Practically every teenage girl in my school, myself included, spent a lot of money and time recreating what essentially looked like an unnatural and vastly inferior version of my friend’s hair. Perms, unfortunately, sustained the popularity throughout
the 80s and into the 90s and consequently the girls at school rarely donned any other hairstyle.
But did my friend’s abuse lessen in severity as it became obvious that she was naturally blessed with what
nearly every teenager in the Western world desperately desired? No. The poor girl’s “Afro” nickname stuck with her throughout her teenage years and I daresay has been the reason she now spends an obscene
amount of time and money making her hair poker straight.
How to Disguise the Source of Ridicule and Silence the Bullies
Whilst many adults, parents in particular, try to soothe teenagers who are subjected to ‘hair inflicted’ bullying, by saying comments like, “it is nice to be different”, or “they will be envious of you
when you are older”, rarely has any positive impact and can often make a teenager feel even worse and more determined than ever to ‘look normal’.
Fortunately hair care has become a lot more advanced and
sophisticated since I was growing up in the 80s. State of the art straighteners can straighten even the most unruly of hair and enable a teenager who is being called “Scary Spice” one day, confidently walk
into a classroom, holding her head up high with hair that rivals Jennifer Aniston the next day, causing the name callers to gasp with envy. Then with advancement of hair color technology, redheads can now dye
their hair, without a trace of ginger ‘giving the game away’, a far cry from the ‘beacon of bright light’ and ‘mane of frizz’ a redhead caused when they attempted to dye it blonde in the ‘old days”!
Of course parents and adults have got a point when they say it is good to be different and that unusual hair will be deemed as desirable in later years. But this knowledge only becomes acknowledged with age,
and whilst teenagers remain teenagers they will prefer to spend hours in the bathroom pruning themselves to conform to what is regarded as ‘normal’ in a desperate attempt to appease their oppressors.