-dykes unite! (Now we just need a cool hand sign)

    • that is so true! I actually use my hair as an umbrella all the time. it protects me from rain and even from a light snowfall.

  8. yeah, ive been rocking the curly fro for months now and it attracts a lot of female attention . but amost the same amount of male attention as well

  9. Why oh why oh why did I shave my fro! *hangs head in shame* Although, big fro + big hoops < shaved head + big hoops. Jus' sayin'

  10. I can’t store shit when in fro mode, my curls just aren’t tight enough, but if they were tighter, oh boy. New credit card holder! However, there are still many perks to rocking a fro in the many varieties they come. I love the shapes they can take! Now, if only I could attract more of this lady attention some have been speaking of…

  11. Cant lie, this kinda makes me wanna fro it out. I have been seriously getting sick of the longer hair and I want a change of scenery. Maybe fro-hawk it.

  12. Having an afro lets you hold hands with Rachel Maddow AND Ellen Page?? Save some for the rest of us!

  13. Before I cut all my hair off, I used to store pencils in my curls. The only negative was that sometimes I forgot about them until they fell out in bed.

  14. I have a mohawk but very much wish that I wasn’t too white to have a “mo-fro”

  15. I would hit on you, dear Malaika. Mostly in hopes that you’d let me be the big spoon and touch your hair gently into the night.

  16. I’m not going to lie, last year when I had my afro it was the most success I had with girls. Ever. I was hot shit, and everyone was loving my alternative style haircut. I mourn its passing still, but my girl prefers my hair the way it is now, and I do too.

  17. I’ve heard them called fro-hawks, which I like. My straight sister got hit on by a girl with one the other weekend and called to tell me about it.

    She was at a queer dance night because a. she likes to dance and b. she was trying to pick up a gay shirt for my birthday from some of the people there. In the bathroom a girl told her she was really pretty, ignoring the wedding ring, and she was like “um okay I have a giant spider bite on my face, but whatever.” Said girl had cute curly mohawk so my sister asked, “Can I touch your hair?” and girl says “Sure, can I touch you later?”

    I’m just saying, cool hair=confidence. Swagger. It’s part of the reason I buzz bits or all of my head, so girls can rub it and feel the fuzzy.

  18. I laughed my ass off, I love this! Especially the photoshop.
    I never thought about it, but you’re right! Both my current Starbucks barista crushes (do not tell me you do not have a barista crush) have fros. Something about them makes me do the overly big “are you lesbian?” smile.

  19. hmmm, just might have to try the fro-hawk. The Photoshop example totally sold it.

    I’ve been thinking about changing my hairstyle up for awhile. It now resembles a boring politician’s wife haircut…

    I have about 3 more years before I begin looking for jobs in corporate America. Best start rocking the alternative haircut while there’s still a chance.

  20. I used to be overly conscious of being in queer spaces with a fro, because it’s hard to miss, and where I live, these are white dominated spaces, so I always felt like it was like having a spotlight on me, and not one that I necessarily wanted.

    So cool, go fro’s!

  21. Fros are hawt, and I definitely always read them (maybe a little wishfully) as possibly gay.

  22. Still the first fro’d out AS Calendar Girl. Holdin It DOWN for the fro and the sexy frohawk style and all the sexy fro girls who seem to gets no love.

    Until now.

    And that’s cute.

    And I ain’t even mad.

    It’s about damn time.

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