Childrearing

The New York Times Did Us All a Favor By Mocking ‘Mom Hair’

By  | 

(Via Giphy)

The New York Times just discovered that “Mom Hair” is a thing and this week published a cringeworthy article condemning it. The article is infuriating in its insistence that unfashionable mothers have ruined short or mid-length hair simply by being mothers, but the article may have done us all a favor by being so tone-deaf and patronizing that it finally makes it completely uncool to use “mom” as an insult in the first place.

And people do use “mom” as an insult.”  Mom hair, mom jeans, mom blog, mom car … adding the word “mom” to anything describes it as lame and basic and undesirable. In the popular imagination, mothers have long had a King Midas-like ability to turn everything they touch into lameness, and according to the Times article, we’ve ruined short hair, bobs, mid-length hair, and bangs merely by wearing them while by being mothers with children.

“You’ve likely seen it at suburban malls,” the article describes, “the longer-in-back, slightly–shorter-in-front bob that should read sleek but is inescapably frumpy.”

It wouldn’t be a New York Times trend piece if it didn’t also get off a dig at the suburbs and malls, too.

The article writes:

 “I see it all the time,” said Juan Carlos Maciques, a stylist at the Rita Hazan salon in Manhattan. “The first thing new moms want to do is cut their hair off. They’re feeling lousy about their bodies, and they just want to get some sense of self again. But, usually, to cut off your hair is a big mistake.”

Getting some sense of self and ownership of one’s body back certainly seems like a pretty good reason to get a haircut to me! And I can’t see any reason that it would be a “big mistake” except that random people might find it somewhat less attractive. So … sorry to those people, I guess? Is the problem that women have a feminine duty to be attractive objets d’art to all random strangers in addition to all their actual responsibilities, and a shorter haircut is an abjuration of that sacred duty?

I almost cut all my hair off right after having a baby, too. Since my teens, I’d toyed with the idea of trying a daring, urbane pixie cut, but I never had the guts. After going through the experience of carrying and then delivering a baby, a short haircut seemed like a really dumb thing to be anxious about.

“It’s not just your hair that’s changing. Your body is, too. You might not be at the weight you really want to be yet. And the truth is, long hair can be a little bit of a distraction. When you go short, you are more exposed. There’s less, literally, to hide behind.”

So now it’s not just your hair that’s wrong, it’s your body too. At this point I want to get a frumpy bob just as a way of saying “Fuck You” to the expectation that we all be fashionable and attractive and slim at all times, even right after having a baby.

The Times has somehow managed to make it seem rebellious to get a stereotypically frumpy haircut. I’m going to get a low-maintenance haircut and a safe car with lots of trunk space, and fuck anybody who doesn’t like it!

There is an added benefit to the article, too, because the New York Times is known for being so terribly behind the trend cycle that being the subject of a New York Times trend piece is a good sign that your trend is officially over and only old people without Internet connections will ever talk about it again.

This ridiculous article has sparked so much outrage on Scary Mommy, PopSugar, Today, and all the other parenting blogs that at this point I’m pretty sure using the phrase “mom hair” in public has just become more outdated and unfashionable than the haircuts in question ever were.