I hate the title of this blog. REALLY hate it.
Before having kids, I thought, if I have a little boy- he’s gonna be a kick-ass stylish little punk rock boy with a skateboard and a mohawk. There were a lot of things I thought before parenthood that turned out to be wrong. This was one of them.
It may have taken a while (a LONG while) to grow hair, but once each of my kids grew it, it suited them- and the longer it got, the more it seemed to suit them. Of course, this was just my opinion- as they hadn’t developed their own yet, so I figured, we’ll grow it, trim it, whatever it, until the day comes that they look at me and say “I want to change it.” It’s not my head, not my life- and it’s JUST HAIR, so why even worry about it right now when we could be worrying about things like the fact that my kid likes to crap and hide it and then plays “find the turd” twice a week, or the fact that the other one refuses to eat any solid food other than tomato slices. Hair? Who cares?
…Apparently a lot of other people. I’m lucky to have a non-judgy family who can accept just about anything (or at least shut the hell up about the things they don’t agree with), but we have fielded comments from strangers for YEARS.
There are the passer-bys who innocently mistake my boys for girls. I can accept that. We’ve grown used to it. They mean no harm, and I don’t expect strangers to inspect my children’s clothes to figure out what gender they might be, even if I don’t think we should assume one way or the other based on hair length. It happens.
There are the Jokey Joke-makers, who think that joking about their long hair looking like a girl’s is totally hysterical, like we haven’t heard it before. It isn’t, and we have.
And then there’s the ones who say things to my kids purposely to either make them or me feel bad about the length of their hair. Things like “Oh you look like a little girl! You should be wearing a dress!” or “are you SURE those aren’t girls? REALLY?” or “boys should never have long hair! That looks awful and only girls should have long hair!”
I’ve heard all of the above and more, more times than I can even count. In person and online.
Some people feel bad upon correction, and some people continue to try to bully us. Sometimes we don’t even bother correcting them. My kids are confident. I have taught them over the years that their hair is their choice, and the length means nothing. If they like it, they can keep it, and if one day they don’t, they don’t have to. They can grow it and donate it, trim it, put it in a ponytail, whatever the hell they want to do with it, that’s okay- because at the end of the day, it is just hair, and it really means nothing other than a like or dislike.
It’s JUST HAIR- but through teaching them to be confident in their choice of hairstyle, I know that in the long run, I am teaching them to be confident in themselves. But still- it’s JUST HAIR.
If you’ve had a boy with long hair, or a girl with short hair- or even ever been one of those two- I get the strong suspicion you could have written all of the above.
It doesn’t matter what you like, or don’t like, or what you prefer. That’s all well and good, differences are what keeps the world interesting, but when you decide to comment on it in an attempt to make someone feel bad, it crosses a line. It’s judgmental at best, and bullying at worst.
I don’t personally like shaved heads on boys- but when I look at a picture of a boy with a shaved head, that isn’t what I see (unless it’s a photo of the kid getting a haircut)- and if the length of a child’s hair is all YOU see when you look at their photo, there’s something wrong. Not with the kid. Not with the parent of the kid. But with you.
Ask yourself this- WHY does the length of someone’s hair matter to you? Why do you feel the need to make a comment about it? Why do you think it’s okay to not only pass judgment on something so insignificant, but to pass it on a CHILD? What purpose does it serve other than making yourself look like a Class A Asshole?
The more we force gender stereotypes on children, the more we force them to try to be something they are not. The more we push them away of finding out what they truly love, what they want to do, who they are meant to become. I know, it sounds silly- it’s JUST HAIR- but that’s just the beginning. It’s a stepping stone to guilting and bullying.
The title of this blog should be “The NON-issue of hair length and children”, but unfortunately it can’t be. Not until people learn to just let others be who they are, the way they are.
A boy can have long hair, a girl can have short hair- hell, you can even have a mullet (if it’s a super sweet one, I might even compliment it). It’s a NON-ISSUE. IT’S JUST HAIR. Your opinion on it is not important unless it’s the hair on your own damn head. LET IT BE.
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