Childrearing

There’s A Reason Some Boys With Long Hair ‘Look Like Little Girls‘

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shutterstock_139164509I have never been a fan of little boys with long hair. This has absolutely nothing to do with sexism and the way that a little boy should or should not look, but I personally do not like the way it looks, at all.

Unfortunately, if I had seen blogger Jennifer Canvasser’s young, adorable, long-haired son in real life, I might just have been one of the people who judged him, even though she has a heartbreaking reason for keeping his hair long.

According to Jennifer, her son is often mistaken for a little girl. Strangers, friends, and family ask the question, “Why is his hair so long?”

Very few people understand what my family and I have been through, and that seemingly insignificant things — like a little boy’s hair — actually hold deep meaning to a mother who lost her son.

Zachary’s hair is long because Micah’s never will be. When my son Micah was born, he had a head full of thick, beautiful hair. When Micah became critically ill with necrotizing enterocolitis and end stage renal disease, he lost all of his hair. Micah went bald. Seeing Micah bald, after he had a head full of gorgeous hair, was a constant reminder of how fragile and sick he was. As Micah’s health improved, his hair grew back and thickened. When Micah’s health declined, his hair fell out and thinned.

I love this blogger’s honesty, and if she ever reads this post link back to hers, I just want to say to her: Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your difficult story, even with the huge potential for criticism and backlash. Trust me when I say that I know how hard it can be to stay open as a blogger.

If someone had asked me how I felt about long hair on little boys, I would definitely have had an opinion about it. But Jennifer has given me something to think about. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that I do not find long hair on little boys (and I’m over my high school love for greasy rockers too) aesthetically pleasing, but my opinion has nothing to do with this woman’s family.

I’m going to remember her story and think about it the next time I want to share a pointless opinion. It never ceases to amaze me that even something so small could have a deep meaning for someone. We never know what someone is going through, until we ask them.

(Image: Zurijeta/Shutterstock)

111 Comments

  1. melena gasper

    May 13, 2014 at 8:18 am

    “the way that a little boy should or should not look, but I personally do not like the way it looks, at all.”

    Uhm. It’s not about how a child should look or not look, except it is? This statement makes no sense. Kind of failing at the whole “I’m not judgey!” thing.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 8:27 am

      For my own kids. I also admitted to judging.

    • Valerie

      May 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

      I’m sorry, did I miss the memo that says she is not entitled to her own opinion? I think everyone has them and I don’t think it means she’s judging. I don’t particularly enjoy facial hair on a man but do you think I literally JUDGE people who have it? It’s a matter of personal opinion.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Perfectly said.

    • melena gasper

      May 13, 2014 at 9:03 am

      I didn’t articulate my point. You can’t say “I don’t like long hair on boys, but it’s not sexist” and then hide behind personal opinion. You’re stating you prefer a certain haircut determined by the child’s gender.

    • Larkin

      May 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      What if she didn’t like long hair on little girls? Would that be OK for her say, because it’s not the “norm”? Seems to me like it’s the existing gender stereotypes that make you think this way at all.

      Like, what about men who say they prefer long hair on women? Is that sexist, because it’s the “norm”? But then is it OK for men to say they prefer short hair on women, because it goes against gender stereotypes? It gets problematic.

    • Sarah

      May 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      I think the root is this issue is heteronormativity/homophobia more so than sexism. The point is that people don’t like long hair on boys because it’s feminine. You could go further and say that because the feminine association is negative (but isn’t it always?), it’s sexism, but at surface level I think it’s just heteronormativity and reinforcing gender stereotypes.

      And yeah, it is problematic for men to assume 1) women care what they think about our hair and 2) women should do something about it. A more on-point comparison to make would be men saying they DON’T like women with short hair, because at the root of that is men saying they don’t like women for rejecting beauty standards and behaving in a “”masculine”” manner.

    • John

      September 9, 2014 at 8:48 am

      I’m a guy. I prefer long hair on a woman because I find long hair beautiful. And to clarify, I am also bisexual and I prefer long hair on everyone. I have had long hair all my life except when I was on chemo. When I was young I was frequently mistaken for a girl and I didn’t care. One thing I learned when I was a boy was that men often became angry when it dawned on them that I was male. I learned that their anger was most frequently caused by their belief that I was deliberately attempting to deceive them into thinking I was a girl in order to turn them “gay.” Since to many men there is nothing worse than being gay and no worse an offense than attempting to turn them gay or trick them into being gay so they become angry and sometimes attack. I learned about this when I was 13. A man in his 30s approached me and my friends and I could see in his eyes he thought I was a girl. He said hello and I said hello back and since my voice had just changed I sounded like a teenage boy. He became furious and attacked me. I am glad I was surrounded by my friends. He accused me of trying to make him gay and then made the same accusations against a couple of my friends before storming off. Now forget about the fact that here was a man in his 30s hitting on what he thought was an under aged girl, His last words as he stormed off were “get your hair cut you faggots!” While this is the most extreme example I every experienced, I think it goes right to the heart of why many men insist boys keep their hair short. This also begs the question, how many of these men are closet pedos?

    • I Need a NeW ScreeNname

      May 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Why won’t you let melena gasper have her wrong opinions? 🙁

    • John

      September 9, 2014 at 9:11 am

      I personally feel people look more attractive and have a softer look with long hair. I won’t say feminine since I am a guy with long hair myself. When Demi Moore chopped off her hair for the movie GI Jane I was heartbroken, for about five minutes. But this does not mean I will not date a girl with short hair. My last girlfriend had hair that was too short to reach her shoulders. I simply prefer it long, it’s not a deal breaker for me. I have found most guys prefer long hair. I do realize many women keep their hair short for many reasons, most often because it requires work to take care of long hair and they are often too busy to do so.
      I will leave this with just a couple of more thoughts. First, I have found that many women have been tricked by their hair dressers into thinking that frequent hair cuts causes hair to grow faster and thicker, this is absolutely not true. The evidence most often cited is that very short hair is thicker and that is proven by how stiff it is. Very short hair is not thicker, the stiffness comes from the fact that all fibers feel stiffer when very short as opposed to when they are very long due to lack of leverage created by the longer fibers vs the shorter ones. Just try it with a piece of clothesline. Cut a one inch length of clothesline and it will be stiffer than a one foot length and therefore causes the illusion of thickness. If you are trying to make your hair thick, eat a better diet and don’t put chemicals in your hair. Hair dressers use this ruse to get their customers to cut their hair more frequently so they can make more money.
      Second, some women cut their hair short because they think it makes them look prettier. Here is the logic: If they cut their hair short it will make them look like a boy, if they look like a boy they will look more athletic. If they look more athletic they will be more attractive. If they are more attractive they are prettier. This is false logic. Short hair may be fashionable, it may be desirable for many reasons including practicality. But short hair will not make any woman prettier. Oh and fashion does NOT equal beauty. Women who cut off a long beautiful mane of hair in order to be more pretty have been duped by their hair dresser or jealous girlfriends. Most men will interpret short hair on a woman as that woman attempting to look male in order to attract females. Yes this may very well be sexist but it is also the truth. My brother’s wife had the most amazing mane of blond wavy hair down to her butt. My brother was first attracted to her due to her long hair and later fell in love with her. A few years into their marriage she chopped it all off and now her hair style is essentially a buzz cut. She sprung it on my brother by saying: “surprise, I did this just for you! Don’t you just love my new sexy style?” I was present at the time and suddenly she looked like her little brother. I thought my brother was going to faint. He was not happy but he put on a brave face and lied to her and told her she was beautiful to make her feel good. Yes she is a beautiful woman and has a great body but chopping off her mane took a lot away from her looks. If you are a woman and you truly want your hair short that is of course your choice and as I have said there are many good reasons for someone to have short hair. But be honest, you didn’t chop it off to make yourself sexier for your husband or boyfriend, you chopped it off to make yourself happy and that is a valid reason by itself. Just don’t be fooled into thinking the man in your life prefers it that way.

    • Lindsay

      May 13, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Exactly. Who gives a shit what this writer thinks about someone else’s hair? Following gender norms so blindly and judging (but pretending not to judge) is so juvenile.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

      It is not gender norms if I don’t LIKE it. Simple opinion.

    • L

      May 13, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Yes, but why don’t you “personally like it”?

      I don’t know if this is a battle worth picking, but I do get why people are bristling.

      When someone says something like “I’m not ____, I just personally don’t like ____” when they are talking about a subject with heavy socio-cultural baggage like gender (you can fill in the blank with whatever racist, sexist, homophobic, sizeist, looksist, ageist, etc stuff you want), it often reads like you have some internalized ___ism.

      Maybe it’s true that it’s just an innocent opinion, maybe it’s not. I think you made the “I’m not ___” statement something like four times in this piece, so it might be worth giving it some thought.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 9:15 am

      I believe it is an innocent opinion because I don’t have strong feelings about it – I also don’t like plain chocolate ice cream. That’s where I’m coming from.

      It’s disheartening that my opinion used to provide perspective on the original blogger’s piece takes away from what else I drew from her story. I loved her story. I don’t like chocolate ice cream or long hair on boys. That is all.

    • L

      May 13, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Fair enough, innocent opinion.

      (Boys with long hair does not compare to chocolate ice cream, though – see melena gasper above. You did not say you did not like long hair, you said you did not like long hair _on boys._)

      What is disheartening is that you felt you had to chose an “angle” to tell this story. Every other sentence was punctuated by how you dislike long hair on boys which is so very irrelevant. You have to take some responsibility as a writer for how the stories are read.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I *always* have to use an angle to tell the story. I always have to insert my opinion, which I stand by. Thank you for your comment, no sarcasm there.

    • Ursi

      May 13, 2014 at 9:49 am

      The author may have said she didn’t like long hair on boys because perhaps she likes long hair on girls and therefore a distinction is necessary. Is that sexist?

      I mean I’m not a fan of gender-coded ANYTHING but if someone said, “I only dress my daughter in dresses for special occasions, never pants, because I think girls look better in frilly dresses,” wouldn’t assume sexism. I would assume personal preference of a traditional nature. That doesn’t mean someone else’s daughter wearing pants is going to concern that person.

    • Megan Zander

      May 13, 2014 at 9:47 am

      The fact that you don’t like chocolate ice cream is SO much more worrisome to me than your personal aesthetic regarding hair.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 9:47 am

      LOL!

    • Kay_Sue

      May 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      I know. I’m reconsidering my involvement at Mommyish following that bombshell revelation.

    • momjones

      May 13, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Bethany, I didn’t realize you are an ice cream fascist. Nooooooo!

    • ;)

      May 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Yeah, it’s just an innocent opinion about someone else’s physical appearance. Just like not liking fat people or black people. Perfectly innocent.

    • ;)

      May 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Yeah, it’s just an innocent opinion about someone else’s physical appearance. Just like not liking fat people or black people. Perfectly innocent.

    • Ursi

      May 13, 2014 at 9:40 am

      By that logic you’re not allowed to have an opinion on anything if some people also have, unrelated, the same opinion on something because they are racist, sexist, whateverist.

      If someone personally doesn’t like Mexican food I don’t assume they’re a bigot If were to say, “I don’t eat Mexican food because I don’t like those people”, then, bingo, you’ve got bigotry.

    • L

      May 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Not really. Saying “I don’t like Mexican food” is just saying “I don’t like chocolate” but with the word “Mexican” thrown in.

      It’s saying “I don’t like when [one entire group of people] does something that [another entire group of people] usually does or is known for doing, but that’s just my personal opinion” that is the problem.

      If she saw one boy and said something like “oh that cut is unflattering on him” – no problem. Have to be careful making big statements about groups. Saying “but that’s my opinion” doesn’t really absolve anyone.

    • Sarah

      May 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Actually, lots of poc DO take “I don’t like _____ food” as a micro-aggression. Usually when people say that they’re just referring to the cheap Americanized version and they don’t actually know what they’re talking about at all. Mexican food you get at a chain restaurant =/= food traditionally served in Mexico, same for just about any other place. I don’t think many poc think it makes you a bigot, it’s just kind of an ignorant and generalizing statement to make to about someone’s culture. I think it can easily become offensive, like when people start talking about how Indian food looks like baby poop or smells disgusting. I don’t think people ever say it to be offensive, but I can definitely see why an Indian person would bristle at that. Just something to think about.

    • Valerie

      May 13, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Huh? Again with the judging. Jesus Christ. Having an opinion is NOT judging. It is her opinion. If we didn’t have them how would we make any decisions? I don’t prefer boys with long hair either so my son’s is short. But do I JUDGE a mother who lets her son’s hair grow longer? Hell no. God, its like people will find any excuse to be offended. Get over yourself.

    • Kelly

      May 13, 2014 at 8:52 am

      So, what kind of little boys do you prefer?

    • Valerie

      May 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

      You’re fucking kidding, right?

    • I Need a New ScreeNname

      May 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      OOOH, you made Val mad.

    • Valerie

      May 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      It’s rare but it happens. Grrrr…..

    • Kelly

      May 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      LOL I had to say it, you set it up perfectly.

    • Kelly

      May 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      LOL I had to say it, you set it up perfectly.

    • Mystik Spiral

      May 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Sick.

    • whiteroses

      May 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Yep. Realistically- some people don’t like blue eyes. That doesn’t mean much to my entire family, since we all have them. People can not like how my son looks, but it doesn’t really matter to me.

    • TngldBlue

      May 13, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Christ on a stick, it’s an opinion. My daughter has long hair because I like it, not because she has a vagina.

  2. whiteroses

    May 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I kept my son’s hair long for such a long time because I was never supposed to be able to have kids. Nearly two years later, I have to step back sometimes and catch my breath. Our hair was identical- curly, nearly blonde- and it drove the point home for me that this child was MINE.

    Some people took it as a personal affront. Mostly men, oddly. Maybe seeing my son with his hair threatened their masculinity or something, God knows. But the point is that this is one of those things that is really nobody else’s business. Don’t judge anyway, you know?

    • SarahJane86

      May 13, 2014 at 10:15 am

      I keep my son’s hair short because he got every element of his gorgeous uncle’s beautiful looks. Every.single.one, even his brown eyes, even though his father has green and I have grey, EXCEPT his beautiful curls. I WAS SO SAD.

      As an additional affront, he has a double crown, which means that there’s almost a month in the growing process he looks like super Alfalfa (Little Rascals).

      I really wanted to share a photo of the two boys, but don’t know how, but if you’d seen them both, you’d see why I was so gutted.

      AND my poor little girl, she was born at 32 weeks, and had that weird “no colour” hair most premmie babies have, all over her head, neck, back and arms. And it all fell out and grew back regular newborn baby style in red! But that all fell out and she was bald for a really long time, and now at four it’s blonde and maybe an inch below her shoulders, and all she wants is really, really long hair! At her age, I could sit on my hair, and I’m pretty sad, too, it’s so “short”.

      TL;DR My children have disappointing hair.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      May 13, 2014 at 10:25 am

      My niece has the most gorgeous curly blonde hair. I was totally hoping my kids would have curly hair, but they’re stuck with the same crappy straight (but only some places) fine hair that their parents have. Major hair disappointment over here.

    • pixie

      May 13, 2014 at 10:25 am

      I wanted long, “princess” hair when I was really young because I had blonde hair (maybe I had seen a lot of pictures of princesses with long blonde hair or something), but my hair didn’t grow very fast, even though it was healthy. I would have been super jealous if I had friends who could sit on their hair. 😉

      But then when I got to be about 13, my hair began to annoy me so I got it chopped off to just above my shoulders.

    • Shea

      May 14, 2014 at 11:01 am

      When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than long, straight hair (mine is curly, very fine, will not grow longer than shoulder blade length and when I was a preteen was completely unmanageable). My best friend had super thick, mostly straight hair that she could easily grow to her butt. I was SO jealous. I’ve grown to embrace my curls, but I still wish I could have long hair. It is simply not to be.

    • Sarah

      May 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Some masculinity if it’s threatened by a toddler’s hair, lol

    • John

      September 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

      As a man who has had long hair always even as a little boy I can tell you that I have had to deal with my fair share of criticism. First, if you want your son to retain his long hair, use only gentle encouragement, never force.
      I have found that the men who have taken it as a personal affront that I have long hair do so because their first reaction to me is that I looked female (in my younger days) and for that brief moment between catching their first glimpse of me and the realization that I am male they would often experience a sexual attraction towards me. Once they realized I was male they would become angry that I “tricked” them into being “gay” for just a moment. When I was 13 I was attacked by such a man who was in his thirties. I had my friends with me who, for the most part, also had very long hair, and so I didn’t get injured but the man kept screaming at me for trying to trick him into being gay. That was the first time I encountered seething hatred for who I am and the way I look. This is of course an extreme example but I think it illustrates one reason men react the way they do around boys with long hair. They feel their sexuality is threatened, they feel that a boy that looks feminine to them is attempting to trick them into having “gay” feelings for them.

    • whiteroses

      September 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

      That’s sad but true. I would never force him to keep long hair if he didn’t want it, at all. But it creeps me out that someone could look at my two year old and think anything other than “cute!”.

      Most of my male colleagues have long hair, and that makes a difference, I think.

  3. Ursi

    May 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I love long hair on both genders, I just love hair. Especially little boys with a lot of long springy curls.

    I think whatever the child is happy with is what should be done with hair. If it pleases Zachary and his mother to have long beautiful hair then it should be no one else’s business.

    I’ve seen the opposite too. When a friend of mine was a toddler her mother cut her hair in a short boy’s cut and it looked really cute but people were always mistaking her for a boy. Mama didn’t care, she loved the way her little girl looked and how easy it was to care for. Hair should have stopped becoming a gender-related thing long ago, IMO.

  4. Kelly

    May 13, 2014 at 8:47 am

    It’s ok if you don’t like my son’s long hair. He doesn’t exist to be aesthetically pleasing to you. 🙂

    • HaydenT

      May 13, 2014 at 11:10 am

      WORD.

    • I Need a NeW ScreeNname

      May 13, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Not even me? 🙁

    • Kelly

      May 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Especially not you. 🙂

    • Stifler Plays Tennis

      May 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Yay!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      May 13, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Everyday a new one! I love it!

    • K.

      May 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Ditto!

  5. Lackadaisical

    May 13, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I don’t object to boys with long hair or girls with short hair but I think that for my own children it would depend on the style of long and short hair, the kind of hair they have and how well each individual child can cope with being different from the rest of the class.

    One of my sons has incredibly straight and fine hair. There is no way to cut that into a boyish version of long hair and he is small and nervous that he gets bullied enough at school, especially about sexuality. I am harsh and cruel and he will probably have to be in his teens to decide to decide for himself to have long hair (so far he wants short hair so not a problem). My other son has thicker hair with a slight wave so if he were to ask for long hair at a young age I would think about it and were he my only son he might have ended up with a longer style of a boyish cut had he wanted it. My daughter would have to choose for herself to have short hair in what is generally considered a boyish style. At the moment she has a short bob and for a shorter style she would need to consistently want it for a couple of weeks before we went to the hair dressers as she is rather fickle and I suspect she would want her hair long again soon after. I apply that time to mull it over to her for all hair cuts, not just “boyishly” short. My only objection is her fickleness because my daughter is a very strong minded and confident girl who doesn’t have bullying problems and doesn’t get upset about other peoples opinions of her. Were she a boy I would be far more persuadable to give her a longer style at a young age because she can handle being different in a way that her eldest brother can’t.

    • JenH1986

      May 13, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Precisely. I have fine thin hair (just a lot of it) but I have also always been the girl who didn’t give a F what people thought about my hair. So my mom never questioned my desire to cut it short. My kid brother? As a child he was very nervous/anxious and always sought others approval (at 27, not so much, he does what he wants). So had he wanted to grow his hair out my parents would have put the kibosh on that. As for me, I don’t want to take care of long hair on ME. No kids will have “long” hair until they are old enough to properly care for it themselves. It’s a combination of that particular small human, their personality, their capability of dealing with the consequences (caring for it, missing long hair whatever) or as the writer Bethany mentioned the parents preference.

    • Lackadaisical

      May 13, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Yes, never mind sons and long hair / gender perception issues, I kept my daughter’s hair to a short bob until she went to school (4) at which point she has been given the choice of growing it longer but having to keep it tied back at school as well as needing to help me take care of it with brushing, or keeping it in a short bob which will obviously tangle less. Of course I was imposing my own preferences of hair on them as toddlers, in the same way as a mother who never cuts a toddlers hair regardless of gender, but in my case my preference was tied to my own convenience. Personally I had no desire to make a small toddler sit still as I detangled them, but when they are toddlers that is the choice that the person looking after the hair gets to make, just as a parent wanting to keep their child’s hair long for whatever reasons gets to make that choice for a kid too young to express a preference or take responsibility for maintenance.

      My own hair (as well as my daughters) is also fine, straight and plentiful, which unfortunately sometimes means that freshly washed and brushed hair in a bob can look a bit … bushy and wig like. Easy to look after though, so that is what we have. My eldest son has the fine and straight part but it is less plentiful so would be very hard to style as a long boys hair cut and would make the bullying worse, poor lad. At 11 years old he is nearly at an age where I would let him grow it long if he asked, but so far he wants it short.

    • JenH1986

      May 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

      I think at 11 it’s probably dependent on the boys he hangs out with. If they want it short, he will. Thank God that stupid Bieber hair cut went away. That was terrible. I kept seeing boys do the hair flip and was like you can move your hair with your hands (I think that about girls/women with the hair flip too).

  6. Rose

    May 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

    In the Jewish religion, you aren’t supposed to cut a child’s hair for the first 3 years of their life, it’s supposed to be similar to pruning a tree that’s still growing its formative roots. My friend’s son keeps getting called a girl, but so what? His mom knows, all the people who matter know. No big deal. We all have our reasons for the way we raise our kids.

    • libraryofbird

      May 13, 2014 at 11:06 am

      My brothers family is Jewish and my nephew has the most gorgeous hair will be turning 3 this summer and I’m sad that it will be cut. That kid can rock a sloppy pony tail better than a sorority girl.

  7. LadyClodia

    May 13, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I’m curious as to what my 5 year old’s hair would look like long because even short it has a wave to it, but even if he wanted to grow it out, which he definitely does not, I don’t think I’d want to take care of long hair on a child. I don’t like super short hair on them either, though, so it seems like we have to get their hair cut every couple of weeks. I don’t have any aesthetic opinion about boys with long hair, I’m just glad I’m not the one dealing with it.

  8. anujv382

    May 13, 2014 at 8:53 am

    long hair regarding new fashion and courage in small and big boys.Child are happy this type hair.

  9. JenH1986

    May 13, 2014 at 9:14 am

    In general I don’t like long hair on small kids. They usually aren’t capable of taking care of it (they are little so that’s cool) and they are sweaty, messy kids. So until a kid can take care of their own hair (long or short), were I a parent, I would likely keep their hair short (bobs for girls, short for boys) until I felt they were capable of keeping it clean and neat on their own. But…that could be my own aversion to long hair.

    • Elissa

      May 13, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Yeah, this. Both of my girls have sported pretty short hair, mainly because I don’t like taking care of long hair and I find that it gets rattier the longer it gets. Body autonomy be damned, their ability to choose how their hair is gets balanced with how willing I am to take care of it. Now that my eldest is 5 and can brush it pretty well on her own we’ve let it grow past her shoulders, but my 2 year old still has, at least compared to other kids in the area, pretty short hair.

      Plus retro bowl cuts on toddlers? A+ For cuteness. Certainly cuter than the stringy mass of tangles I see on so many young kids with longer hair, and less crying during the post-bath brushing too, I would guess.

    • JenH1986

      May 13, 2014 at 9:52 am

      yep. I can tell the kids who “help” but stop brushing at the shoulders. lol I dig long hair (on others) but only if it’s well taken care of. If it’s ratty or stringy or tangled up then it doesn’t look that great.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      May 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Yes! My daughter gets the short haircut when she stops the brushing….

    • brebay

      May 14, 2014 at 2:28 am

      This goes for my “shaggy son” too. It’s still short, but longish on top, and he’s a swimmer, so it gets really gross and does a Bart Simpson thing. If he leaves the house with it like that in the morning twice, I get to buzz it.

  10. Angelica

    May 13, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I miss the days when someone could have an opinion about something, anything, without being accused of being of beimg judgemental. What a bunch of overly sensitive dicks we have become.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Word.

    • Aimee Ogden

      May 13, 2014 at 10:47 am

      I’m not sure whether I agree with you guys on this one. I certainly think it’s fine to have an opinion like this – not being into long hair on boys, like you wrote about – but I think it’s always valuable to consider what you gain by sharing an opinion about other people’s looks, especially when those other people are small children. It’s one thing when it’s “I don’t like
      chocolate ice cream” or “I think beige cars are ugly and I would never
      drive one”, but when you tell someone that you don’t like how their kids
      look? Or just broadcast into the world at large that you think children
      who look like X or dress like Y are off-putting? I may be way off, but
      I thought that was the point you were driving at above, that having
      opinions is one thing but that feeling the need to essentially police the choices of others is quite another. Some things just don’t warrant my opinion, and it would be hard for someone to call me judgmental if I didn’t tell them how I was judging them.

      People don’t define themselves by their ice cream preferences or their
      vehicles, but they do have a certain view of themselves based on how
      they look or act, and the same for their children; and saying “Your kid
      has weird hair and I don’t like it” (or publicly saying to a group that you don’t know how their kids wear their hair, “Kids who have this kind of hair look weird and I don’t like it) isn’t the start of a conversation as
      it might be with ice cream flavors, it’s a micro-aggression. I guess I’d rather be overly sensitive toward other people than share my thoughts on things that don’t really matter. But I don’t get why keeping my opinions to myself makes me an overly sensitive dick, while sharing my negative thoughts on other people’s personal choices would be the virtuous choice here?

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 10:55 am

      I always love what you have to say, Aimee. 🙂 Where I was coming from in this post was sharing a somewhat judgmental opinion that ultimately doesn’t matter in light of this woman’s story.

      I didn’t even delve into my personal opinion very much besides saying that I don’t like long hair on little boys – because that wasn’t my point of the post. I don’t like long hair in the general sense on boys (or men) because I don’t like the way it looks, I would never, ever, ever judge anyone else’s children directly. I see this in the same way as saying, I don’t like that style of clothing on boys or for my kids. But overall, I really wanted to focus on how this woman’s story showed me that my opinion didn’t matter.

    • Aimee Ogden

      May 13, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Oh no, I totally get that, and the mother’s story in the post was so worth hearing about! It’s just disheartening to come in the comments after that and see agreement with someone who has written that they want to be able to have an opinion about anything without being called judgmental. Like I wrote above, no one is going to call anyone judgmental for something they don’t say, so the commenter seems to be saying sort of the opposite of what I thought your post was trying to get across; but maybe I’m misunderstanding something?

      To be fair, I am probably also “overly sensitive”, as the original commenter wrote, on this topic because we are on the receiving end of A LOT of opinions on how our kids are dressed (no one can really complain about their hair because they haven’t got any yet, haha) from family as well as drive-by comments from total strangers and (oh no here’s my opinion!) I find it frustrating that my not wanting to hear that I’m somehow ruining someone’s day by putting my daughter in a Captain America onesie makes me a dick, but the person who felt the need to tell me it’s weird and gross is just upholding the noble virtue of free speech! :b

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 11:13 am

      No, I really get and respect where you’re coming from. If I was the long-hair mom, I’d probably feel the same way about judgy opinions.

    • Ursi

      May 13, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I would be furious if I had to justify myself to people for not putting my kids in gender-appropriate clothing. Growing up, we siblings put up with a lot of crap from my mother once we reached the age where we were old enough to pick out and purchase our own clothing because she thought the new trendy styles for boys were too feminine (the era of metro and all) and she found my preference for hand-me down clothing from my male friends and cousins offensive. Even now I have no problem shooting a glare at someone who dares to ask why I’m wearing a sweater that clearly came from the men’s dept.

    • Lilly

      May 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

      just adding my 2 cents — take it as you will.

      Since the only thing people seem to be getting from this article is whether it was judgey or not then the tone or writing style missed the boat a bit. It may not have been your focus when writing it to convey your own opinion but that is all that really came through.

      I will add a personal note — I have a son with longer hair, but since it is really curly it ends being pretty ‘fro like. There are a lot of gender related comments laid against him and me as parent that make it hard not to assume that anyone’s opinion that boys shouldn’t have long hair isn’t a bit based in cis-gender bias and gender normative behaviour.

      I will cut his hair if he asks for it but at 2.5 and in a daycare class with mostly other girls (was only girls and him for about 3 months) he is in love with his hair and having ponytails to be like his friends so I indulge his desires as it harms no one. What is harmful is when adults engage in micro-aggressions to a toddler and start making him second-guess his wishes.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Really, thanks for your POV, but I do disagree. I think the comments are split 50-50, and most “hot” topics on the Internet have the good and the bad. I went out of my way to express the pointlessness of my opinion, and I firmly believe it is okay to admit feeling judgmental about a topic, especially seeing how this blogger opened my eyes even more.

      You see judgment, I see an opinion. I never attacked anyone other than saying what I do and do not like, and I also gave all of my respect to the blogger in question.

    • Kay_Sue

      May 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      I don’t think it read is judgmental, personally. Especially since the entire point (in my reading of it) was that you had an opinion and received new information, which made you look at it in a different light. That’s the opposite of judgmental, in my experience.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks for getting it. 🙂

    • Sarah

      May 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      I agree and I also think it’s important to question yourself when you have opinions that border on micro-aggressions. Personally, I know that when I have an opinion/thought that makes me second-guess whether or not it should be spoken outloud it’s because it’s actually offensive and my latent ____ism was just peeping out. Sometimes I have to really think about it, but it’s never just an innocent opinion on my part.

    • Kay_Sue

      May 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Wonderfully put. I don’t think it’s the HAVING of an opinion that’s ever a problem.

      It’s the EXPRESSING of that opinion that can be problematic.

    • ted3553

      May 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      amen. I have ended up responding to people many times “what? well, it’s true” or “you can do what you want but that’s my opinion and you asked for it”. I’m not a big fan of long hair on boys either but I’m not about to walk up to someone and tell them out of the blue because it’s none of my damn business. If you ask me, I may tell you what I think but if you disagree with me, that’s OK.

    • brebay

      May 14, 2014 at 2:26 am

      seriously, there aren’t any kids in here. It’s not like you’re saying this stuff to the kid, or even the parent. It’s an opinion, about a matter of opinion. And yellow sucks.

  11. E. Dacey-Fondelius

    May 13, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Hair length is SO incredibly superficial and irrelevant. Criticizing (even having a judgmental opinion about) a boy or a girl for a hair length (short or long) is on par with criticizing a boy or a girl wearing yellow. Who really cares.

  12. etbmm

    May 13, 2014 at 10:05 am

    This was nice. Although the comment someone wrote about people being overly sensitive dicks kind of carries the exact opposite sentiment as your piece.

  13. Joye77

    May 13, 2014 at 10:30 am

    My oldest son had long hair, mostly because he has the most beautiful shiny hair and he could get away with it. He liked it. My elderly grandmother with dementia mistook him for a girl and that was it. He wanted it cut. Sad day, all that beautiful hair. I am still jealous of his hair. I have fuzzy curly hair, yuck.

  14. blh

    May 13, 2014 at 10:39 am

    If a little boy has long hair fine, whatever, but it’s pretty stupid to be offended if someone mistakes him for a girl. And I think the previous Angelica hit it spot on, people are allowed to have opinions about things. They’re allowed to think someones hair is ugly.

  15. Buffy

    May 13, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I have to admit I don’t care about other children’s hairstyle at all.
    I just want my kid to look ok, so it doesn’t bother me if or why a boy has long hair. So I don’t need a ‘heartbreaking’ reason or any reason at all, whether your kid has long hair, short hair, no hair. A neighbour cut my hair when I was a child (7)because she didn’t like long hair on girls–well, other kids hair is not your business.;-))

  16. redzulu

    May 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I just read her post last night… Or cried through it is more like it. It was so sweet. I like how you worded this post. This is exactly what blogs should do. They should make you think about things from a different view. Even if you still don’t like long hair on boys it gave you a different view point you may not have thought of before. 🙂 This is what we need more of! Mom’s who have their own opinions, but don’t judge others for doing things differently.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 13, 2014 at 11:36 am

      Thank you!!

  17. TheGiantPeach

    May 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

    My son’s hair is curly, blonde and beautiful. It’s longish, because of the curls it is around it hits around the bottom of his earlobse but if you pull them out it’s almost to his shoulders. I know I will cry when he decides he wants to cut it. And I know he will want to cut it, because SO MANY people think that long hair on boys is inappropriate, especially since we live in the south. He gets mistaken for a girl at least once a week, and while this doesn’t bother my husband or me, I know in time it will start to bother him and the hair will be gone. [Insert big frowny face.]

  18. m

    May 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

    My husband has gorgeous shoulder-long thick black hair (he’s Chinese), and even my grandma is jealous of it. She recently said that if he cuts his hair she wants it so she can glue it on her head, lol. I love long hair on men, and I will probably keep my future kids’ hair long too (especially if they get the good hair genes!). Different strokes for different people.

    • Shea

      May 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

      I once briefly dated an Iranian guy who had the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen on a man. Just above shoulder-length, incredibly thick, deep black. Too bad it didn’t work out, if our hypothetical children had gotten his thickness and colour and my curls, they could have had great careers as shampoo models.

    • m

      May 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Lol, maybe I should add “shampoo model” as a future career option for our hypothetical kids! Though my hair is nothing spectacular, super straight and ash-colored. Luckily Asian genes should be dominant 😉

  19. AP

    May 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I’m sure this is going to put me in the minority, but I hate long hair on small kids of either gender. They need to be free to run and play and swim without worrying that their hair is getting caught on things, or falling in their eyes, or getting mussed up.

    • brebay

      May 14, 2014 at 2:24 am

      I think longer hair is easier to keep neat and out of the face of girls because you can pull it back, braid it, etc.

  20. Jill

    May 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I’ll admit I don’t like long hair on boys. I prefer military cuts. That being said, someone else’s kid’s hair is not of my concern. Even if I see little kids with ugly rat tails I wouldn’t say anything because my goal in life is not to make small children feel bad about their appearance.
    Also, as much as I don’t like the long hair when you see little boys with long curl’s like Rachel Zoe’s boy you can’t tell me he doesn’t look friggin adorable.

    • m

      May 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      “Ugly rat tails”, lol there’s one hair style I do judge. I still remember how in my elementary school there was this boy who otherwise had very short hair, but then this rat tail hanging to his butt. I didn’t say anything though, just wondered what the parents were thinking.

  21. PAJane

    May 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Hopefully she is able to gracefully accept it if her son decides at some point that he doesn’t want it to be long anymore. It’s symbolic to her, but it’s also his hair, and he may not want to always pay tribute to his brother or prove his health to his mother in that way.
    My mom has mousy brown, wavy hair. My hair is blonde and straight — just what she always wanted! And she refused, for all of my childhood, to cut it any shorter than she absolutely had to, even thought the ends were split for inches and it was a pain in the ass to care for. Every time I tried to cut it shorter, starting in middle school, she’d get super emotional until I agreed that no, I didn’t really want it shoulder length, shoulder blades would do. No, I didn’t want it up to my ears, armpit-length was exactly what I wanted. There were always tears.
    Come college I had a friend cut it to about an inch long, choppy and sloppy, with a paid of scissors. I warned her what to expect before I came home again, but the damage was done. The resulting fight, during which she accused me of not loving her anymore, left us both in tears. She was absolutely convinced that I wanted nothing more to do with her. For whatever reason, she had placed a great deal of emotional value and symbolism in my hair. The fallout from me taking control of my own body and what it looked like and how much work I wanted to put into my self-care routines was incredibly painful.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      May 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Yes, she can’t own his hair forever. Hair is not a symbol. Agreed.

    • PAJane

      May 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      If only that had worked for me!

    • John

      September 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

      It has been my experience that children rebel. If she strongly encourages him to grow his hair long, at some point he will insist he cut if short. If she instead cut it short and insisted it stay short, more than likely he will insist on growing it long just to rebel. Boys used to have hair styles reflecting their rebellion against society or in my time “the establishment” but since society for the most part could care less about hair length (as compared to when I was a little boy) that only leaves parents and teachers to rebel against. They are pretty much going to do the opposite of what their mother tells them. I predict that this boy is going to find his way to a barber shop the moment he has enough saved and he can sneak away from his mother.

  22. fireflywander

    May 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    From about ages 7-12 my twin brothers grew their hair out: one had blond hair just at the shoulders, the other brunette hair past the shoulders. I think it was inspired by Lord of the Rings, in which all the badass warrior types have long hair. Plus, here in Canada it might be a hockey thing too. Mom only had one rule: if they took care of it (shampoo, brush, look presentable when need be) she wouldn’t sheer it off. I really loved it, and even though the occasional family member or acquaintance would say it looked ‘girly’ or ‘silly’ I was glad they had enough self confidence not to care.

  23. Zettai

    May 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    This will probably be an unpopular opinion but her reason for leaving her living child’s hair long does not seem very healthy or good for the child.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      May 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      I wanted to say this! She’s not cutting her LIVING child’s hair because she experienced a loss? It doesn’t make sense. I remembered learning this in college, but had to google Alfred Adler’s birth order, but he seems like the typical “GHOST CHILD:” according to my old psych classes (Child born after the death of the first child may have a “ghost” in front of him. Mother may become over-protective.)

    • Sarah

      May 13, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      I definitely agree if this wasn’t the kid’s idea, I didn’t read the linked post and it’s unclear in this article what his feelings are.

    • julesgilead

      May 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      I know, it seems incredibly creepy to me. Both an unhealthy obsession with minutiae of a loss on her part, and unnecessary forcing of a dead brother’s characteristics on her other son. That’s too much baggage for a kid to deal with.

  24. Zettai

    May 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    This will probably be an unpopular opinion but her reason for leaving her living child’s hair long does not seem very healthy or good for the child.

  25. K.

    May 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t think that it needs to be some terrible backstory that gives reason
    to refraining from commenting on a child’s appearance; I think that in general,
    we probably shouldn’t do it at all. The exception for me might be matters of
    explicit style choices (“Great hat!” or “Love your Beatles shirt!” or something
    similar), but other than that, I don’t think it’s good to comment on anything
    about the kid’s looks.
    “Why is her hair so short?”
    “Wow, you have so many freckles!”
    “Gee, she’s a big girl, isn’t she?”
    “Aw, he’s such a shrimp!”
    “His feet are HUGE!!”

    …None of those sound right to me.

  26. guest

    May 14, 2014 at 12:41 am

    I think kids should have whatever length hair they and their parents want. (The combination is important, I think, because if the kids don’t actually keep up the hair, then it becomes problematic; so if your kid desperately wants long hair but won’t brush it/let someone else brush it, then it’s probably not a good choice for them, at least at the moment.) I also think people are allowed to have opinions on what hair they like on whoever. And I think probably they should keep those opinions to themselves (or at least not share them with the kids/parents unless invited.)

    As far as I can tell, the author of this article did all of those things: she had an opinion, but she didn’t actually share it with any of the kids/parents involved. (Yes, she posted it here – if her friends are so insecure that they track her blog posts down to get offended from them, they need new hobbies.)

    Could her preference be rooted in societal norms? Sure. Or personal experience. Or whatever. I’m not keen on mustaches, personally. Or side burns, although I didn’t actually share that with my best friend. (He has now shaved them off, which I think improves things, but it’s his face and he could do whatever the hell he wanted.) It certainly can’t hurt to stop and think about why we have the preferences we do, but there isn’t necessarily a deep dark reason for every preference.

  27. brebay

    May 14, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I’m not sure I get the connection, and I suspect the son has the job of “making it up” to his mom, which is a shitty job for a kid. I don’t know why anyone would care about a kid’s hairstyle, but one kid having extra hair to make up for a lost sibling…odd. poor kid.

  28. BlossomSquare

    May 14, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Mom is the lady who will take care of his little children… http://bit.ly/1jGuCSi

  29. John

    September 9, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I grew up in the 60s and 70s. As a little boy I had very long hair. By ten it was below my waist. There were a lot of other boys at my school and in the neighborhood who also had very long hair. The boy in the photo above would have been called a square because his hair is so short. Yes older people often mistook us for girls, especially me. Yes my mom dress me as a girl for Halloween but I thought it was funny not a bad thing. That was a different time I suppose but I think it illustrates that attitudes change from generation to generation. Older boys grew their hair long to be rebellious. In later decades the sons of men who had long hair as boys and retained that long hair as adults, kept theirs quite short. Now I see it come full circle again and I see a lot of boys with long hair again. But this time instead of all the boys growing their hair long just to fit in with their long haired peers every boy is doing their own thing and kids are not teasing their peers about hair length like they used to. In fact it seems to me the only people who now have a problem with how long a boy’s hair is, are the adults. Frankly I can’t imagine it is anyone’s business how long a boy’s hair is other than that boy and his parents.
    Now I am going to add some perspective. I have a friend who has a son who is ten. He has a mop that reaches the middle of his back. I personally think he is cute as a button and his mother agrees. Yes some adults mistake him for a girl. Yes my friend gets criticized. But she has a very practical reason to let her son grow his hair so long. When he was three years old he was in a horrible fire. He has some pretty bad scars on his forehead, cheek, scalp and the back of his neck and upper back. With his hair the way it is now, absolutely none of the scars are visible. If he pulls it all up into a pony tail you can see most of his scars. With his long hair he looks like a perfectly normal boy who happens to have an amazing mane of hair and you would never guess he had been in a fire. Without his long hair he looks like a burn victim with horrible scaring. He prefers people not see his scars. As much as one would like the opposite to be true, burn victims are treated differently and often not very nicely. He will probably always have long hair for this reason alone but it does have one side benefit. Despite only being ten he has a whole bunch of girlfriends who adore him, yes that is partly due to his personality but much of it has to do with the hair.

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