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Why am I struggling to cut dd's hair short?

(144 Posts)
BlameItOnTheBogey Fri 23-Nov-12 14:21:04

DD is 2 (nearly 3). She is rough and tumble and gives her older brother a run for his money in any physical activity. She's not at all interested in dresses/ skirts and wants to be in jeans and trainers all the time. All good.

But she HATES having her chin length hair brushed. It's semi curly and knots a lot. It hurts when I brush it for her and makes her cry. She has repeatedly asked me to cut it short like her older brothers (cropped very short). I have no idea why I am reluctant to do this; I don't want to hurt her. I guess I have never seen a two year old girl with cropped hair and I worry about what people will think. I know this is ridiculous and that I my refusal to do so is down to gender stereotyping.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Would you consider cutting your young dd's hair very short?

sausagesandwich34 Sat 24-Nov-12 13:46:10

I know the dirty hair smell -bit like a sheep

however curly hair is much less oily and it takes a long time for that oil to travel along the hair shaft so it doesn't look greasy

it also doesn't smell

I have 2 dcs, one with curly hair and 1 with a slight wave

if the wavy hair one doesn't wash her hair every other day we know about it

curly once a week, no smell

EmmelineGoulden Sat 24-Nov-12 14:18:18

My two 3 year old girls have very short hair. One of them a pixie cut, the other a short bob. The have the shortest hair of all the girls in their nursery class. They do get mistaken for boys most of the time. When it's other kids who won't accept their assertions that they are girls (this happened a fair bit at the playground until they started choosing pink wellies etc., but not in more controlled settings like nursery) they do dislike it.

But they don't cry everyday because of it. So I'm sticking with short (though the pixie cut is going - it really doesn't look very pixieish, just a mess).

I find it amazing in this world where the merest hint of physical chastisement is so strongly rejected by so many parents, that the idea of a three year old being made to wince or cry from pain every morning (which even with well "managed" longish hair appears to be the case for a lot of girls) is seen as just fine. It really isn't. It's vile to think it's OK for her to hurt so she conforms to an image of femininity.

MooncupGoddess Sat 24-Nov-12 14:48:19

I had a short back and sides, just like my brother, until I hit 9 and wanted to grow it. Occasionally I got mistaken for a boy, which would make my week. I don't remember giving any thought at all to my hair except for whinging when my mother washed it once a week.

That was in the 80s and I knew quite a few other little girls with short hair too. It is terribly dispiriting to hear that little girls' hairstyles are now so closely regimented by society.

MiniTheMinx Sat 24-Nov-12 15:46:58

I think children are quite good at knowing their own minds smile their minds have not been shaped by the thinking of others. Children are not born ready socialised to conform to gender stereotypes, that is something we foist upon them.

With girls esp I think parents need to listen, women spend a great deal of their lives trying to get people to focus on what they are saying and not what they look like!

Anyway do we really need to look at a child and quickly decide what sex it is? do other children really care that much? if they do, is that not because their parents and society have already been socialising them to think in this way?

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 24-Nov-12 17:25:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSmallClanger Sat 24-Nov-12 17:39:21

SGM, those people then come through my airport and have the irritating habit of having stuff on them of concern to my department. I'm feeling a bit sensitive to this kind of thing this week, after an incident involving lice. Bleurgh.

Not shampooing and not washing your hair are also two different things - the examples I was thinking of are mainly women with "set" hairstyles, mainly ones who smoke, and men who habitually wear hats and don't wash their hair. Also bleurgh.

Anyway, I am going to stop derailing Bogey's thread now.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 24-Nov-12 17:45:37

Mini I don't think we need to know. But plenty of children do seem to care, I assume because they've been socialized to. Doesn't stop it feeling alienating to a 3 year old if they are targetted by those children for not comforming.

On the hair washing front - I didn't use shampoo on my hair for years; it didn't 'stink' it just smelt of nothing much rather than the smell of shampoo. Left to it's own devices hair really does sort itself out.
DD has only once had shampoo on her hair when my mum used it on her and then waited until it was dry to brush it. Bouffant frizsbal doens't even get near. It took weeks, and a some applications of olive oil, to get beack to anything resembling normal.

TeiTetua Mon 26-Nov-12 17:29:24

Just by coincidence, the cartoonist Alison Bechdel was just visiting London, and look what she found at the first place she stayed:

Here's the whole story:

TeiTetua Mon 26-Nov-12 17:30:30

Damn, must remember to think ahead with links.

KRITIQ Mon 26-Nov-12 21:01:48

This article and Facebook posting by Jada Pinkett Smith about her daughter's hair is somewhat relevant I think.

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 26-Nov-12 21:56:56

UPDATE: So, I was totally convinced by those who argued here that I needed to let DD decide and that if she wanted short hair then she should be allowed to decide. I found Emmeline's post really helpful - so thanks everyone for your input.

I took her to the hairdresser's today. I told her to tell the hairdresser what she wanted (because she is very vocal on this and I wanted them to hear it from her). She said loudly: I want short hair like my brother. Me to hairdresser: she is sure of this. Hairdresser: What? Why would you want to cut your pretty hair? YOu will look like a boy? Do you want to look like a boy? DD, to her credit, remained resolute, insisting that she wanted short hair. The hairdresser was lovely but basically did not want to cut her hair short and instead cut it to ear length. DD had a fit and said repeatedly that this was not what she wanted, pointing to DS for emphasis. I backed her up and so we started again. In the end, we have ended up with something in between. It's still longer than she wanted but is definitely 'short' and it has layers in it. I think it looks great. But I also feel a bit like I have wimped out because it isn't a short, short cut that she wanted. She did proclaim herself happy with it but the whole experience - with a hairdresser who basically did not want to cut a girl's hair short - really reinforced how stuck we are in gender roles.

TheSmallClanger Mon 26-Nov-12 22:32:24

Bogey, I remember my own first drastic haircut, at 14; the hairdresser reacted in exactly the same way. Part of it is they don't want a scene, and to lose custom if the customer really doesn't like it, but part of it IS down to society's expectations about, and obsession with, women's and girls' hair.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have both expressed how I feel about it quite eloquently. Good on them, and on Willow.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 26-Nov-12 23:11:35

Well done bogey and bogey's dd. sorry it wasn't more straightforward...

madwomanintheattic Mon 26-Nov-12 23:19:57

I remember getting 10 inches cut off dd1's hair when she was about 5. You would have thought I was actually asking the hairdresser to commit infanticide, not give a kid the haircut she wanted.

That said, dd1 did refer to her new short crop as 'princess hair', so lord knows who was the winner really. grin

Let her go shorter next time, bogey. wink

reddwarf Tue 27-Nov-12 04:55:33

My ds had let his hair get longer, probably almost shoulder length, and the hairdresser reacted similarly, didn't say he would look like a boy obviously, but was ver wary of cutting it off. Not necessarily to do with entrenched gender roles etc etc, but more to do with drastic cut.

I mean I was at the hairdressers with ds yesterday, he wanted his short hair shorter (becasue the hairdresser successfully put his off getting it too short the 1st time) and even then, at the thought of cutting 2cm off, she was very cautious and tried to warn him.

YOur dd is clearly very confident and brave to not waver, but i think this is just normal hardresser caution, as they must have experienced a million times people who ask for big change who are then shocked or disappointed.

i also don't think there's anyting wrong with girls and boys looking different. There's nothing wrong with a girl looking like a girl or wanting to. I was mistaken many times for a boy and it got me down. I felt embarrassed by it.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 27-Nov-12 07:49:36

Hi Bogey - good for you and your daughter.

reddwarf - Exclusion is horrible. And I think there is nothing wrong with looking like a girl. What frustrates me is that, at three years old the acceptable marker for looking like a girl isn't being a girl, but growing hair to such a length that it will make her cry every morning. I think that a society that goes along with that idea is not one that likes girls by much.

AbigailAdams Tue 27-Nov-12 08:01:19

Good post Emmeline. I am finding it a bit odd that in the feminist section there are suggestions for beauty practices for a 2 yr old rather than the practical and sensible option of cutting it short as she had stated vociferously she wanted on a number of occasions.

Well done Bogey. And well done your DD for standing her ground. The hairdresser was a bit hmm. Now it's already short maybe next time the hairdresser won't be as reluctant to cut it to the length your DD wants.

LadyMargolotta Tue 27-Nov-12 08:40:53

BlameItOnTheBogey that hairdresser sounds very annoying.

Hope mornings are a bit less stressful now she has shorter hair.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 27-Nov-12 08:46:06

Abigail that's a bit unfair, since Bogey said from the outset that she herself was struggling a bit with balancing her daughter's choices and social norms, so those giving tips were suggesting another way to strike the balance. Also some people probably came on through Active Conversations.

SminkoPinko Tue 27-Nov-12 09:01:03

I think this is actually a perfect dilemma for the feminist topic. Sexist cultural and societal norms and stereotypes are endemic and, like it or not, and most posters here quite clearly do not, these impact on children and parents from the moment they pop out and are identified as male or female. I worry all the time about things like shaving my legs in front of my toddler daughter, putting on make up, etc. I felt unfairly annoyed with my teenage son when he,asked if I'd stopped plucking my eyebrows the other day! it was apparently a genuine query and he was quite surprised when he got a lecture about men having no right to not dictate how women look... then there's all the stuff about whether to get the pink or blue v tech camera and whether the cheap doll from Argos is too thin and if you should buy a princess dress as requested. It's all the personal as political stuff that interests me most and I have been fascinated to read about Bogey's decision making process here, the views of the hairdresser and the loveliness of the haircut.

SminkoPinko Tue 27-Nov-12 09:02:16

men having no right to dictate

AbigailAdams Tue 27-Nov-12 10:00:52

I wasn't having a go at the OP. If you look at my first post on the thread I am fully sympathetic with her and the dilemma. But the OP wasn't asking for suggestions of tangle teasers or whatever. She was asking people's thoughts on bucking a gender stereotype and how hard she is finding it. I am totally with her on that.

And suggesting beauty practices isn't striking a balance though is it Doctrine? It is maintaining the status quo, maintaining the gender stereotype when the girl doesn't want to. So at 2 yrs old she is already being influenced by the patriarchal standards for women. And I find that very sad - as I am sure the OP is too.

AmberLeaf Tue 27-Nov-12 10:27:08

I don't consider successfully [ie without causing pain] combing curly hair a 'beauty practice'

I would suggest the same advice to a parent of a boy who had curly hair.

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Nov-12 11:08:32

I have boys, both have long hair, through choice. Most hairdressers have been loathe to cut it. confused hairdressers have no such qualms about listening to boys. Seems to me that with girls it is about how they look, whereas with boys it seems it has more to do with how they behave. Which I think has implications later on.

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