Of course having ginger hair is not the only ‘unusual’ hair that makes its teenage owner fall victim to classroom jokes and seemingly endless years of torment. Teenagers possessing curly or unruly hair are
also considered to be ‘different’ and therefore in the eyes of ones so young are reasonably open to abuse. “Curly Top”, “Curly Wurly”, “Fozzy”. “Afro”, or even “Scary Spice” are some of the popular names
hurled at teenagers genetically predisposed to have hair that grows curly instead of straight. Teenagers can be the most bizarrely erratic and stubbornly illogical of creatures and I have first-hand knowledge
of such illogicalness within regards to teenagers and curly hair. My best friend had lusciously long locks of beautiful curls, which bounced each time she moved and I was infinitely envious of her unusually
stunning curly head of hair – until we reached high school. As soon as we turned teenagers and moved from Primary to the “big” school, my best friend’s hair suddenly became the school joke, which earned her
the nickname “Afro”. Ironically this was in the 1980s when girls were taking on paper rounds, desperate to be able to afford to have a perm in the local salon. 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. The 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.