Rapunzel Hair for Halloween?

Hey ladies! I was never a judgey-wudgey person, but when you become a mother, something shifts. Out of nowhere, you’re writing letters to VH1 trying to get “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta” off the air and you’re appalled by the misogyny in rap music (never mind the fact that twenty years ago, you were at a house party dry-humping a senior to “G’s Up Hoes Down”). And suddenly, you care, really really care, about the self-esteem and well-being of young black girls you’ve never even met.

Oh. My. God.

On Friday I posted on Shake Your Beauty’s FB page a pic of a five month old girl with straightened hair. It’s unclear whether her mom relaxed it, blew it out or flatironed/pressed it, but whatever went down, it’s gross. Right? Forget the potential damage she’s done to her little girl’s tresses and edges (baby hair is crazy fragile) — how about the ramifications of being raised by a woman so scared of showing the world her baby’s true texture that she straightens it at such an obscenely young age? Already, this woman is teaching her little girl that her natural looks just aren’t good enough. Which is criminal. Growing up, it’s hard enough trying to feel pretty while being bombarded with the media’s unattainable beauty ideals — but what happens when you’re mom sends you the message that you don’t measure up? My heart breaks for this little girl. And I want to punch her mom in the mouth.

Now, I need to know if I’m the world’s worst hypocrite. Bobina is dying to be Rapunzel (from the Disney movie “Tangled,” specifically) for Halloween. As we all know, Rapunzel has mad long, buttery blonde hair. So, she’s looking through her catalog from Costume Express, and she sees that you can buy a flowing blonde Rapunzel wig to go with the costume. You already know where this is going. My Lina Lina Bobina wants to wear the blonde wig for Halloween.

The Rapunzel wig.

Now, I get that this doesn’t have to be a pre-self-hate moment…she’s going as Rapunzel, and this chick has long blonde hair. It’s a part of the costume, end of. But…I cannot have my brown child walk around Park Slope in a long blonde wig. It gives me shades of Whoopi Goldberg in her early one woman show, you know, as the little black girl with a sheet on her head, trying to look white. I can’t. Could you?

Bobina: But Mommy, I don’t have enough hair like my fwends do. I can’t be Rapunzel with only my hair.

Me: You have a ton of hair! It’s curly, so it shrinks up — but if you pull out out, you’ll see how long it is!

Bobina:  I don’t WANT to! HUMPH! (stomps off)

So then I had a thought. For Halloween, I’ll blow out Bobina’s hair for the first time! And she can rock her own long hair as Rapunzel. Is this a good idea? What say you? Feel free to go in…I just need some advice. Ugggh, being a mother is fucking hard.

xoxo, Tia

26 Comments

  1. yorubam

    Could you buy the wig and dye it a darker, more realistic color? Or find a similar wig but darker? I think that would be a happy medium. This is what I would do. She wants a wig to feel like she is dressing up.

  2. Lianne

    Girl blow that hair out. It may be a drastic move at her age (and be prepared for her wanting it all the time after she sees how cute she is). This may be the ONLY way to put this to bed once and for all and make her see that she is a beautiful princess all on her own WITH HER OWN HAIR. Later after the hoopla has died down, you can do what my mom did when I was little and just wet set her hair if she wants the smoothness again. xxoo

  3. audrey

    Let her wear the wig. IT’S A COSTUME!!

    Then, periodically let her wear other wigs to emphasize the point that its not real …. and that one color or type of hair is not preferable or prettier than another.

    Let her rock her long blond hair, then let her play dress up with a red curly wig and then a black straight Cher wig, then a Angela Davis fro jointskee!
    Hell, Call up Katy Perry and ask her if you can borrow her electric blue wig and let cutie pie wear that! LOL

    Just don’t bring too much attention to it … Make it fun! :)

  4. gogogadget

    i’m not at all qualified to answer this question, plus i’m super biased – but i’ll try anyway lol. i would say go with the wig. i think it’s probably less confusing of a message – it’s apart of a costume that can “come off” after halloween. I think that is less confusing then in this one instance blowing out her hair. ahh, this is a tough one – i wish there was more space for girls to feel pretty as they are before the world starts screaming about what they should look like – it seems like that window of time gets smaller and smaller…maybe making it make-believe (wig) is better, her bouncy curls are still there underneath.

  5. Kay

    Tangled was such a cute movie. I can see why she’d want to dress up as that. Maybe, since halloween is a while away you could let her see some dark haired princesses?watch Mulan, aladdin, pocahontas and the frog princess? Shoot. Even snow white! Lol. Stalk amazon for books with brown skin dark haired princesses in them? Maybe she might change her mind and u wouldn’t have to do a thing

  6. Moni

    I say blow it out, but WATCH how you and others react to her straightened hair! You want to be careful not to send the message that her hair is only pretty or prettiest when it’s straight or that it has to be straight to be “special,” because the world at large is already sending that message, both explicitly and implicitly. Our daughters are beautiful, no matter what hair they have!

  7. Andrea

    I’m going to join #TEAMBLOWITOWT. Putting a blond wig on her is a bit extreme (in MY opinion). However, if you blow it out, be sure to reenforce just how beautiful she is with her natural hair. In other words, show her that healthy natural hair is the PRIORITY. Straight hair is a fun OPTION.

  8. yorubam

    I say find a similar wig of a darker color or get that wig and dye it a darker color. That is what I would do. To me, the color of the hair is more the issue than the length. The whole point of halloween is to dress up, right? I think she wants to wear a wig. Let’s be real, she can grow her hair long but she won’t be able to wear her own hair straight at that length and shade. At least not for long. What if you blow it out and it rains on Halloween? IJs. I see nothing wrong with blowing out her hair, I just think for the halloween occasion, she wants to wear the wig. Has she had it blown out before? I think it would be hard for a child her age to sit through that but otherwise I don’t see anything wrong with straigtening it.

  9. Heysuga1

    I agree with @Audrey’s comment above. As long as she understands that its dress-up for Halloween and/or only make believe, then I don’t see the harm. I’d go buy a bevy of wigs and let her have at it. I’d only be worried if she ALWAYS wanted to wear the long blond wig. But this doesn’t feel like the case. She’s a kid. Let her have fun! I’m a little nervous of straightening her hair. I understand that you’re trying to prove a point, but you don’t want her to fall in love with the long straight hair look. I mean, the whole point of you growing out your hair is to show her that her curls are beautiful…so I wouldn’t risk it.
    Let her play dress up but definitely introduce as much diversity into the mix as possible.

  10. Heysuga1

    I agree with @Audrey’s comment above. As long as she understands that its dress-up for Halloween and/or only make believe, then I don’t see the harm. I’d go buy a bevy of wigs and let her have at it. I’d only be worried if she ALWAYS wanted to wear the long blond wig. But this doesn’t feel like the case. She’s a kid. Let her have fun! I’m a little nervous of straightening her hair. I understand that you’re trying to prove a point, but you don’t want her to fall in love with the long straight hair look. I mean, the whole point of you growing out your hair is to show her that her curls are beautiful…so I wouldn’t risk it by sending a mixed message.
    Let her play dress up but definitely introduce as much diversity into the mix as possible.

  11. El Jay

    Ugh, i do not envy you, this is hard. I have 2 yr old who has already started happily dancing around with a shirt on her head (a la Whoopi) even though i know grown women who would die for her own hair. While my 1st instinct would be to lean toward distraction and trickery, (“hey what about an Afro-Circus wig……”) I tend to agree with the other poster about not making a big deal about it since it is part of a costume. i think its important to emphasize that it is a wig of hair that almost exclusively exists only in fairy tales because most people white or black do NOT have hair like that. I ‘m still leaning toward distraction though (” wouldn’t you like to be a Candy princess Rapunzel with long pink hair?”) because of the implications of long luxurious blond hair. Good Luck :)

  12. Alina

    When I was about four or five, growing up in New Jersey, a friend of mine had a “Beauty Queen” themed birthday party. The ladies painted our nails, dusted our eyelids with blue eye shadow and gave us red lips . They also put our hair (mine included) into big rollers. Mousse, hairspray, everything. Wrestling my curly “domindian” hair into doing anything was impressive. I LOVED how different I looked–I’d never worn makeup before. After the party I remember my mom and dad telling me that makeup is supposed to be for fun–but it’s important to love who I am. They made sure to keep reminding me that all through growing up, even during my wacky experimental phases. Now that I’m a little more grown up, I still always love the transformative power of hair and makeup. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I agree with the other posters–”make it fun” and make sure your little girl knows that she IS beautiful, strong, and smart–curly or straight.

  13. amarie

    I guess I’d have to be “mean Mommy” because I would not let my daughter wear a blonde wig, costume or not. I wouldn’t blow it out either because as Moni said, that may send a confusing message as well. I think I would opt to do a twist or braid out so she has more length.

  14. Gladys

    I’m not a mother, but I’m an aunt. I would not let my sisters put a long blond weave on my nieces. I don’t care if it is for a costume. No bueno. I say blow her hair out for Halloween and she can be a brown Rapunzel. Uniquely different and beautiful.

  15. Beanie

    My niece went as Hanna Montana (complete with long blonde wig) for Halloween a few years back when she was eight. She looked like Lil’ Kim, though. LOL! She even told one of my neighbors, a upper middle aged white guy, that she was Lil’ Kim and he was like, “Who is Little Kim?” Bwhahahaa..:=)

  16. Nicole

    Let her wear the wig it goes with the costume. Rapunzel has to have long blonde hair. If she was asking to have long blonde hair like her friends that would be an issue. Parenting tip #1 don’t stress over simple things.

  17. Karen

    First, can I just say I’m super excited to see this blog is back. I was heartbroken (okay, maybe that’s a stretch…but totally bummed is accurate) when you left a while back and I stumpled upon it again! Yay!
    Anyways….
    My ‘two cents’ is to let her wear the costume and have fun. I think it’s actually a non-event. Besides, I think what’s really important is that she will absorb the majority of her ideas about beauty from 1) seeing her beautiful mama and 2) adopting her mom’s encompassing view on beauty. No worries, have fun :)

  18. Bri Montgomery

    Disclaimer: Im not a parent, but I would try to get a long black or brown wig. It’ll still be in costume, but wont look like she’s another race. This way its clear shes Rapunzel and its extra long like in the fairy tale. If thats not an option then I would break down and blow it out.

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