to be unimpressed by the school photographer insisting that the girls let their hair loose for photos?

(81 Posts)
qwertypop Sat 07-Jun-14 15:45:37

DD is in Y6 and has long hair that she wears in plaits for school. This is a) a school rule and b) something I'd insist on even if it wasn't due to nits and tangles etc.

School photos yesterday and DD came home with her hair loose. The photographer had told all the girls to let their hair loose so they'd look pretty for the photos hmm I totally believe DD on this as she hates having her hair in her face, hates wearing it loose, and was furious at having been told to do it!

Is this normal or AIBU to think it a bit crap and sexist of them? Surely they should know that children look pretty however their hair is?

It doesn't even make any sense as even if the parent wanted a 'pretty' picture surely how they send them is how they like their hair.

olivespickledonions Sat 07-Jun-14 15:51:57

YANBU. It's a school photo and if their hair is in plaits etc for school then that's how their hair should be in the photo.
It does seem sexist in an odious 1970's way.

WorraLiberty Sat 07-Jun-14 15:52:04

It's not just sexist, it's bloody stupid.

Surely most of those girls will have looked as though they've stuck their finger in a light socket, or a bit of a frizzy mess if they've removed their plaits?

I can't see many photos being sold.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Sat 07-Jun-14 15:52:41

My DD looks far better when her hair is neatly styled in a plait than when it is down. I would not be impressed if they undid her plaits for a photo, as she would look like she was pulled through a hedge backwards!
All school photos at DDs school are just as they were sent to school, so have not come across this yet.

LoveSardines Sat 07-Jun-14 15:53:22

So he told any girls with short hair that they are "not pretty", effectively.

Plus what everyone else said.


SpicyPear Sat 07-Jun-14 15:54:18

Outrageous. What were the boys asked to do to look pretty? Just yuck.

whereisshe Sat 07-Jun-14 15:54:27

I'd honestly be having a word to the school. Telling them they have to look "pretty" in school photos is exactly the kind of tripe that gets dished out to girls and not to boys, reinforcing the idea that their value as people comes from their looks.

LoveSardines Sat 07-Jun-14 15:54:37

What about any girls afro type hair styled in a careful and more longterm way?

Were they to take their hair out too?

LoveSardines Sat 07-Jun-14 15:55:10

Do any of the boys have long hair tied back, were they given the same instruction?

phantomnamechanger Sat 07-Jun-14 15:55:29

it was funny the year DDs class photos were taken after they had just got back from swimming grin

YANBU OP, and I would complain - it is not up to the photographer to decide what is an appropriate hair do for a photo

Stinkle Sat 07-Jun-14 15:59:48


Surely most of those girls will have looked as though they've stuck their finger in a light socket, or a bit of a frizzy mess if they've removed their plaits?


In my daughter's last year at primary the photographer did this.

Our school rules also state that all long hair should be tied back so DD's photo was awful, madly sticking out bumpy hair. She didn't even have a hairbrush with her.

School ended up having half the year 6 photos re-done as they were also for their year books

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sat 07-Jun-14 16:33:01

Bloody hell, what next? Make up artist? Wind machine? It's a school photo not an ELLE photoshoot! hmm

I'd complain to the head to get a different professional photographer to come to school to re-do the photos.

SpottieDottie Sat 07-Jun-14 16:36:24

YANBU. I used to hate having my hair loose when it was long so I'd always have plaits in school photos.

I wouldn't be happy with this either, not only is untied hair at nit magnet but it's effectively saying short hair is ugly.

oohdaddypig Sat 07-Jun-14 16:41:45

Yuck. Yuck. YANBU

Why must a girl be told to look "pretty". This in itself sounds horribly sexist.

Sirzy Sat 07-Jun-14 16:44:52


There again a photographer at school once told me to take my glasses off for the photo as I would look better without them. As someone who has worn glasses most of her life why on earth would I want to take them off for a photo?

Nanny0gg Sat 07-Jun-14 16:47:03

Normally there would be a member of staff there (for crowd control). Why didn't they speak up? I certainly would have!

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Sat 07-Jun-14 16:48:59

Fucking hate school photos. Fecking tempest, with their outrageously expensive and not that good photos. However this is beyond the pale, complaints and a boycott.

qwertypop Sat 07-Jun-14 16:50:09

Apparently the (female) teacher in charge agreed and said the photo would be better if they all had their hair the same! I mean FFS I don't even want a group photo, who does?

FatalCabbage Sat 07-Jun-14 17:05:54

Everyday sexism sad

I wouldn't have looked like me with my hair down. Surely parents want a photo of how their children actually normally look minus yogurt drips.

sunshinecity17 Sat 07-Jun-14 17:09:41

shallow -maybe, sexist I don't see how.I mean didn't the boys have their hair loose or did they have it tied up in plaits?

sunshinecity17 Sat 07-Jun-14 17:12:40

and I actually agree with the photographer.I think loose hair makes for a more relaxed natural looking photo.i suspect this is what the photographer meant and something got lost in translation.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sat 07-Jun-14 17:12:52

"shallow -maybe, sexist I don't see how.I mean didn't the boys have their hair loose or did they have it tied up in plaits?"

Because they were told to do something outside of their day to day norms to "look pretty"


BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sat 07-Jun-14 17:14:57

If the boys were all told to gel their hair into a point to look handsome, then there might be some parity.

PlumpPartridge Sat 07-Jun-14 17:22:42

The photo would be better if they all looked the same? SIlly.

They will look more relaxed if they adopt a look which, in the case of the op's daughter, they hate? SIlly.

"Girls, I'd prefer for you to wear your hair loose for this photo. That will make you look more pretty than you do right now. The logical implication of my statement is that your current state of prettiness is insufficient. The boys? What about the boys? They look just fine as they are. You, on the other hand, all need to make an effort because you are female. Now smile and remember - tits and teeth, darlings."

I think you can see where reported fact became fiction, but it wasn't exactly a stretch, was it?

sunshinecity17 Sat 07-Jun-14 17:51:43

There is parity Boys hair-natural, girls hair-natural

sunshinecity17 Sat 07-Jun-14 17:53:04

I find it hard to believe the photographer insisted maybe suggested

JohnFarleysRuskin Sat 07-Jun-14 17:54:21


JohnFarleysRuskin Sat 07-Jun-14 17:55:57

Sunshine, do you think the boys were told to change themselves in order to look pretty?

What sort of twat photographer does this?

RhondaJean Sat 07-Jun-14 17:58:13

Would you care to name and shame Thr photography company?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sat 07-Jun-14 18:02:11

Did he say "natural" or did he say "pretty"?

It was "pretty".

And - school photo - girls have appropriate school hair, boys have appropriate school hair. There's parity for you.

frames Sat 07-Jun-14 18:04:42

That's just weird. Slightly different topic but one local school gets the children to put their swim caps on, while they are enroute to the pool on the coach. They arrive at the pool fully clothed, with swim caps, and then he changed into cossies. It saves time I guess but they look really odd.

Eastpoint Sat 07-Jun-14 18:04:55

We had this too - funnily enough we didn't buy their odd slightly out of focus photographs.

I think school photos are an anachronism, nowadays anyone who wants can own a camera & take photos of their child. I presume they date from when film & developing photographs was too expensive for the average family.

thebodylovesspring Sat 07-Jun-14 18:10:12

Sounds well dodgy to me.

MrsKCastle Sat 07-Jun-14 18:15:22

Did any of the boys have gel in their hair? Were they told to go and wash it out so their hair looked 'natural'? Or were they allowed to appear in the photo with their hair styled as usual?

Either way, I would NOT be pleased, to say the least. I'd complain and expect an apology and an assurance that they wouldn't be using the same photographer again.

JohnFarleysRuskin Sat 07-Jun-14 18:55:21

"girls, you must all conform to what this (twat) photographers idea of pretty is. You may think you look perfectly fine as you are or you may not even want to look pretty. This however is unacceptable."

sarinka Sat 07-Jun-14 18:57:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eurochick Sat 07-Jun-14 19:03:26

Dont buy the photo and tell the school and the photography company why.

olivespickledonions Sat 07-Jun-14 19:09:37

He was imposing on them his definition of 'pretty'.
Sexist. And creepy.

qwertypop Sat 07-Jun-14 19:09:43

No idea who the company are yet, I can't remember who they usually use and I never buy the photos anyway. I will be finding out on Monday though!

differenttoyou Sat 07-Jun-14 22:36:49

DD has her hair loose in this year's picture and it is one of the worst she's ever had taken. Pulled back and tidy any day of the week.

Actifizz Sat 07-Jun-14 22:44:43

DD was told by the school photographer to take her glasses off to make the photo 'pretty'
He was an independent guy. Small school. First and last time he got the job.

PersonOfInterest Sat 07-Jun-14 22:46:53

Inappropriate, creepy.

And how arrogant to decide s/he knows better than the children/parents/school what looks best!

Trillions Sat 07-Jun-14 22:59:23

YANBU. But why does your DD have long hair if she hates it and finds it annoying?

MrsKCastle Sat 07-Jun-14 23:08:33

OP said her DD hates having her hair in her face. IME, long hair is actually much easier to keep off of the face-you just tie it back. Short hair gets in your way unless iit's REALLY short. Makes perfect sense to me.

Nancy66 Sat 07-Jun-14 23:11:13

Are you certain he didn't just make the point that they could take their hair down if they wanted to?

ReallyFuckingFedUp Sat 07-Jun-14 23:20:41

definitely sexist and if the photographer was a guy I'd say more than bit creepy

ReallyFuckingFedUp Sat 07-Jun-14 23:22:34
xihha Sat 07-Jun-14 23:24:18

yanbu, my DD looks lovely with her hair down and I've got beautiful photos of her with her hair down and pretty clothes on but that's not how i send her to school and surely the point of school photos is to get a picture of DC as they look at school?

pamish Sun 08-Jun-14 01:09:50

Photo or not, I do wonder why it is +/- compulsory for all girls to have long hair. It just gets in the way of everything and they spend ages fiddling with it and flicking it aside and bothering with it. Why not just have it cut, could be shoulder length and not need attention, all that yards of stuff on six-year-olds drives me nuts. One of the examples of unconscious gendering that I had hoped we were leaving behind. If you justify it as 'don't they look pretty', (a) what is pretty and (b) if so, why not make your boys look similarly gorgeous?

xihha Sun 08-Jun-14 01:28:12

in my case its coz DD wanted long hair, fwiw I also thought little bro looked gorgeous with his curly bottom length strawberry blond hair but then he cut it off for little princess trust

ComposHat Sun 08-Jun-14 02:58:46

It screams 'potential nonce' to me.

scotchtikidoll Sun 08-Jun-14 03:25:18

ComposHat really? How do you gather that? The OP hasn't said whether the photographer was a man... maybe the female teacher is a paedophile too? It is a bit much.

I remember the photographer (every year) would ask me if I had a boyfriend. It was an attempt to get me to smile naturally, just like when she tried to get me to say 'beans and sausages'. Maybe she was trying to groom me..

I think maybe there could be a photography reason behind hair down- it frames the face better? Of course OP if you feel that this was inappropriate then you know where the head's office is.

AdoraBell Sun 08-Jun-14 03:46:48

This wouldn't surprise me in Chile. Here all the girls have to have their hair not only loose but scooped around to drape over the left shoulder for photos, ffs, but if I were in the UK I would complain and refuse to buy the photos.

ToysRLuv Sun 08-Jun-14 04:14:46

I have had short hair (really short, and sometimes shaved off) for most of my life. It is practical and the right cut will enhance anyone's features. Where I come from (in Scandinavia) it is not that unusual, so I was in for a shock when I came here to go to uni. In the intro lecture given to c. 200 people, I was the only girl with short hair.

To me it seems like in the uk women and girls tend to have long hair until such a time when they deem long hair unappropriate due to fear of looking muttony. The only little girls with lovely, short, neat bobs in DS's class have come from other countries, as well.. The rest all have ling hair tied up with various contraptions. Makes you wonder.

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 08-Jun-14 05:17:21

Another one whose dd was told to take her glasses off for the photos. She has worn them full time for 8 years. The photo didn't even look like her. We never see her without glasses.

PandaNot Sun 08-Jun-14 06:31:31

I can't believe anyone will buy the photo! They'll all look like they've been dragged through a hedge.

My dd has long hair because she needs to wear it in a bun for dancing. I'd much prefer her to have short hair.

Nanny0gg Sun 08-Jun-14 16:07:17

I also bet that a number of mothers had spent ages that morning making sure that the girls' hair was done perfectly.

They'll be really pissed off!

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 08-Jun-14 16:12:05

Yy Nanny.

JonesRipley Sun 08-Jun-14 16:32:00


i have commented onthis before. When I was achild here in the 70s there were always several girls in each class with short hair.

But I am starting to see some signs in the Primary school where I work that things are changing a bit. A few of the year 4 s and up have had their hair cut short in the lAst couple of years.

JonesRipley Sun 08-Jun-14 16:32:34

yanbu. This is sexist.

FiveExclamations Sun 08-Jun-14 16:47:25

Same thing happened with my DD's end of primary school whole class pic. DD couldn't get the two invisible bands that were holding back the front of her hair out, but she let the back down. The two small pony tails at the front didn't sit right once the back was loose and she looked like she had horns.

She's only looked presentable in one school photo and that was her reception one, so I should be used to it by now.

ThaneOfScunthorpe Sun 08-Jun-14 16:54:32

Sexist and creepy. I agree with whoever it was that said it's like a trip back to the 70s.

I was asked to take my glasses off for school photos in primary school. My mother was furious. None of the boys were asked to take their glasses off.

ExcuseTypos Sun 08-Jun-14 17:28:04

I'd be fuming.

I'd phone the school on Monday asking why the photographer wasnt challenged on his request. he sounds like an old pervert to me

MiaowTheCat Sun 08-Jun-14 18:23:51

The only intervention I've ever staged on school photograph day is trying to make them look like they haven't been dragged through a hedge backwards - which may involve redoing ponytails, or finding a jumper from lost property to borrow that doesn't have the world atlas of yoghurt from lunch down the front or whatever. Other than that I tend to assume the parents have sent them into school how they want them to be photographed.

I can't replicate situations where parents have sent little girls in with beautiful french plaits that they've taken out themselves at playtime though unfortunately - sorry but I'm still shite at little girls' hair (as the state of DD1 will usually testify).

phantomnamechanger Sun 08-Jun-14 18:24:42

can you imagine a wedding photographer "suggesting" the bride, or anyone in the wedding party changed the way they look for the photos?

I absolutely agree OP this is wrong - the message is that little girls should be bothered about how other people think they should look, that there is some sort of perceived norm they have to strive to fit, to be acceptable/good enough

I have some absolutely gorgeous pictures of my DD2, a right impish little pickle, with her plaits and freckles. Hair down would not have been her (and it would have looked a mess!)

phantomnamechanger Sun 08-Jun-14 18:27:24

<mini hijack - does anyone else have some really foul school photos from the 70s where you were posed with fur rugs and fake plants and other crap on a table in front of you? and ridiculous fake oil painting type backdrops of country scenes instead of a plain background. they are hideous! grin >

Oldraver Sun 08-Jun-14 22:30:37

Phantom...there are two on my profiles circa 1972/3... one walking and anotehr posing in front of a bookcase

SteamTrainsRealAleandOpenFires Sun 08-Jun-14 23:55:49

I've never had a school photo taken of me, (as I hate being photographed) I hid in the bogs every time. grin

cosmicstardust Mon 09-Jun-14 00:39:39

DD's hair is in cornrows at the moment, which she would struggle to take out by herself. Would the photographer have made girls with similar braids in take them out too? confused

qwertypop Mon 09-Jun-14 14:47:08

About to go to fetch DD so watch this space for an update! Will be kicking off the conversation by asking whose idea the loose hair was and take it from there...

Sounds a bit "jimmy saville" to me wanting the young girls to look pretty for the camera. Did he bring sweets or just puppies too?

I think it's grimy. I'd be def complaining too.

Notso Mon 09-Jun-14 15:26:08

I was really sad when I saw DS1's first school photo because his 'helpful' teacher had brushed his gorgeous longish, shaggy hair into a severe side parting. He looked wrong, like Bart Simpson at church.

I don't think it is a sinister thing. Maybe he just wanted them all to look similar.

Nocomet Mon 09-Jun-14 15:39:34

YANBU, by Y6 the girls in DD2's class would have had very firm ideas about how they wanted their hair (very likely not how their Mothers did it that morning)

They would not appreciate the photographer having an opinion.

DD2 wears glasses and keeps them on for photos (she squints if she doesn't), she is faintly self conscious about them so any hint she looks prettier with out would make me complain.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 09-Jun-14 15:40:48

Oh yes, because the most important thing a little girl will ever do is "look pretty".

How about keeping the plaits in because they look 'smart'? Or do we not require our little girls to be smart.


BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Mon 09-Jun-14 16:56:29

If photographer wanted them all to look similar then why did photographer say "to look pretty"?

PeterParkerSays Mon 09-Jun-14 17:11:51

Hope you're giving them hell OP, and asking why the teacher backed the photographer up in this escapade.

NatashaRomanov Mon 09-Jun-14 17:23:21

Wow, I'd be pretty unimpressed if this happens to my DD (she starts school in September).
School photos should represent how the child looks at school. Not how some photographer thinks is 'pretty'!
FWIW, I think my DD looks very pretty in plaits, which is how she'll wear her hair for school. Left loose, it goes wild within 30 seconds. She still looks pretty, just not neat!

qwertypop Fri 13-Jun-14 12:49:28

Didn't get to see the teacher involved because she only works Fridays to cover PPA time. However I mentioned it to DDs normal class teacher who gave me the total brush off and said she knew what girls were like and it was probably their idea! So not holding out much hope that my point will be taken seriously... Will try this afternoon to catch the cover teacher though.

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