You Look Like a Boy

Over Thanksgiving break, Story got her hair cut. Short. Her requirements were: “When I shake my head, I don’t want my hair to move,” and “I want the sides tapered.” She got exactly what she wanted and absolutely loved it. And then others started imposing their unsolicited opinions on her: “You look like a boy.”

She says she still loves it but less enthusiastically now. When these comments started, she just shrugged and said, “Oh well, I like it.” As they continued, her response became defensive: “Girls can have short hair, too.” Eventually she just stopped responding at all.

I understand that kids will often say things without thinking, and some are just cruel. So it doesn’t surprise me that most of the comments come from kids, though I still think that kids Story’s age should know better. What shocks me is that adults have had this reaction!

One woman in particular actually got upset about it. In addition to telling Story she looked like a boy, the woman said that girls are supposed to have long hair and asked if Story wanted to be a boy. Story felt awful for making the woman so upset. I had a rather different reaction.

I don’t understand why people are concerned with Story’s hair. I get that drastic change can be a little jarring. But, really, is it necessary to remark in such a way? What does the person hope to achieve? I know there aren’t answers to these questions, so I’ll just leave off with an oldie that is still relevant: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.