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 with… 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 dif­fer­ent… 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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