Jun 15, 2014

A Hairy Matter

Going a little off topic today...

The following is a post I felt compelled to make on a couple of forums elsewhere. It wound up being an essay instead. Someone with too much time on his hands created a petition on change.org for, of all things, a demand that singer Beyonce' and her husband, Jay-Z, do a better job of caring for their daughter's hair. There are not many photos of the toddler, Blue Ivy, online, but in every one she is sporting a very natural style. Some would say it's more of a "hot mess" than natural, and that it looks dry and ignored. There are those voicing outrage over the fact that Blue Ivy's parents, being so put together themselves, and having such visibility and resources at their disposal, should be more conscientious in regard to her appearance. Others are outraged at the ones who are outraged, asserting that the child is adorable and should be left alone. Here is my own take:

This issue of Blue Ivy's hair  needs to be put to bed. First of all, a petition regarding someone's beloved child's hair is offensive and absurd, no matter who it is. But, beyond that, anyone who doesn't have a close-up view of that beautiful little girl's hair and doesn't have the experience of having to deal with it should bow out of the conversation. Granted, it does appear dry and maybe a little matted at times in photos of her, no matter where she and her parents happen to be. But it's more complex than that. Much more.

My daughter, now seventeen, also had hair that was super thick, super curly, and also long as a toddler. It was so thick you couldn't see her scalp even when parting it.Trying to make her look like she wasn't neglected took more time and tears than anyone who doesn't have that hair can imagine. Combing that kind of hair on a toddler is a NIGHTMARE. It would take hours out of my day, and my daughter would scream as though I was murdering her. We would both be sweating, red faced, and in tears, and would have to take frequent breaks because she would start hyperventilating. Seriously, the neighbors once called the cops because they thought I was abusing my child.

Moisturizing. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't, because that just makes the hair gunky and causes lint balls to accumulate. That gunk is impossible to wash out, and washing make the curls lock up even tighter. What kids with this type of hair usually wind up with is hair that's clean on the surface and is a veritable rat's nest underneath if you don't go through the tortuous routine. So, on some days we did the best we could combing, and on other days we let it go, and maybe added a bow or headband. People would just have to say and think what they wanted to, and I'm sure some did behind our backs. In the end, I wound up having to cut all my daughter's hair off when she was a preschooler. We had no option other than to give it a fresh start.Yeah, she looked a bit odd for a while, but it was preschool. The other kids didn't care. They asked what happened to her hair, she told them, and they all kept it moving, the way decent human beings should.

Fast forward to now. My teenage daughter has long, beautiful, healthy hair down to her waist. Never do we go out that someone doesn't remark and compliment her on it, and that's no exaggeration. No weaves for her. We relax it now because that's what she feels works best for her very active lifestyle in music, dance, and theater, but we've walked into many a salon where we were actually refused service once people saw how thick and long it was. My daughter still has, as her one faithful hair stylist calls it, "three heads worth of hair." I willingly pay extra to have it done, because it takes several hours, and it continues to grow rapidly.

Beyonce' has quite the chore and quite the conundrum on her hands, because she has to choose between two evils. She's obviously choosing not to torture her child, and to let the haters run their mouths. Will Blue Ivy have damaged hair that has to be chopped off some day? Maybe. Maybe not. Will Bey one day regret not having made more of an effort to tame the hair? Maybe. Maybe not. Will her daughter one day look at pictures and ask, "Mom, why did you take me out looking like a mess all the time?" Maybe. Maybe not. I guarantee that conversation will last less than a minute. Will any of this matter in the long run? Definitely not. The point is that it's a fleeting issue and the parents' call. Your child is only a happy, carefree toddler once, and your precious time with them at that stage shouldn't be spent worrying over something like hair, or having people berate you for your very personal decisions."


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