A recent piece in the New York Times is shaming moms for cutting their hair short
We’ve all heard of the “mom haircut.” Traditionally, it’s extremely short, requires little maintenance, and we’ve all had its explicit uncoolness drilled into our heads for about as long as we’ve been alive. But the times, they are a-changing, and a recent piece in the New York Times says it’s not actually one specific haircut that makes moms uncool. Rather, it’s just that any hairstyle moms like is automatically uncool by association.
“In fashion there are ‘mom jeans,'” writes Bee Shapiro. “So, too, there is a counterpart in beauty: ‘mom hair.’ You’ve likely seen it at suburban malls: the longer-in-back, slightly-shorter-in-front bob that should read sleek but is inescapably frumpy.”
That’s right: motherhood somehow managed to kill the bob.
But, it’s not just the regular bob that we descended upon like a swarm of tragically unhip locusts. We also apparently ruined all possible variations on bobs and short haircuts. “Even the city-dwelling mom isn’t immune,” Shapiro says, using “city-dwelling” as a synonym for a human being with a sense of style. “Perhaps she has added her own twists like blunt bangs or extra layering, but the ’do still falls short of flattering.”
So, just to recap: if a mom gets any kind of bob, it’s frumpy. Anything shorter than a bob has pretty much always been the butt of mom jokes. Oh, and if you add blunt bangs or layers, you’re still basically a disaster.
My god, did moms just completely kill having hair?
The idea that moms make things uncool just by liking them certainly isn’t new. When moms started wearing higher waisted jeans to cover up their postpartum tummies, those jeans suddenly became “mom jeans.” When moms realized how practical minivans are, suddenly those became “mom cars.” The same thing is happening to yoga pants, wine, bootcut jeans, crossover SUVs, and apparently any haircut that doesn’t look like you get style advice from Rapunzel.
In her piece, Shapiro acknowledges that moms often cut their hair shorter to “retain a sense of identity” or because they’re dealing with postpartum hair loss, but Juan Carlos Maciques, a hair stylist she quoted, cautioned moms that opting for a shorter haircut is usually “a big mistake.”
“It’s not just your hair that’s changing. Your body is, too,” Maciques told Shapiro. “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, there you go. Rather than opt for a practical, shorter style that you like or that makes you feel good, you should just keep your hair long and use it as a curtain to hide your fat, disgusting mom body. Or, if that’s not quite your style, he recommends getting the dreaded “mom bob” but then “cutting the bangs slightly too short” for a “teenage feeling of irresponsibility and youthfulness,” and also to look like you got attacked with a pair of your child’s safety scissors.
Basically, the point of this condescending piece is that lots of women choose shorter hair for a variety of reasons. But, if you’ve had a newborn burst forth from your loins and don’t keep your hair mermaid-long or opt for some quirky, high fashion ‘do that will only look good on about two percent of the population, you have “mom hair.” You are frumpy. You are boring.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of having the word “mom” continually used as a synonym for uncool, unflattering, unhip, and sexless. A bob is a classic haircut that’s been around forever, but lots of moms do it, and suddenly it’s a faux pas?
If a lot of women have the same haircut, it’s probably because it works for them. Or, it makes them feel good. Or, maybe it’s even that they just like it and have priorities outside of caring what other people think about the length of their hair. It seems like anything that finds popularity amongst moms gets suddenly labeled as the epitome of uncool, but if that’s true, maybe it’s not the haircuts and the minivans that are actually the problem. Maybe it’s society’s inability to see women who become mothers as still stylish, sexy, cool, funny, and worthwhile. And even if we grow our “mom hair” out to our knees, that’s not going to fix the issue.