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To think that calling hair 'mousy' is an insult, not a description of the colour

(170 Posts)
JustT Tue 28-Mar-17 16:28:39

My daughter has beautiful long hair that I call 'golden brown'. It was blonde as a baby but has got darker as she's got older and she's now 8. She's always been really happy with her hair colour and I'm pleased because I remember my own mum putting lemon juice and 'sun-in' in my hair when I was a kid to desperately try and keep it blonde for longer. I want my daughter to be happy with her hair as it is. So I was a bit upset when she was having her hair cut last week and the hairdresser said that her hair was 'mousy'. This doesn't sound like a colour to me, it actually sounds like an insult and a way of saying that it is an unattractive colour. Since then my daughter's actually said that she doesn't like having 'mousy' hair and that it isn't a nice colour. I'm so upset as she's never expressed this before and I want her to have confidence in her appearance. Not sure what to do now or whether to speak to the hairdresser about it. Surely she should know that this isn't a nice way to describe a little girl's hair, or even a neutral description of colour. It's an insult right?

RagamuffinCat Tue 28-Mar-17 16:34:50

I describe my own hair as mousey. I haven't heard it being used as an insult before, just as a colour. I suppose it would depend on the tone when the word was used though?

ImsorryTommy Tue 28-Mar-17 16:42:06

No. It's a not blonde but not brown sort of inbetween description.

MrsELM21 Tue 28-Mar-17 16:43:39

I don't think it is an insult, but just quite old fashioned. I'm not sure that there's much you can do other than reassure your daughter...

lemontoast Tue 28-Mar-17 16:44:12

Yes, l've heard it used as an insult.
Mouse -y brown sounds like a not quite there colour.
Like: "My natural colour is mouse-y brown , so l've gone blonde" or something... smile

Giraffe31 Tue 28-Mar-17 16:44:29

My mum used to call my hair mousy when i was younger and i loved it.

littlefrog3 Tue 28-Mar-17 16:44:35

Do you have a picture?

(Not from the front obvs) but from the back, so we can see?

ButtonBoo Tue 28-Mar-17 16:44:38

I can see how it can come across. A bit dull and 'plain Jane' (no offence to any Janes) sounding isn't it. I agree that the tone would swing it for me. She could've just settled for light brown. Which is pretty much mousy.

Enidblyton1 Tue 28-Mar-17 16:44:56

Mousy is a very common natural hair colour. I suppose you could call it dark blond or light brown, but does it really matter what it's called. Your reaction to it is more important. Reassure your DD that she has lively hair (like the vast majority of the population who also have mousy hair)

Etymology23 Tue 28-Mar-17 16:45:18

I always think mousy is an insult as well, but I may well be BU too! Hate it if people say my hair is mousy.

SafeToCross Tue 28-Mar-17 16:45:22

Better to say 'its just a way of describing lovely light brown hair'. Not one to talk to the hairdresser about I wouldn't think - its a common descriptor and I am sure she did not mean it negatively. Better for your dd's self image to help her 'move on' rather than dwell on such worries or thoughts, and to learn to cope with other people describing her in every which way - self confidence is not built on what other people say or don't say (apart from ones parents of course, who can build confidence with their unconditional love), but on knowing you are ok (in ways other than looks) regardless of what some other people think or say about how you look. Me and my dds have the same colour hair, btw, and I tend not to call it mousy, but wouldn't be massively offended if someone did. Possibly a bit - there are more tactful phrases.

Jamhandprints Tue 28-Mar-17 16:48:39

I'd take it as an insult too. I think you should write a complaint to the hairdresser. She probably thought she was describing the colour but it's not a nice description. X

8DaysAWeek Tue 28-Mar-17 16:49:10

YANBU - it may not be an insult but it's certainly not a compliment (coming from someone with mousey hair). No one walks into a hairdressers asking for mousey hair, but plenty walk in saying they want to change their mousey hair!

I remember when I was younger reading one of the Girls in Love books by Jacqueline Wilson (Girls Gone Bad I think) and Magda changed her hair colour for platinum blonde to mousey brown when she became withdrawn after an incident and no longer wanted to be the attractive outgoing one anymore.

WorraLiberty Tue 28-Mar-17 16:49:12

Since then my daughter's actually said that she doesn't like having 'mousy' hair and that it isn't a nice colour

Hmm are you sure she didn't pick that up from you or your reaction?

It's a bit odd. Most 8 year olds I know would probably say, "What does mousy mean?"

And the adult would reply, "It's another way to describe brown hair".

ThoraGruntwhistle Tue 28-Mar-17 16:49:24

As a description of someones personality it would be insulting, but not as a hair colour.

CanaryFish Tue 28-Mar-17 16:50:32

My sister had gorgeous jet black hair when we were kids and I remember vividly going to the hairdressers once (we did not go very often) and a group of the two women doing our hair admiring her colour loudly. I initially convinced myself they were talking about me, after all didn't I have lovely golden highlights in my mouse hair. But no it was sealed when one said to me isn't your sister lucky to get that colour and not just be a shade of mouse like the rest of us.
Sure at least she took herself down with me sad

8DaysAWeek Tue 28-Mar-17 16:50:32

*Girls Out Late it was!

VestalVirgin Tue 28-Mar-17 16:51:01

It depends on context. Mice are perfectly cute little animals. But clearly, this hairdresser said it in an insulting tone.

Go to a different hairdresser next time; if this person considers your daughter's hair ugly, she might change the words she uses but won't change her attitude.

QuestionableMouse Tue 28-Mar-17 16:51:15

Hate the word and hate having it applied to me.

fourteenlittleducks Tue 28-Mar-17 16:52:09

I don't think it's an insult. It's like saying 'strawberry blonde' 'jet black' 'honey blonde' etc. Just a description of the shade. Mice aren't referred to as 'golden brown' and I wouldn't teach a child their hair is 'golden brown' unless it's an unusually golden shade, as she'll get teased if she describes it like that to other children.

Nothing wrong with having mousy brown/light brown/mid brown hair or any shade.

CaseyAtTheBat Tue 28-Mar-17 16:56:16

But clearly, this hairdresser said it in an insulting tone

Clearly nothing.
Seems much more likely OP has an issue and she's the one who made it sound bad to the child. Mousey is a very common descriptor for hair colour, its not a value judgement.
Speak to the hairdresser? And say what, "I'm very upset that you described my childs hair using a word that is very commonly used for her hair colour, how dare you"?

3littlebadgers Tue 28-Mar-17 16:57:28

I never would have thought to be insulted by it. Could it be that your reaction was a result of the value your own mum placed on being blonde when you were growing up? You were describing your daughter as a shade of blonde whereas the hairdresser described her hair as a colour other than blonde.

CaseyAtTheBat Tue 28-Mar-17 16:58:06

And btw, you shouldn't be teaching your daughter that hair is something to be happy with or proud of, its just something that grows out of the top of your head and is a very silly thing to be bothered about, especially for an 8 year old!

NassauBeach Tue 28-Mar-17 16:59:26

Total insult in my family and with friends! It's mousy... weak... as opposed to a rich gold or chestnut brown

JustT Tue 28-Mar-17 17:03:00

Light brown and mid brown sound neutral - jet, honey and strawberry sound attractive and mouse just sounds a bit yuk - I didn't actually hear the hairdresser say it, only my daughter saying that she didn't like having mousy hair afterwards - which she told me the hairdresser said, so I certainly didn't give her any negative implications. I just reassured her that her hair is a beautiful colour and it's just a description. But I do actually think it's rude and the majority of time I think people who have a very definite light or dark hair colour tend to use it in a superior way, 'my hair is jet black but yours is mouse'! Rant over!

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