beauty

Great. Now parents are being judged for their kids' haircuts.

Some parents do horrible things to their kids – acts of cruelty that are deserving of criticism and derision from others.

Giving a child a gender-bending hairstyle isn’t one of them. But if you checked out Rachel Zoe’s latest Instagram posts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the parenting equivalent of a war crime.

When the celebrity stylist posted this photo of her 2-year-old son Skylar, many commenters praised his gorgeous chin-length curls. Others were less forgiving of his haircut (well, lack thereof).

“Omfg are you nuts?! Cut your kids hair,” one follower insightfully remarked. “STOP MAKING YOUR BOY LOOK LIKE A GIRL,” cried another. On a previous photo of Skylar, one man went so far as to tell Zoe, “You’re a terrible mom. Do you know how hard youre f***ing him over?”

I must say, good on these users for airing their concerns about the length of this poor child’s hair – after all, it has such a profound impact on their day-to-day lives.

Oh, that’s right. It actually doesn’t. What a parent chooses to do with their kid’s hair affects that child – and nobody else, regardless of how masculine or feminine – or mullet-like – it is.

Rachel Zoe isn’t the first celebrity mum to feel the wrath of strangers for how she styles her son. Angelina Jolie has racked up her fair share of ‘bad mum’ points for allowing her daughter Shiloh to dress and act like a boy – even though that’s precisely what Shiloh wants to do.

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In 2012, Star magazine proclaimed Shiloh had “no boundaries”, an obsession with collecting dead spiders and a penchant for violence, viewing her bloodied knees as a “medal of honour”. Well, that’s it – Shiloh’s life can only go downhill from here. The magazine even consulted a child psychologist, who prescribed that “only having boy haircuts” was indicative of a gender-identity problem.

Really? Can’t Shiloh just have a preference for short hair and dead spiders without it being a indictment on her ‘gender identity’? Surely kids can just develop their own aesthetic tastes and interests without having to be concerned about whether they fit the mould of “boy” and “girl” – and parents should encourage this. Little Skylar might demand a haircut when he gets a bit older. Shiloh might do a 180 on her tomboy ways. Or they might keep their style as it is. And…?

Giving kids a haircut that doesn’t resemble typical gender stereotypes is not going to ‘mess them up’. I can confidently say this because I was just like Shiloh Jolie-Pitt as a kid – minus the morbid spider fascination.

For years I insisted on super short haircuts, and my parents were happy for me to have them – come to think of it, my mum was probably high-fiving herself because she didn’t have to braid my hair for school. My short crop, teamed with my brother’s hand-me-downs, meant I was occasionally mistaken for a boy. And it didn’t bother me in the slightest.

Now? I’m all long hair and dresses. Go figure.

Maybe the hairstyles Rachel Zoe and Angelina Jolie allow their kids to have aren’t to your taste. But that doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong.

What do you think? Would you let your son have long hair, or give your daughter tomboyish haircuts? Does it bother you if others do it?  

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