Hair

Dear Black Women: Toddlers Don’t Need Hair Extensions!

Written by Penelope Farthing

I love YouTube and probably spend way too much time on there. From book reviews to makeup tutorials, there’s something for everyone. The algorithm recommended the linked video and even though it was short, I found it highly troubling.

If you didn’t watch, it features an adorable little girl, probably barely 2 years old, getting her hair done by her mother. What’s wrong with that? Well, she’s getting crochet extensions put in. As a toddler. And me being me, I see subtext in everything so I had to write about it. Before we continue, let me just say I’m not a mother yet. If that means that I have no place to speak on these things, I understand your opinion. But, I want the best for my fellow black women and girls, and a lesson could be learned from this, so I felt I needed to say my piece.

What was so wrong with the video? Let’s get into it.

  • The baby’s hair is going to break off.

I understand that it can be difficult to style natural hair. But this is a BABY. You shouldn’t have to style anything! Slap some moisturizing lotion and a little bow clip on there and call it a day. You can see in the video that there’s a fair amount of pulling, which will no doubt lead to alopecia in the not too distant future. Also, what on earth does a BABY need EDGE CONTROL for?! And after displays like this, we wonder why we “can’t grow hair”, are chronically edgeless, idolize women with type 3a curls and complain when our 4c hair doesn’t do what theirs does, or don’t know what to do when we go natural later in life.

  • She’ll internalize that her own hair isn’t “good enough”.

If this toddler is already in the hairdresser’s seat at her young age, I can almost guarantee that she’ll still be there as she gets older. Will she get the chance to know her own hair and appreciate her natural beauty, without the add-ons?

After a bit of snooping I found this girl’s older sisters, who also braid hair. I suspect that all three of them will end up dealing with some hair struggle, whether physical (growth issues over time) or emotional (feeling incomplete without the added hair), in the future, and the blame for that falls squarely in the mom’s lap.

Similarly, the internalization of hair-hate happens when moms bring their young daughters to the hairdresser for their first relaxer while they are still very young. With all the chemicals laden in those products, relaxing should be eliminated for grown women, much less developing children…

  • The adultification of young black girls isn’t going anywhere.

    Little Jaxsyn is rocking hoops and studs. I have never seen double lobe piercings on a baby before this video. Toddlers get into all sorts of things, what if the earring got caught on something and took the ear with it? I shudder to think.

    These “grown” styles don’t let little girls be little girls. This then contributes, in part, to rampant stereotypes that are flung around, like being “fast”. In my investigation, I ended up watching the baby’s older sisters in a video, and they’re super cute too. However, they (at 8 and 10 at the time of the video’s recording) are modeling typical YouTuber behavior (asking for likes and subscribes, follow us on our socials), which I feel is inappropriate for girls their age. I really hope they are not allowed online without adult supervision, for their safety.

  • The mother is modeling poor habits herself

The mother of these girls is no doubt talented, and has taught her older children a valuable skill (hair braiding) that can be very lucrative when they are of age. But watching their mother add hair to a baby’s scalp (and adding hair to their own scalps) is surely not a great message to impart. Not to mention, mom is obese, too. Mom’s heart might be in the right place, but her priorities are not. More attention should be paid to modeling healthy grooming habits, rather than giving her toddler a can of Country Time lemonade and Snak Cakes (at the 0:40 mark) as she gently snatches her baby’s edges out for the sake of a hairstyle.

I would love to hear what you all think of this. Am I overreacting or is this behavior reason for concern? Drop a line in the comments and let us know.

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