Now, why would a parent put her baby girl in a wig? Besides wanting me to laugh at her, that is.
According to the manufacturers of “Baby Bangs,” it is to allow your baby girl to have “a beautifully realistic hairstyle in a snap.” For $25 you can buy a customized hair extension attached to a bedazzled headband “arranged in the cutest most adorable elfish coiffure!”
And according to Callie Beusman over at Jezebel, it is due to the gradual erosion of the age limit for exposing little girls to “daft and absurd gender policing.”
So the princess dogma is starting at such a young age that a newborn’s natural (downy-headed) state is somehow undesirable? Is the window of time during which a woman’s physical appearance isn’t subjected to constant scrutiny and held up to strict standards going to narrow so much that all fetuses will need beautiful virtual makeovers (if so, I’m really adept at them so you can email me on my work account for the hook-up)?
Thankfully, “Baby Bangs” have, as the more clear-headed among us would hope, taken a lot of heat. There seem to be enough good people out there in America right now that agree that our babies don’t require such enhancements to be beautiful.
Though I wish we would also all take a closer look at the ways in which most parents, baby-bangers and not, project their insecurities and sense of selves onto their kids. I think this is the larger force behind something like baby bangs, and is possibly more insidious than the desire to get our little girls dolled up.
Often when parents take that extra step to make sure their kids appear more attractive, cultured, cool or smart, it is about the parents’ own, as we say in Yiddish, meshugas. Seeing our kids as extensions of ourselves is indeed a sign of a healthy attachment and love, but there’s got to be a limit to how much of ourselves we place in our children.
Allowing our kids to be their own people gives us a chance to nurture the part of ourselves that can continue to grow and thrive even though we are wrinkly, tired, boring old adults. It also gives our kids more, literally and figuratively, wiggle room to figure out who they are and what they like. Needless to say, I doubt baby wigs are on any of their lists.
Follow Elissa Strauss on Twitter at @elissaavery.
Elissa Strauss has written for the Forward over a number of years. She is a regular contributor to CNN, whose work has been published in a number of publications including The New York Times, Glamour, ELLE, and Longreads.
The Real Problem with Baby Wigs