A Hairy Story

403250910_8bc0c91efcI came across this story on Mom Logic today about whether or not chemical hair straightening is okay for an 8-year-old. I don't think I even brushed my hair at that age, so to me this seems just absurd. But the age to start primping keeps getting younger and younger, so maybe I shouldn't be too shocked.

What do you guys think? Is it safe- and even sane- to let young girls go to such lengths to change their appearance?

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  1. by Terra

    On February 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I say no way. I think that’s a little over the top. Second grade is way too young to start letting your child be concerned and going to expensive and desperate measures to look differently. That’s just crazy!

  2. by Tiffany

    On February 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    This is ridiculous. No wonder our girls have such low self esteems these days!!

  3. by Andrea Reynolds

    On February 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    NO NO NO!! That’s ridiculous! At that age, about the most I’d let her get away with would be one of those little clip on pieces of fun colored hair (like pink or blue) for some weekend fun playing dress up. We shouldn’t teach them so young that they need to alter the natural beauty that they are!!! Makeup, hair dye and (don’t gasp) ear piercing should wait until at least early teens. And if you can get them to wait beyond even that- go for it!! We really need to work on showing young girls to value who they are- as is!!! Naturally wonderful people!!

  4. by Melanie

    On February 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I am totally against this, but not at all surprised. We are asked all the time if we curl our daughter’s hair. She is 2!!!! I use no tact in telling them they are crazy!

  5. by B

    On February 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    No brainer…should I put harsh chemicals on my child’s hair and scalp? Uh, no! What next…breast implants and nose jobs for 10 year olds?

  6. by Christi

    On February 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I think it’s a bad idea. Kids that age are too young to need unnecessary exposure to more chemicals.
    Between this and the toddler-pageant series on TLC, I really wonder why we’re in such a hurry to make little girls look older faster.

  7. by Jennifer

    On February 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    It’s just feeding into the idea that women must be perfect or they suck.

  8. by Pat

    On February 6, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I don
    t think is right to have girls straighten their hair so young, BUT there are other methods that are not permanent like the Brazilian eratin treatment which is Protein Based that is a “Healthier option”

  9. by Kara

    On February 6, 2009 at 9:34 am

    *shrug* Obviously this is not going to be a popular opinion around here, but I got a perm when I was 8 and I don’t think it did any last harm to my self esteem, I just wanted to look like Shirley Temple and Nellie Olsen. This is really not a new phenomenon, my mom used to have her hair permed all the time when she was a kid. I’d be ambivalent about it only from the chemical stand point.

  10. by Natalie

    On February 6, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I also got a perm when I was 8 and wasn’t harmed by it. It was fun to do, my mom was getting her hair permed at the same time. Every kid is different and you just have to know your child. If there is a self-esteem issue then probably not a good idea.

  11. by Kath

    On February 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I’m sure this will be instantly offensive to some people, but I’m sure all of these reactions are from White people. Black girls have been getting their hair chemically relaxed for a long time. I think that we need to teach Black girls that their hair is beautiful however it grows, but the truth is that wider American society does not see it that way.

  12. by Gabrielle

    On February 6, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Obviously this article and these comments are based on a caucasian audience. The reality is, that many young black children have their hair straightened in order to “fit in” with what society says is “normal” and “right” so that they won’t be “different” from their peers. While I would rather see the natural curls, afro, or straight hair on any child white or black. I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with chemically treating children’s hair so long as it’s done responsibly and not too often.

  13. by Jenna

    On February 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I was just thinking the same thing, Kath and Gabrielle. I also think there’s a larger hair culture with black women (and men!) anyhow (think about all the fabulous braiding and cool techniques, even ones that don’t include chemical straightening, etc.)
    Not that white folks aren’t also into their hair.

  14. by The Gang's All Here!

    On February 7, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I tend to agree with the majority of the posters here. I am opposed to it! First, that seems way too young to have the chemical exposure. Their scalps and skin are still so sweet and soft and untouched at that age.
    Second, I also agree with most of the posters in that this is just too young to be pursuing what culture says is beautiful. Why are we pushing our kids to grow up so early? Why do we feel the need to push our kids through stages of development or to let culture influence their stage of development? Why are we not preserving, cherishing, and nurturing their innocence (of all things: play, style/dress, technology, ideology, relationships, etc.) for as long as possible?
    Finally, why do we allow the pressure from society to tell us what is right or normal? I’m so sad that other ethnicities feel as if they have to chemically alter their hair to fit in with their peers – at any age. Niave, I know. But still bothered by it.
    That said, I don’t have any answers! Just a lot of questions as I’m entering this stage of life with my pre-teen daughter. And a newly adopted Chinese daughter.
    And I have been “guilty” of chemically altering my hair. But only as an adult.

  15. by The Gang's All Here!

    On February 7, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I tend to agree with the majority of the posters here. I am opposed to it! First, that seems way too young to have the chemical exposure. Their scalps and skin are still so sweet and soft and untouched at that age.
    Second, I also agree with most of the posters in that this is just too young to be pursuing what culture says is beautiful. Why are we pushing our kids to grow up so early? Why do we feel the need to push our kids through stages of development or to let culture influence their stage of development? Why are we not preserving, cherishing, and nurturing their innocence (of all things: play, style/dress, technology, ideology, relationships, etc.) for as long as possible?
    Finally, why do we allow the pressure from society to tell us what is right or normal? I’m so sad that other ethnicities feel as if they have to chemically alter their hair to fit in with their peers – at any age. Niave, I know. But still bothered by it.
    That said, I don’t have any answers! Just a lot of questions as I’m entering this stage of life with my pre-teen daughter. And a newly adopted Chinese daughter.
    And I have been “guilty” of chemically altering my hair. But only as an adult.

  16. by The Gang's All Here!

    On February 7, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I tend to agree with the majority of the posters here. I am opposed to it! First, that seems way too young to have the chemical exposure. Their scalps and skin are still so sweet and soft and untouched at that age.
    Second, I also agree with most of the posters in that this is just too young to be pursuing what culture says is beautiful. Why are we pushing our kids to grow up so early? Why do we feel the need to push our kids through stages of development or to let culture influence their stage of development? Why are we not preserving, cherishing, and nurturing their innocence (of all things: play, style/dress, technology, ideology, relationships, etc.) for as long as possible?
    Finally, why do we allow the pressure from society to tell us what is right or normal? I’m so sad that other ethnicities feel as if they have to chemically alter their hair to fit in with their peers – at any age. Niave, I know. But still bothered by it.
    That said, I don’t have any answers! Just a lot of questions as I’m entering this stage of life with my pre-teen daughter. And a newly adopted Chinese daughter.
    And I have been “guilty” of chemically altering my hair. But only as an adult.

  17. by anonymous

    On February 7, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    On my first birthday, my mom and grandma PERMED my very fine, naturally blonde hair. Unfortunately, I was born with stick-straight hair that has absolutely no body or oomph and my mom was determined to do something about it. Now that I have my own child, I am absolutely horrified at the thought of chemically altering her hair. She has hair very similar to mine, but other than to change things up for special occasions, we keep her hair straight. I think we’ll stick with foam curlers until she is mature enough to make the decision for herself.

  18. by Emma

    On February 9, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Like most of the posters I’m completely opposed to this! Eight is far too young to be worrying about looks but I also think the same goes for pre-teens. I hate that our society is so caught up in whats right and wrong and what they think is “beautiful” and its sad that children are being dragged into it.

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