I am a mother to a baby girl born with a full head of black, curly, beautiful hair. Her hair is less coarse than mine, less prone to frizz and tangles. It’s natural default is to revert into perfect, soft, springy spirals. No frizz, no fuss. She has the type of hair that at times I find myself looking at with envy. I find myself imagining her older with a huge mane down her back with her piercing, black, almond eyes leading the way. I am envisioning my daughter as a woman. An “attractive” woman at that. I notice that I am not the only one. ”Aw man Shanti, you better watch out when she is older.” ” She is beautiful, look at that gorgeous hair!” “You better lock her up!” “Get a gun”, “What are you gonna do when she is older???!!!”
I always have to catch and stop myself. No. She is not a woman. She is three years old. She has a lisp, wakes up at seven in the morning, makes her silverware talk, has genuine affection for our tabby cat whom she coddles and easily forgives when he scratches, is excited at the prospect of new friends, is curious about the world, loves to look at the moon, begs for cartoon time, creates imaginary personalities out of anything, loves laughing, her daddy’s arms, spinning till she tumbles in fits of giggles, dancing to loud music and can cry at the drop of a dime if the emotion arrises. She knows nothing more about her exterior body aside from the “boo, boos” or “buggy bites” she accrues while playing. She claims no sense of pride, shame or responsibility of being “gorgeous”. She does not care about it at all. She is a healthy three year old- wholehearted and curious.
I am extremely bothered by all the negative attention that baby Blue (Beyonce’s daughter for those that live under a rock and good for you by the way) is receiving because of her wild, tangled baby tresses. Why can’t that baby live? Why can’t we honor and protect our young girls from the all consuming, incessant, fickle world of “beauty” and the so called standards with which it is held? Is it really healthy and building the self esteem of our young girls by indoctrinating them early with rules of hair care, primping and styling? Is it really cute that Kimora Lee had her young girls in photo shoots and walking down runways before they could talk? Is it really necessary to make our daughters into “mini me’s” when they are so young that their conception of the separation between “you” and “me” isn’t even engrained in them yet what to speak of accessories, clothes and makeup. These are our babies, our impressionable, open, tender baby girls being raised in a world of Miley Cyruses, Rihanna’s and Beyonces. They have the rest of their lives to fight the enslavement of beauty and sexual identity.
Let our baby girls have their years to be free, self-expressed, sincerely curious and un-tethered by the politics and weight of this insecure world.
Let baby Blue live….
P.S HAPPY BDAY BEYONCE!