WMS, Beauty And Loving Your Hair

Today I visited Worthington Middle School to take a picture of the awesome kids and staff, who are hard at work raising money for breast cancer research. (Look for the photo in the Daily Globe tomorrow or the next day.)

One of the girls there looked at me and told me I was pretty.

This made my day. She had an awesome pair of glasses and she was wearing a pretty cute outfit herself, I might add, and I would have told her so if she hadn’t wandered back into the lunch line, but at least I did say thank you.

This is the second time I’ve been told I was pretty in the line of duty. The first time I went around all day telling everyone a cute Latino boy had told me I was pretty, only explaining that he was about 3 years old after people looked impressed.

These days it’s hard even for beautiful people to think they’re pretty. Apparently Barbie is the ideal for this, although I don’t remember ever thinking Barbie was the icon of beauty. I had another fashion doll I liked better.

In fact, I had two. One was named Whitney. She had the longest, most beautiful dark hair, far longer than the hair of any of the blonde Barbies I had, so you could turn it and twist it into ornate updos the blondies couldn’t manage. The other one, I think, was a Teresa doll, although I could be identifying her incorrectly. I haven’t been able to find any pictures of this doll online, but she had dark hair, too, slightly reddish. It was also crimped. This was back when crimped hair was cool.

Neither of my favorite dolls was blonde. Maybe I was just a weird kid, though. Or maybe my mom (and her light brown hair, which was just as long as Barbie’s would have been in real life) has been and always will be my standard of beauty.

Why am I yammering on and on about hair, you may ask. Well, this isn’t an issue I’ve ever had to deal with, but apparently hair can be a big problem for African-American girls, or anybody whose hair has a different texture to it than the hair people think of as “normal.”

So much so that Sesame Street is doing a segment on it, with a cute little muppet with adorably frizzy hair. Watch it. It’s pretty cool.