When talking about a girl’s body image, you have to go back. Waaaaaay back. All the way to the early years. Because a child will remember if people noticed her and whether they said nice things or a plethora of backhanded compliments. You know the ones.
“Oh she’s as skinny as a beanpole!”
WHAT THE HELL IS A BEANPOLE???
“She eats just like a bird!”
THAT’S CAUSE YOUR EGG SALAD HAS SHELLS IN IT, LADY!
Thankfully what I remember hearing is comments about my hair. I had long strawberry blonde hair and strangers would often comment to me or my mother how beautiful it was. They also commented occasionally on my freckles, which when you’re 6 are adorable. I can’t say the same at 28 because now I only have them on my arms and they’re called moles.
Back to my hair. On nights before big school days, my mom would often braid my hair in two pigtails. Then one or both of my older brothers would grab hold of the braids, making motorcycle noises as they “drove” me screaming around the house.
The next morning, my mother would help me get dressed in some sort of skort or jumper, as that is all my closet consisted of. Then she would take out the braids and begin brushing my hair.
Then she would brush even more…
and brush just a little bit more…
until my hair was the equivalent of one of those static electricity balls you see at science fairs.
And that is why I held the title of Miss Midwest Afro Queen, circa 1991.
Tell me your thoughts! What comments did you hear growing up?
What fashion choices make you happy instagram wasn’t around then?
Should my mother be allowed to touch anyone else’s hair?