Why You Should Worry if Someone Accuses You of Having a “Hard Wig, Soft Life”

The problematic trend highlights the type of Black women social media believes white men prefer.

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Apr. 17 2024, Published 10:36 a.m. ET

I speak for most of us when I say a soft life sounds much better than the alternative opposite. When no one was looking, countless people on social media decided they would create a soft life for themselves, meaning they chose a life of ease and balance that doesn’t involve clocking into a job you despise—or not clocking in at all.

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TikTok users have pointed out that a specific type of Black woman often snags a white, wealthy man who funds their soft life. To them, all these women have to do is stop obsessing about their hair and embrace a “hard wig.”

Let’s explore the hard wig, soft life trend, shall we?

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What does “hard wig, soft life” mean on TikTok?

Like most TikTok phrases, “hard wig, soft life” stemmed from an observation made about the “type” of Black women white men tend to be attracted to. In January 2024, TikTok user Jo Ling Ling (@choicesofjo) stated in a video that two types of women have “white men in a chokehold” and posted a photo of Selling Sunset stars Chelsea Lazkani and Emma Hernan.

Jo pointed out that Chelsea, the Netflix show’s only Black star, was married to her white husband Jeff Lazkani, before filing for divorce in March 2024. Jo noted Chelsea’s estranged husband is worth millions and, like most wealthy white men, was attracted to Chelsea, being a Black woman with a petite frame and wearing wigs. She then noted that white men also prefer white, skinny women with “trashy eyebrows” and “a little bit of crooked teeth.”

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Jo’s final example of who white, heterosexual men are attracted to includes a dark-skinned Black woman with a “trashy wig” looking away from the camera. This particular woman is someone Jo said is a white man’s favorite and blamed it on the woman’s imperfect hair, as she said it makes them seem “a little dirty” and less concerned about their looks.

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Following Jo’s initial video, several Black women shared satirical videos of themselves wearing messy wigs in hopes of getting a wealthy white man who could finance their soft lives. One user, Val (@malibumama), gave her take on the theory in November 2023.

As she took down her “Harriet Tubman braids” in the video, Val explained the theory was not only true but exists because “the worse your wig is” implies a Black woman is “disconnected” from Black culture. She also listed women like Cardi B and JT as women who style their wigs rather than just put them on their heads as Black women that white men “subconsciously” think aren’t their type.

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Val proved her theory in December 2023 when she posted another video where she wore a stiff wig to run an errand and ended up with two numbers from two white men, whom she called “Chad and Brad.”

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Women accused of engaging in “hard wig, soft life” have strong opinions about the trend.

After seeing the discourse, a few TikTokers who were called out for having a “hard wig” defended themselves.

In March 2024, Hannah Yoder (@hannahlee.yoder) posted a 7-minute reaction to the trend and said her white farmer husband’s “slow life of quiet luxury” “has nothing to do with the wig on my head.” She also said she wasn’t concerned with plucking her hairline to make her wig look more realistic, stating the act was something women only did to “impress other women.”

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Another user, @slayonie, supported Hannah’s take and posted a video of her taking down clip-ins that one user mistook for a “rough wig.” Slayonie said her version of a “rough wig, soft life” is an example of her not caring what people think as much and instead choosing to “focus on what you think is fun and happy.”

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She also mentioned how Black women are often judged for their hair, which stems from “systemic racism,” and feels she is fighting those standards as a form of self-love and activism.

Although the “hard wig, soft life” trend is problematic, it is here to stay like any conversation about Black hair.

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