Teens with Different Hair (2)

Teenage girl with red hair
Photo: Cookie Studio/Shutterstock
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"Curly Tops" and Teenagers
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 with curly or unruly hair are also considered to be "different" and therefore, in the eyes of those so young, are reasonably open to abuse. "Curly Top", "Curly Wurly", "Fozzy", "Afro", or even "Scary Spice" are some of the popular names thrown 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 firsthand knowledge of such illogicalness when it comes to teenagers and curly hair. My best friend had lusciously long locks of beautiful curls, which bounced every 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 routes, desperate to be able to afford to get a perm in the local salon.
Practically every teenage girl in my school, myself included, spent a lot of money and time trying to recreate what essentially looked like an unnatural and vastly inferior version of my friend's hair. Perms, unfortunately, sustained their 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 dare say has been the reason she now spends an exorbitant amount of time and money making her hair poker straight.
Beautiful curly hair
Photo: Progressman/Canva
How to Disguise the Source of Ridicule and Silence the Bullies
While 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 1980s. State-of-the-art straighteners can straighten even the most unruly of hair, enabling a teenager who is being called "Scary Spice" one day to 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 the 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 a point when they say it is good to be different and that unusual hair will be deemed desirable in later years. But this knowledge only becomes acknowledged with age, and while teenagers remain teenagers they will prefer to spend hours in the bathroom primping themselves to conform to what is regarded as "normal" in a desperate attempt to appease their oppressors.
See also:
Hair, teenagers and peer pressure
Teenagers and hair problems