Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Childhood haircuts: Parents love them, their grown children are confused by them. To start making sense of it all, Racked asked our coworkers at Vox Media to send through pictures of themselves as kids and to ask their parents to defend their choice in haircut. Sometimes it was overly aggressive bangs. Most of the time it was a glorious bowl cut. Every once in a while, it was a mullet. Here's what mom had to say:
Mother of Nicola Fumo, Racked Market Editor:
"Kiddo, you started cutting your bangs at age five, so I lost control of how your adorable wavy brown hair looked. See attached. Clear evidence of bang mutilation at an early age.
It proves I loved you because I let you express yourself."
Mother of Julia Rubin, Racked's Features Editor:
"You had a lot of hair, and as it grew longer, it just got curlier. I don't really remember getting your hair cut that often! It's not like I kept it short on purpose. You just had these soft, pretty curls, and you looked ADORABLE. People would stop me all the time because of your hair and your glasses and the way I dressed you—you didn't look like other kids. You had a look and an attitude."
Mother of Callia Hargrove, Racked's Junior Social Media Editor:
"Bad hairdo says who? This was a popular hairstyle at the time, and I thought it was absolutely adorable—still do."
Mother of Laura Euler, Editor of Curbed Hamptons:
Me: "God, I was an ugly kid."
Mom: "What are you talking about? You were a beautiful child."
Me: "Oh yeah? Explain THIS."
Mom, taken back: "Uh…well the early '70s weren't a good time for hairstyles."
Parents of Erika Adams, Racked National's Assistant Editor:
"It always looked fantastic! It didn't hang in you eyes, it didn't hang in you mouth, and it had all the right parental parameters for low maintenance."
Mother of Laura Gurfein, Racked NY editor:
"Wait, what? Bad haircut? Are you kidding me? You were the most adorable child in the world with that haircut! Well, without it, too. But the haircut helped."
Mother of Kenzie Bryant, Racked's Engagement Editor:
"I DO NOT BELIEVE IT. I know how you are about that haircut and you are trying to make me feel guilty. NOT happening.
Holden's bowl haircut was easy…I was trying to save money so I did it myself.
You came along and trying to be sensitive to how it might scar a woman for life (apparently that does happen), I decided to go and get your hair cut. Why you ask:
1. Combing out long thick hair is torture for a young mom because let me tell you, kids cry!!!
2. You were precious with that 'Dorothy Hamill Wedge' haircut!
3. Dee Dee Draper had taken Bridget to the same place and her hair was adorable!"
Jen Leibow, Marketing and Events Director at Vox Media:
"My mom says this doesn't apply....but it so does. I'll let you be the judge"
Mother of Sonia Chopra, Eater Cities Editor:
"Sonia had a bad case of separation anxiety as a toddler. 'Highly developed cognitive skills' was the pediatrician's positive spin on it to allay an anxious new mom's fears. Therefore, taking her to a hair salon was out of the question!
Our home-grown hair cutting sessions (salon hacking!) went something like this: I would give Sonia a booklet of small removable stickers, and she would be totally engrossed in peeling each one and meticulously pasting them in a row along the slats of her crib. I would take the opportunity to trim her bangs as best I could, and work my way to trim the length at the back. Generally, Sonia would be too preoccupied in her task to notice what I was doing.
Since this activity involved Sonia walking around the perimeter of the crib, once I was done, her room would be covered with fine brownish black hair, which would have to be vacuumed. I considered this a small price to pay for not having to endure hearing her ear piercing shrieks if I were to have taken her to a salon instead!"
Mother of Chavie Lieber, Racked's Features Reporter:
Mom: "I didn't think it was a bad haircut. That was the look. Everyone, boys and girls, had the Dutch boy look."
Me: "But it was a boy's haircut. I am not a boy."
Mom: "Well you couldn't take care of yourself. You never combed your hair, you were a mess and I figured a short haircut would be easier for you."
Mother of Izzy Grinspan, Racked Editorial Director:
"The one with the really bad hair was too embarrassing. The bowl cut was in style and easy to maintain and your hair had a natural wave that worked with it. Uncle Gerry cut it starting around age four."
Mother of Rebecca Jennings, Racked NY's Associate Editor:
"When you were five and ready to go to kindergarten, I got you the short bob with bangs because you wanted to be able to deal with your hair all by yourself. I still think it was CUTE!"
Mother of Sally Kuchar, Curbed Cities Editor:
"After you were born and your hair started to grow out I asked your grandfather when I should cut it. He said 'when it gets in her eyes.' No further comment on styling."
Mother of Rachel Doyle, Curbed National's News Editor:
"I decided to trim your bangs myself rather than taking the time to go to a hairdresser, which would have cost about $5. To keep hair from falling into your face, I had you wear a washcloth over your face. It did not work out well because the trimmed bangs were horribly crooked. In fact, you looked in the mirror afterward and said: 'Mommy, you botched the job.' I was afraid that your father would be upset with me, so I then rushed you to a proper hairdresser. She said there was only so much that she could do and made your bangs even shorter. On the way home, I got a ticket for making an improper left turn, which made a not-good evening even worse. Luckily, you thought it was funny and your father didn't get mad except for asking: 'What were you thinking?' In my defense, I worked full-time at a demanding job, commuted 1.5 hours per day, and had two young children, so my wanting to use a short-cut (so to speak) was understandable."