23 year old Connecticut artist Crystal Rodriguez created Pajon Comic which sends a powerful message to Afro-Latinas about body and hair image. For generations, women were pressured by society to confirm to generic norms in regards to hair and body shapes. Minority women were taught to embrace straighter hairstyles and slimmer body figures and these generic thoughts caused great affliction.
Written in the description of the first installment of Pajon Comic Crystal speaks out against cultural conditioning and says:
“I’m creating the Pajon series to highlight unique moments in a Dominican/afrolatinxs life. Dominican families like other afrolatinxs families look completely different from one another…for example, siblings express different recessive or dominant traits and cousins can look racially distinctive from one another as well. Navigating within a family and culture that is completely mixed can be beautiful, confusing and difficult because of all these intersecting identities. Dealing with privilege becomes especially sensitive and important.”
The images, also illustrated by Crystal, paints a beautiful story of empowerment such as this quote from one of the issues:
You straighten your hair for every important event. And she has noticed this. She wants to be just like you. You spent hours straightening your hair and begin to wonder why you do it? To hear her say she doesn’t love her squiggly hair broke your heart and you realize you are a part of her reasoning. ((The norm for a Latina woman is to straighten her hair when she wants to look especially beautiful. It’s time to deconstruct that norm because it’s hurting little girls…and it probably hurt you long ago when you first decided you looked more special with straight hair.))So you wash your hair that night and promise yourself to make choices independent of social norms. On special days you will wear your hair wild and free and on some days you might straighten your hair to then wear braids for a few weeks…whatever feels good to you
Check out Pajon Comic on Instagram: @dominicanbrujaprincess there are two issues currently.