What does straight hair have to do with cheerleading? We don’t know either. But a Texas mom, Jenny Fallow, told ABC 13 her 11-year-old daughter was kicked off her cheerleading squad, all because she wouldn’t straighten her long, curly (beautiful!) hair.
Woodland Elite Cheer Company insisted Makayla straighten her locks for a competition, despite the fact that her mother said it would “destroy” her hair. Not to mention, it sends the message that there’s something wrong with curly hair. Makayla is biracial, so her cheer director Kevin Tonner told her, “I know other mixed kids and you can put relaxer in her hair.” Uhhh…
Tonner defended his remarks to ABC News, saying that cheer teams earn more points by having uniform hair and makeup. And it wasn’t just Makayla who was affected, either. Two other moms didn’t want to straighten their daughters’ hair, either. One mom gave in so her daughter could compete, while the other left the team.
Tonner argued that Makayla wasn’t kicked off the team because of her hair, but because of her mother’s bad attitude: “It wasn’t about hair…we don’t want this negativity on our team.”
Not cool. Hair is an especially racially charged, sensitive issue for many–it makes us sad that the Woodland Elite Cheer Company doesn’t understand it’s not OK to police girls’ bodies, especially because they’re seen as “different” from the mainstream norm.
Watch the entire ABC news interview below: