6 06/30/2012 parenting

The New Business of Being a Girl

When I was heading into grade seven, I hated my hair. I also hated my body, my clothes and pretty much everything else about my appearance. I figure it goes with the territory. But back then, changing that appearance wasn’t all that much of an option. 

But this isn’t 1980: it’s a new era of girlhood. Back then, we looked up to Olivia Newton-John and Lady Di:
Today, their role models are Katy Perry and Lady Gaga:
Now there’s a whole post in here about the over-sexualized influences of pop culture on our young girls, but this isn’t it. This post is actually about hair. 
More specifically, my daughter’s hair.
Now Katy Perry and Lady Gaga might be a bit extreme, but take for example Disney superstar Selena Gomez sporting blue and purple streaks: 
Or YTV star Ariana Grande, who my girls both admire:
With images like these everywhere, is it any wonder that my girls have asked to have their hair coloured, curled, straightened, streaked and even feathered? And while my first instinct is to say, “absolutely not!” it would seem that young girls everywhere are changing their hair in ways unheard-of thirty years ago. The other girls in my daughters’ circle have had highlights, streaks of pink, blue and purple (both temporary, permanent and extensions), and feathers. Many have also used semi-permanent dyes in wild colours like orange, pink and purple.
So when my older daughter wanted to change her hair up, it wasn’t that big of a surprise. And what she wanted isn’t that surprising either. No, not blue or purple, not feathered or streaky. Just long. -er. Longer. Her chin-length locks seem to grow in slow-motion, and it seems all the girls these days have long, straight tresses.
So: extensions then. I took some time to think about it myself, and then consulted the pros at my hair salon, and settled on clip-in extensions: they’re not permanently attached to the hair so they can be worn – or not – whenever you like. They’re made out of real human hair, they can be matched to your own colour and can be curled, straightened and worn in any style. My stylist tipped me off to a local store where the salons buy their extensions and in the end, I was able to buy them for not much more than a regular haircut.
After a bit of practice, we’ve mastered putting them in her hair in under five minutes, and she’s worn a pony tail, braid, bun and lots of pretty clips. I can’t remember her loving her hair like this in – well – EVER. And in the end, although instantly-long hair was unheard-of when I was eleven, I think I love them as much as she does.
  • Chantel

    Hair is a big deal these days! It is sort of cool though to have so many options that are not “for good” lol. My 14 yr old has been asking for highlites for a while now but I am still thinking about it. Maybe I might just ease up and let her go for it!

  • Kath

    I know, Therese…she looks so different with all that hair! As for Branton, no. She was accepted but after much discussion and weighing of pros and cons we have decided it’s best for her to stay put. I would have liked her to go, but on balance it wouldn’t have been the best place for her right now. But that’s a big long story in and of itself!

  • Therese

    That explains it – when I showed my daughter the photo of yours when she got on your Facebook page, she said “that can’t be her – she has short hair!” She looks awesome. My philosophy on hair is that it will always grow back/out, so why not. However, if my oldest cuts her hair, I think I might cry!
    Can’t believe they are going into Grade 7 – might I see you in the Branton halls?

  • Kath

    Good one, Alice’s mom! She must have known you well enough to know you wouldn’t go through with it after all, don’t you think?

  • Alice

    I seem to recall around that age asking my mom if I could do something wildly different with my boring old hair – dye it purple? Mohawk? (no really, I asked) Her answer was that I was the one who had to walk around looking like that so sure, go ahead, kid. I did not, in fact, make use of that freedom, having stopped to think about that. Smart mom.

  • Jen

    Love! She looks beautiful and why shouldn’t she switch it up? I think that in our day there were many reaons but one was that most changes were permanent so the decision was a much bigger one. It is great to be able to express yourself but to change it up when the next trend comes along.
    We have had a feather here but no colours. We’ll see what comes next!

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