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?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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

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Rachel R.
Okay I’m really ticked off now. Lets get to the point. Lets get it out on the table and YES someone is going to get mad what I have to say. All the this maddness starts at home. It begins with our grandmothers and they’re mothers before them which has been handed down generation after generation that our hair is ugly. If the mothers and fathers of the 21st century can not teach there children to love the beauty that is within them. Who do we keep blaming? Sorry but this pic really upsets me. Thats only a baby and… Read more »
J

I totally agree!

AfroKisses
While my child’s(when I have one) hair will not be straightened as long as it is my choice and not hers. Straightening a baby’s hair definitely isn’t exactly the same as straightening an older child’s and while I am an advocate for natural hair and don’t think that it is sending a good message when you say that a child’s hair MUST be straightened. I think it is pushing it to accuse a mother who straightens her child’s hair of being a bad mother(which I have seen done more than once online). My mom gave me my first relaxer at… Read more »
Rain

This is just wrong one false move, one slight sway of her head and she could have had a horrendous accident that could have fatally injured that child.
You seriously have issues if you feel the need so desperately to straighten your 4 month old baby’s hair you can bring a flat iron/hot comb or whatever appliance used to your baby’s head. There are more important things that need to be considered at that age then her texture. *I’m appalled!*

Melissa

While I don’t condone straightening a baby’s hair…I do have a different take on it. Some women treat their daughters like little baby dolls. They want to dress them up, do their hair, put nail polish on them, etc. I think she viewed it very innocently. I know some moms who are quite over zealous braiding their daughters hair to the point where the baby is already suffering from thining/receding edges…and I think to myself “really?!” Ultimately everything you do should be in the best interest of your child.

Elle

That’s what I thought at first – but I didn’t really think about the baby not sitting still and the high potential of burning her child (I’m rarely around babies). I’m glad the baby is okay and this woman needs mandatory parenting classes.

Phanie

There are many people who need parenting classes for many reasons. What makes you sure she needs it? Though we may think of it as silly for her to have done that, it’s understandable to want to do your children’s hair in different ways. I am going to assume she took ad much precaution as someone braiding a child’s hair. Just because you see one small thing happen doesn’t mean you rule that person out as a parent. Can you imagine someone continuing on straightening as they burn their child’s head every two seconds? Highly unlikely.

Rose Red

Another apologist and another lacking empathy for an innocent baby you are making excuses dang even black women don’t have love for an innocent baby!

Zanthe

Now you are just trolling. How is one woman’s decision to look at the mother’s possible motivations objectively a sign that black women here don’t have sympathy for and empathy with this baby?

Imeena

This is inappropriate. The mother needs to reevaluate what she’s doing before child services come in. I don’t really care about hair at a older age, straight, curly, coarse. It all depends on the person and who they are. I say a person’s hair can also tell a lot about a person. But this… Is just unforgivable.

coffeeandfingernails

I agree with others–this is more fundamental than the question of whether you choose to alter your child’s hair texture or not. I remember my scalp being burned with a flat iron even after I was old enough to sit still. On an infant, I can’t imagine taking that kind of risk. Her response to the friend who asks whether it’s safe “It’s just her hair” is maybe the most disturbing part–like she didn’t ignore the risks, it just didn’t occur to her that there were any.

Naturalallday
I don’t think it right at any age. When i was young I also fell victim to society feeling like my hair needed to be relaxed to fit in. I also fell victim to damaging my hair. I am now a responsible adult with a 15 year old of my own. And she also has never had a relaxer and I let her know everyday of life that she is a beautiful, intelligent, strong young African American women. However she is the reason that I am natural today how can I explain the importance of being yourself, and being happy… Read more »
LivinLifeNapturally

I get the distinct feeling that this “mother” is very young. Not that it is an excuse but her complete ignorance of how inappropriate this is or how dangerous this is leads me to that conclusion. Who even thinks to do things like that?

Rhea

If it was all that, they have baby wigs that babies use in those pageants. But really this is just silly. Nobody is checking for a baby’s hair. Some babies her age don’t even have hair! People aren’t gonna be like, “Wow your baby is so cute, but WHOA her hair is NAPPY!” Momma needs professional (psychological) help.

Blacgirlost
First, my mother straightened (pressing comb) and later permed my hair since I was…well, before I can even remember. But at least from five years forward. I don’t recall receiving the message that my hair wasn’t ok. My mother took excellent care of my hair until well into adult hood. I mad the decision to go natural and later to perm and then back to natural. All with her hands to care for it. I dare to say, she took better care of my hair than of me and I never received the message that my hair wasn’t “good enough”.… Read more »
NikNak

Your mom may not have verbally said your hair was bad, but the fact that she was using a permanent relaxer on your hair from before you can remember is an indirect way of saying she prefers your hair straight than nappy. It’s not her hair, yet she relaxes it for what purpose? It would be one thing if this was really about style but when you use a permanent method to alter someone’s appearance that means you are trying to CHANGE someone.

Rose Red

People like you are part of the problem that BP have you showed zero sympathy with that baby, I feel sorry for you!! That is a clear cut case of child abuse.

Zanthe

You need to calm down. Sounds like you’re misinterpreting what Blacgirllost said. Looks like she doesn’t agree with straightening a baby’s hair from the above comment.

zimza

Thanks for your honesty Blackgirlost. I also think that the mother’s decision was foolish and unwise, but beyond that, we cannot judge her.

Barbara

Of course we can, I’m JUDGING all day and all night, where did this idea that no one can be judged no matter what their actions ummmm since when? I can’t mete out justice but damn right I’m judging this imbecile.

EG

Let the church say AMEN

zimza

The church says, in fact Jesus says, “DO NOT JUDGE… JUDGEMENT IS MURDER.” Jesus is the wisest man who ever lived and I’ll take his advice and not yours.

Zs
The church says, in fact Jesus says, “DO NOT JUDGE… JUDGEMENT IS MURDER.” Jesus is the wisest man who ever lived and I’ll take his advice and not yours.” No. He didn’t say judging is murder the Bible says hating someone in your heart is like murder-which makes sense as that tends to be the first step-( 1 John 1:15). And being angry in itself isn’t even a sin (Ephesians 4:26). It is possible to be upset by an act and not hate the person. Besides, Jesus did plenty of judging and tells us to. John 7:24 says to judge… Read more »
Dani

Thank you. I’m so tired of seeing people misuse the Scriptures proscribing judging.

EG

Nice to meet someone who knows their stuff.

EG

If you think I will ever be swayed by a fake christian like yourself you are sadly mistaken. Some of the worst people I have ever met go to church every Sunday.
so like I said, LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN

zimza

Let the church follow Jesus, as one body in love, as Jesus preached.

EG

Um yeah, you can read the response above….

zimza

I would urge any christians who feel moved by what has happened to this child, to pray for her rather than judge her mother.

Mara112375

What the heck for? You’re telling me her hair was so coarse it couldn’t be managed any other way? And the child looks foolish with that bone straight hair. What message are we sending her at such a young age? I wanna see a pic of the mom. Hope she’s not one of those sad individuals with Blond hair and blue contant lenses.

Fabienne

The message? What about the health of a baby? What kind of mother brings the heat of a straightening iron or worse, the chemical burn of a relaxer, to their child’s scalp? Social Services, anyone?

Alisha

+1

trist

-1 Guys you guys are totally being ridiculous. You guys must be upset because yall didnt have the choice to have natural or straight hair as a baby and taking it out on the babys mom. What difference does it make

AC

THAT IS A 4 MONTH OLD BABY! That baby’s brain could be permanently damaged for life, AND if she was older we could talk about her self esteem etc but it’s not just the hair it’s what’s under it, smh. Was your comment really even a question?? ….I can’t.

Carol

The mother has some real self hate issues!! Poor baby.

Erin

This is some truly ridiculous ish! And some people wonder why they have a hard time growing and maintaining healthy hair. SMH! This looks like child abuse.

Landry

My concern is the safety of the child…4 month old babies are active and I don’t know how it could be safe to use heat on a child that is constantly moving around. Also, at only 4 months old, the baby is way too young to have her hair looks this. She is a cute baby, but her hair looks ridiculous!

lovelylauz02

Looks like child abuse to me. Why can’t parents take a “do no harm” oath to their children? Does the baby really look asthetically better with that hair?

Melley

I agree. I’m sure the baby’s hair looked much better before the mother decided to straighten it. I don’t even know how the baby sat still through all of that, but this mother has clearly made a bad decision.

Candice

I agree. Definitely child abuse. If that woman got arrested for taking her nine year old into a tanning bed, then I think straightening a 4 month olds’ hair definitely falls into the same category of abuse.

sat
Yet, a lot of white mothers bleach their children’s hair because they have been brainwashed to believe that blonde hair is superior to their natural mousy-brown hair. Jackie Evancho’s hair, the 9yr. old girl from the talent show, has had her hair bleached practically white. You see this over and over with whites who cannot even remember their hair color they have been bleaching for so long. The first thing that happens when white women, especially when they go on TV, is that they get out the bleach-Shawn Johnson , the gymnast, bleached every bit of color out of her… Read more »
sparkspop

Well said. Thank you.

EG

That was a long but worthy read. I thought I was the only one who noticed the BS with cartoon and kids shows. I let my son know early on that beauty does not equal white/light skin.

Stayls

No excuses. That was a Horrible decision on the mother. What was she thinking?

Toya

That is rediculous!!! Come on now, the baby’s hair folicles haven’t even fully developed yet. This is an act of bad parenting. I wonder how old the mother is? Is straight hair REALLY that important? What’s the benifit of straight hair on a child that young, I mean at 4mons it can’t be that hard to comb.

wow

How low can people get? The baby’s real texture comes through after 1 so no one should be doing that so young. That is plain ignorance with Google at your fingertips that is really shocking.

Ntrlbeauty

This is clearly a case of “child endangerment” and less of a self-esteem issue. The babies skull is still developing, the hair follicles are still producing, and on top of that most of an infants hair is “lanugo” not the babies actual hair. I question the age of the mother, the depth of her intelligence, and her ability to parent. I’m sorry, but this mother should be arrested, because clearly this is the beginning of some serious abuse, which I guarantee will snowball into something far worse, of someone does not intervene.

Thick Nigerian Hair
“…my question is, how is this any different than straightening/relaxing a child’s hair at age 4 or 8 or 12 or 15?” Is that a real question? Biology would answer that. “Fontanelles are soft spots on a baby’s head which, during birth, enable the bony plates of the skull to flex, allowing the child’s head to pass through the birth canal. The ossification of the bones of the skull causes the fontanelles to close over by 18 to 24 months.” ~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontanelle This means the protective barrier–the skull–is not covering everything and not fully ossified. I’m sure that this area has… Read more »
Sue

Thanks for that extra info. I hadn’t considered the development of the brain at this age. Very un-necessary at this age.

I’m with @Iva as well, the post is also worded in a way that baits people for comments–guess it worked.

treece

Exactly @ thick Nigerian hair. This has nothing to do with esteem, but protection of the brain. I know Jamaican’s who don’t cut a baby’s hair until they are 2 because they don’t want to hurt the baby’s tender head.

This is just wrong.

Iva
Agree with Thick Nigerian it is completely different. I think the guideline for boys getting a haircut is one year old because by that point they have begun to be able to sit still. A 4, 8,12, or 15 year-old can sit still a four month old clearly can’t. I think the mother’s an idiot and possibly a dangerous one for doing that to her child but trying to make this a larger debate for the purpose of comments is a little disingenuous. In no way do I support giving a 4 or 8 or 12 year old a relaxer… Read more »
queofques32

So agree as well .. well said Thick Nigerian this hve nothing to do with it being a message. It’s about the health & well being of an baby still considered infant. This is real cause some of the ppl (fb)members are listed in the comments. Wow !!

Coco mane

This is the result of ignorance!! Clearly this mom does not have the tools to raise a child which is the ultimate issue of the article. I wonder what else she’s done to this child other than straighten her hair!!

trist

Calm down its just hair. What difference does it make from a 3 or 4 year old getting their hair straight. The childs hair has nothing to do with good parenting or not. Dont be upset because your mom ruined your hair at a young age

Lin

“its just hair”

omg r u srs rn

This isn’t even about the hair; it’s about the fact that a four month old baby had that done to her. She obviously isn’t even close to being old enough to have chemicals/heat that close to her hair, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

No need to be catty.

MsXpat

If this is a real pic and the hair was actually straightened whether it be by chemical or heat, 4mths is way to young. What’s the rush why the need to put this sweet young child through this?

NikNak

Because her baby’s naps were offending her. Duh! How she’s supposed to go out with a nappy-headed baby on her hip? What will people think? You know us Blacks have to hide the defect that is our nappy hair.

:sarcasm for you people who can’t detect it without tone:

merry

i’m sorry for that baby.

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