Thanks to Sociological Images for exposing me to one image that’s burning my retinas and hurting my heart.
“Baby Bangs.” Wigs. For babies.
I am aware that I’m the last blogger on the planet to cover this but I’m forging ahead anyway.
The Baby Bangs! website might be funny if it were intended as satire – a commentary on the beauty standard imposed on women and girls. Instead, it’s completely in earnest and really, really disturbing (both for the content and the offensive grammar).
As I’ve said before, I am not keen on the ridid gendering of childhood. This product, and the language on the website, is especially revolting. On the homepage, underneath the before (androgynous and unlovable) and after (properly femme) pictures, it reads, “I’M NOT A BOY!” Why is an infant’s sex important? Is everyone who encounters her buying her diapers?
Both baby girls and baby boys are often bald. A girl’s lack of hair is not a flaw. But as per usual, girls (and women) are the ones who “require” adornment to distinguish them from the opposite sex. According to the site, the creators “believe in the beauty of childhood.” Right. Childhood means bare baby heads. What it should not mean is conformation to gendered beauty norms before one can walk. But the Baby Bangs creators are doing their part to raise the bar for even fresh-out-of-the-womb females.
We are clearly meant to find the second image more appealing than the first. Not I. In-your-face gender cues are supposedly “cute;” and without them, people actually get agitated. I’d think a synthetic wig affixed to my head and doused with hair-spray (yes, really) would be agitating. But I suppose little girls should learn that beauty is pain as early as possible. What next – baby high heels? Oh, wait.