Mom Posts Photo of 4-Month-Old Daughter with Straightened Hair on Facebook, Sparks Outrage

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A picture of a 4-month-old baby girl with straightened hair (seemingly by flat ironing) has circulated Facebook, sparking outrage and broaching the question: How young is too young to introduce children to hair straightening and relaxers. While women, both natural and relaxed, have denounced the mother because the child is so young, my question is, how is this any different than straightening/relaxing a child’s hair at age 4 or 8 or 12 or 15? The message being transmitted from mother to child is the same: Your hair is not okay as it is and would look better if it were straight. Sending that message to a preteen girl is just as harmful as sending it to a baby (I mean, at least the baby doesn’t fully understand what’s going on!) It’s unfortunate how hair insecurities are so often passed on from black mother to child, almost like a rite of passage. Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast. When I'm not here, I'm moderating a Facebook group for black mothers called Black Moms Connect.

 

172 thoughts on “Mom Posts Photo of 4-Month-Old Daughter with Straightened Hair on Facebook, Sparks Outrage

  1. THIS IS CHILD ABUSE!! She will be reported! This put a hot iron or strong chemicals next to a four month old’s scalp. A babies skull has not even hardened and sealed like an adult. Talk about frying a brain!

    This woman I believe is worried about her infants hair and not about the safety or health of an almost newborn. I pity this ignorant black women and fear for her baby.

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  2. I do agree that this mother was probably “playing” in her childs hair like we always do. In no way am I condoning flat ironing a childs hair but “child abuse” um I don’t think this child was physically hurt in ANY way by this style. Perhaps a little squirmy but then again there is not too much difference in this, or putting a million slicked back braids adorned with beads, bows and barrettes in an infants head. Its all too much if you ask me.

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  3. Shame or whatever u r, this is not the mentality of blk women but of an ilitrate so dont hate. As for the pretty little baby, I pray her mom will stop abusing her n take very good care of her.peace

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  4. I think everyone is forgetting how delicate baby’s heads are. If Im not mistaking, babys still have soft spots at that young, and it shouldnt be a debate over condemning or condoning natural hair, but a discussion over the sacrafices to well being and the level pain women go through and put their little girls through to get the desired look

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  5. Um..maybe it’s a bad idea because of the dangerous chemicals and or damaging heat that the ‘mother’ is exposing ths baby too. Forget natural or relaxed, who cares. But, where in heck is the common sense and maternal instinct?

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  6. Nothing is wrong with straightening hair in and of itself, but this is a health issue. The baby’s mole is still open, so she is more exposed to risk than a ten yr old.

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  7. While I agree that this is not smart! Using harsh chemicals on a child is terrible! However, I wish we would stop arguing about what adults do to THEIR own hair. I am natural because my hair is manageable and I like it this way but I do not condemn people who straighten their hair. Not everyone finds managing natural hair easy. It should be their choice. Other people with natural hair often frown at me because they ASSUME my hair is relaxed because my natural curl pattern is very loose especially when I use detangling conditioners. I don’t broadcast that it is natural because it is my business! I am just sick of people finding reasons to segregate themselves! Enough already! Let’s applaud any woman if they are happy and healthy!

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  8. i agree with the writer straightening a baby’s hair is no different than straightening a 5 or 6 year old’s. But as long as you’re not doing it all the time/making it permanent I don’t think either is problematic… but that’s just it. “I think”. That’s just my opinion and I am not going to impose my opinion onto someone else.

    I think we invest way too much time and energy into whether hair is in its natural state or not. we segregate – girls with perms are judged by the natural sisters. naturalistas are judged by other cultures and girls with perms. the goal should be healthy habits – in the way we treat our hair and the way we view ourselves. It’s also about what works best for your lifestyle. Natural hair takes a lot of time, energy and love. Some people don’t think it’s worth it so they make alternate choices. For some people, using flat irons/curling irons is time consuming. for others – perms are too expensive and permanent.

    I have friends who have bone straight hair and like to curl it every day with a curling iron. that’s no different than a woman with naturally curly hair that wants to flat iron it to get it straight. both actions can cause damage to your hair if it’s done too often/permanent but we view the latter as much more problematic. now – my personal opinion is there’s nothing wrong with changing it up every once in a while. i permed my hair for 21 years then made the decision it wasn’t for me anymore… around the same time that i said processed foods and a non-active lifestyle wasn’t for me either. been there done that…. i’ve made (what i now see) are bad decisions for my hair and body. at the end of the day – it’s none of my business what other people decide to do with their body. do what makes you happy.

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  9. I think we pass on other messages that our hair is not okay other than perms and straightening. Everywhere you look there’s women doing constant length checks, obsessing over another’s regimen, or curl pattern.I see plenty of comments like “I wish I had your hair” or “Can i give these hair growth pills to my 2 year old” Straightening your hair (if you think it is self-hate) is not the only bad message.

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  10. I think the outrage in part also comes from the worry of burning the baby in the process of straightening her hair. The message is a concern, but to me it comes second to the risk factor.

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  11. I think and feel that 4 months is too young as well as 4 years old. Myself personally I didn’t get my hair relaxed till I was 7 because I hated to get my hair straightened. But now that I have a little girl of my own I’m going to leave it up to her if she wants to relax her hair or not.

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  12. I don’t agree with straightening the baby’s hair , but I don’t understand why it isn’t okay to straighten a child’s hair at 5 . I mean then cutting a child’s hair into a “mushroom cut” or a ” pixie cut” should be frowned upon . Some kids have very thick and literally unmanageable hair . How many black women remember getting their hair hot combed ? Hot combing made the hair easier to maintain . I don’t think there is nothing wrong with having permed hair . I am completely natural and I used to get relaxers every 3 months . I think relaxed hair is easier to maintain .

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  13. I think this entire conversation reflects poorly on blacks as a culture. All black girls DO is talk about hair. I’ve never experienced such obsession about hair with other cultures as I’ve experienced with blacks. So much judgement; about whether hair is processed or not. “good hair” vs healthy hair. Blacks girls with NO hair are always judging black girls with long, fine hair; so they encourage that they “cut it off”. Too much discussion on healthy hair when you need to focus on healthy BODIES and MENTAL health.

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  14. Honestly I see no issue here. A mother can style her child’s hair as she pleases. There’s no chemical danger. I curled my Lil ones ponytails because her hair was so super straight.
    Why not? It’s not defining, merely presenting an option. We all know that as tweens we experiment with our appearance, so why not demonstrate alternatives, as parents, that we like and are familiar with? Then, they’ll know more about it and there’s less risk of injury or hair loss.
    Just my angle.

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  15. My daughter is 21 years old now. I started straightening her hair with heat at age 2. I did this because like myself she has thick, coarse hair that was extremely hard to manage. On top of that she she is very tender headed.I did this until I burned her forehead. It wasn’t long before I texturized her hair. This gave us both some relief. 4 months is way too young. My daughter was born with twice the hair in length and density as that baby. So my point is I did it out of necessity not because I felt like straight hair is better than our natural hair.

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