Does Straightening My Curly Hair Send the Wrong Message to My Daughter?Jeannette Kaplun
I’ve had mixed feelings about my curly hair my entire life. The spirals can be my best friends on a good hair day (usually just after I’ve washed it, applied some product and allowed it to air dry), or my worst enemy when either the humidity is out of control or I have a bad case of bed head. My husband loves my natural hair but when I have an important business meeting or TV appearance, my first impulse is to get a blow out to make my hair straight.
Even if some deny it, the truth is that hair does affect how people perceive you, as thousands of women who fight their curls will tell you. Even curly-haired celebrities have given in to the straightening iron or keratin treatments and find they are now celebrated for their perfectly smooth hair. You didn’t see any actresses embracing their natural curls on the Emmy’s red carpet, did you?
The issue now is that I hadn’t realized how this might affect the way my daughter might think about her own curls. She told me recently that she wished she had straight hair because curly hair isn’t as pretty. “Why do you think that?” I asked. “Well, you straighten your hair when you want to look extra pretty,” she said. Her statement was an eye-opener to me. It killed me to see that every time I get rid of my curls, she gets the message that there is something wrong with how she looks.
So aside from talking about self-image, acceptance and how being (and feeling) beautiful has nothing to do with one’s hair type, I’m trying to be more careful about the remarks I make about my own personal appearance in general. Adopting a healthier diet already made me realize how my daughter is always watching what I do and what I say, but it’s hard to modify old behaviors. It’s also hard to find famous women embracing their curls so I can show my little girl that straight isn’t the only kind of beautiful hair. Those who used to embrace their curls, such as Taylor Swift, have opted for sleek bobs and the only singer at the VMA’s that I could see without a blow out was Nicki Minaj.
Have you faced similar challenges with your daughter? Do you have any tips? I’d love to learn from other parents because I know I cannot be the only one facing these questions.
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