The Internet is home to many wonderful things, like Dunkaroos you can order from Amazon, YouTube videos of hamsters eating small meals, and the DIY kingdom known as Pinterest. It’s also home to unwarranted, public bullying. This week, Blue Ivy Carter, adorable two year-old daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, is facing some mean-spirited and offensive criticism about her hair. Yes, her hair. According to this Change.org petition, “This matter has escalated to the child developing matted dreads and lint balls. Please let’s get the word out to properly care for Blue Ivy’s hair.”
By Thursday morning, 2,000 people had signed the petition. Jasmine Toliver, the individual who started this attack on a toddler, took to her Facebook account to defend her actions: “My job took off anything I guess with a ‘sign a petition’ is funny,” Toliver said, although I’m not totally sure what she means. “If I would’ve said ‘sign a petition to save Lebron James hairling’ that would’ve took off too! It’s a clever joke! Nobody came up with before. My hair looks like blue ivy right now except its [sic] moisturized and detangled.”
Okay, but the thing she must realize is that this is an insensitive joke, and it’s targeting a two-year-old, not a full-grown man. It’s gross that people are condemning a child’s hair, worse that it’s on a public platform, but it’s not the first time kinky hair has been deemed “inappropriate” or “unbecoming.” Black men and women have been judged for their natural hairstyles since forever, and white-dominated societies have pushed straighter, less “unruly” hair as “ideal” for decades. Curly, frizzy hair has been labeled “unmanageable” since the dawn of talking about hair, and the most desirable hairstyles are usually attained with a straightening iron (or, ironically, a curling iron, but only when it’s controlled and neat).
It’s perfectly normal for a child to wear his or her natural hair. I don’t care whether the child is Black, Asian, Hispanic, or White. Whenever I see a kid with a messy ‘do, I don’t immediately assume parental neglect. I assume the small child is just being a kid who cares more about water slides and popsicles than keeping his or her hair smoothed down.
This petition is also a weird attack on Beyoncé and Jay-Z. It presents a “You’re so rich and famous, but you can’t keep your daughter’s hair under control” argument that highlights a fan’s insecurities and entitlement to a celebrity’s life. Just because we have access to a small handful of Carter family photos, doesn’t give us the right to become possessive, or start scrutinizing the way they take care of their child. Who are we to do so? We are given a small glimpse into a these musicians’ lives, but this does not mean we’re authorities on their parenting skills.
The bottom line is that no one has the right to pick on a girl for her hair—no matter who her parents are. That’s called bullying, and it’s mean. Let’s leave Blue Ivy and her gorgeous hair alone.
Featured image via