Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cuttting Your Own Hair and Drawing on Yourself

I was shocked at a dinner party when a friend said that she was beaten for cutting her own hair when she was a little girl. And when another friend declared that she would have beaten her too if she had been her daughter and done that.

I was never beaten, for any reason. I used to cut my own hair all the time, and I never got into trouble for it. I cut it down so far to the roots when I was in the second grade, that those who didn’t know me kept calling me “little fella”.

I didn’t really care. I enjoyed cutting my hair. I never liked straight bangs and worked hard to get them uneven. I used to lock myself in the bathroom and snip away. I still do.

My friend Madeleine once cut my hair at the train station with a pair of craft scissors I just happened to have in my purse.

Cutting your own hair and drawing on yourself are similar activities of self expression.

My son has always loved to draw on himself, his clothes and shoes with ball point pens and markers. Why not? It’s such a harmless and primal activity that many adults just get so worked up about! Almost all the clothes that you buy these days for kids have writing all over them anyway. What’s the big deal? As long as you have one “good” set of clothes for when you have to dress up, why not? I’d much rather see my kids advertising their own artwork than advertising some corporation.

Last year, in seventh grade one of my son’s teachers told him angrily she never wanted to see any drawings on him again, after she spied a “tattoo” on his arm. I called her and told her that it was fine with us, as long as he wasn’t drawing on himself when he was supposed to be doing something else.

I learned years ago as an art teacher, and as a lifelong promoter of creativity and self expression that when you step in to interfere with a kids activity, think to yourself “Why not?” and if there is really no good reason why not, then stand back. This is especially true in the art area.

For instance why not let a kid take a watercolor brush and dip it into every color and mix all the colors together to make brown, then rub the brush and water all around until the paper rips? This is what many kids do when they first start to paint. Why can’t we just let them do it and find out for themselves what will happen? Adults just love to butt in. It’s hard to hold back, but we must!

Why not let a kid sit and cut their drawing into a million little pieces with a pair of scissors? Why not? So what? Or staple it all over, or cover it with tape? Why not let them ruin it if that is what they choose to do.

Kids do get “stuck” on colors once in a while, and that is all they WANT to use. Make all the colors available to them but let them use one color! It’s OK! Why not? Picasso did it!

Here’s a photo of me as a young girl with a self inflicted haircut.


m1 Designs said...

That brings back some memories. Your hair looks much like mine did. LOL and yes, I too drew on myself and mom didn't seem to mind as long as I got it cleaned up when I had to go someplace with her. HEHE

ArtistUnplugged said...

I agree, my mother was that way about kids, especially grandkids, in general a bit as long as it didn't hurt them or ruin anything. I have caught myself when saying no before and remembered that. Funny, I never cut my hair, barely had any in the first place! LOVE your new layout!

Admin said...

I love the fact that you cut your hair at a train station! What a great story to share!! This is such a great article that so many parents need to read!!

Ps. Love the picture!! I have many like that too. I wonder if my kids will ever discover the scissors on their hair?

Anonymous said...

I used to draw on my jeans and well, my friends drew on my jeans also! I never understood how, you could be upset with a child for showing self-expression! Inhibiting our children in such a way is not only unfair, but it is cruel!


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I like the way you think!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for your comments everyone! they are much appreciated....!

Lenox Knits said...

Wow, that's a pretty harsh punishment for self expression. I wonder what that did to her creative impulses as a child. What a great post and philosophy on child expression.

Lori said...

Thanks for the compliment on my jewelry. :)
Also, you should listen to a song by Regina Spektor called Ghost of Corporate Future. Judging by you post I think you wold really appreciate it. ;D
I cut my own hair for years until a year ago when I started growing dreadlocks. I've never not been happy with it.

ArtistUnplugged said...

Hey Victoria, sorry....I finally have your blog link on my list. Thanks SO much for having mine up and leaving comments. I sure hope you have a wonderful weekend! "Talk" to you later.....

beornica said...

Awww, you looked so cute, like a little japanime schoolgirl! I actually... have yet to cease cutting my own hair. Once you get that cutting bug, you keep going. In high school, I kept going shorter and shorter until I had a pixie cut. Hey, it looked good. My 4 year old daughter continues the same tradition. It's a little annoying when everyone keeps asking me if I gave her those bangs (she has curly hair. and big fat bangs. and isn't a child of the 80's.) but the way I see it, it IS her body. I'm so proud of what a funky little kid she is, I take her out all the time with "tattoos" and wacky outfits and some crazy hairdo, and as long as she's clean and in a good mood I'm happy. Hey, I'm just glad she's grown past the stage of painting our furniture. With my oil paints. ::cringes::

Anonymous said...


Wendy said...

I never cut my hair myself -- not because I'm uptight about it, just because I have kind of crazy hair that I like and I'm afraid I'd really mess it up if I started in.

I think your picture is totally adorable. What a cute girl -- and I don't think your hair was so bad. It seems YOU.

I'm kind of a control freak mom and it's hard for me to do artsy stuff with my kids, so mostly I just get my oldest started and turn my head. LOL. I figure that is way better than the alternative which is drive us both crazy. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Victoria...Your Blog page is a fun read! I like this 'self inflicted' hair cut, I would cut mine own too; brings back lovely memeories. Your photo's very sweet.
I like 'Butterfly Accordion Man' very much, the colours & his expression beautiful!
Peace, Sarah.

Julia said...

As the mom of a daughter who once painted her HAIR in preschool and is constantly decorating her body with markers and paints (though thankfully has NOT cut her hair yet), I loved this post. Thanks!

Dina said...

i cut my hair once..did not really get in trouble, but i am so bad at it at 37 i still can't even cut bangs