Originally published: 10.02.17
About 15 years ago, a message was sent home from my daughter’s primary school teacher. It wasn’t about chocolate slice. It was about her hair.
My then six-year-old’s head was covered in tight, thick ringlets. While many clucked and cooed about her “gorgeous” hair, they didn’t have to wash it, or try to get a brush through it.
It was an ordeal, one I approached with dread — she’d cry and flail about. And so it wasn’t washed or brushed as often as more patient parents might have done.
(I also had two other children and a baby who needed attention.)
But then came the message from school: I must brush my daughter’s hair. Apparently it was unacceptable to send her to school with hair unkempt.
I felt put down. We might have tried a bit harder. Or we might have gone on as usual until she was old enough to do it herself (which was more likely).
Still, that teacher was lucky I wasn’t on social media in those days.
Melinda Tankard Reist : I write on sexualisation, objectification, pornification, violence against women, pornography and trafficking and women’s health issues. I am author/ed of four books, most recently Getting Real: Challenging the sexualisation of girls and Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry (both Spinifex Press titles). I am co- founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation. Facebook Twitter: @meltankardreist