It’s pretty clear that parents shouldn’t force their kids to change their appearance against their will. But what if your kid is too little to share their opinion with you? That’s at the center of an argument going down on Reddit this week — and one moms is trying to figure out if her actions are justified or just plain wrong.
Here’s the situation: a mom has a baby daughter who happens to have a unibrow. Mom doesn’t mind it, but she’s tired of her beautiful baby’s notable feature dominating any conversation about her kid.
“Of course I think she is beautiful, including her bushy little brow, but I am SO tired of the comments from other people,” she explained in Reddit’s ever-popular Am I The A**hole? forum. “Literally on a daily basis, people tell me I should dress her up as Frida Kahlo for Halloween, jokingly ask if she has a caterpillar on her face, tell me dad must be really hairy, etc. Nobody seems to notice anything about her except that unibrow.”
Her solution to the problem was the subtly shave away the unibrow — at least until her kid is old enough to make her own decisions.
“I shaved a little separation into her brow,” she continued. “I used a tiny little facial razor that is very gentle on skin and made sure to take care of her skin afterwards. It didn’t cause any sort of irritation or issues and I’ve continued to do it every week or so.”
This was all well and good until her husband noticed — about a month later. He was not pleased with the entire situation.
“He’s angry with me because: 1) I didn’t run it by him first; 2) I’m going to give her body image issues; and 3) there’s nothing wrong with a unibrow,” she wrote. “I told him when she’s old enough to voice her opinions she can tell me what she wants, but until then I’m going to keep shaving it so that people notice more than just her unibrow.”
This is a tough one because it’s easy to see both sides of the coin. On the mom’s side, she just wants her baby to go through the world looking a little more like other babies, and to be noticed for her many other non-appearance-based attributes. And it’s not like she’s going to force her to keep doing it against her will as she grows up.
On the dad’s side, he has a great point about body image and socialization — could shaving the unibrow imply to the kid as she gets older that there’s something wrong with the natural appearance of her face? And what’s the issue with unibrows anyway? Frida Kahlo rocked it. Finally: it’s a pretty big parenting decision, so the mom should have at least run the idea by him before getting out the razor.
In the comments, opinions were split — with the fact that dad didn’t notice the change prominent among the reactions.
“... Your husband just now noticed your kid doesn't have a unibrow anymore, a month after the fact? When it's literally right on her face?” was the most up-voted comment on the thread.
And it’s a good question. If he cares that much, why didn’t he even notice?
Other commenters were worried that not shaving the unibrow would only lead to bullying in the coming years. “Why wait until she comes home crying because kids are making fun of her when it’s something easy to care for now? While it’s nothing medically necessary to care for, it’s something easy to take care of,” one reader wrote. “I just imagine leaving it alone and having her hate her childhood pictures. Pictures that she can’t change but can burn instead of having the memories.”
It’s a good point, even if it’s extremely depressing that the shape of your eyebrows might make you the target of cruelty.
Others took the dad’s side: won’t shaving her unibrow indefinitely mean that one day the kid is going to know that mom doesn’t like how it looks, or that society doesn’t accept it?
“I see where the dad is coming from,” one wrote. “It seems like op is going to keep shaving the eye brows until her daughter is old enough to make the decision on her own. By then she'll be conditioned to feel some type of way about it.”
Another person had a strong point in favor of the dad’s opinion: “This thread is just a testament to how normalized the idea that girls should be ashamed of their bodies is. Like this woman is setting the foundation for her daughter to be ashamed of her face when she should be one of the few people in a world that is going to try very hard to do that who makes her feel good about herself.”
The best comment revealed the true a**holes in this situation: the people who have been making comments about the baby’s appearance in the first place.
“I wish people would stop making comments about random babies they don’t know,” they wrote. “A friend of mine had a ‘chunkier’ baby and some old man wanted to know if she was feeding her baby concrete. Another friend had a baby with a large head that people constantly made rude comments about. Postpartum moms don’t want to hear that shit about their babies. Shaving a gap to make two eyebrows doesn’t hurt the child and helps the mom not have to deal with a**hole comments.”
Think about it: if no one commented on her baby’s eyebrows in the first place, we wouldn’t even have a problem (or an argument) at all.