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.
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.
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.