Society moves on from name-calling

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MY eldest daughter has the most magnificent hair – even if I do say so myself. It is flame red, thick and luxuriant and trails right down her back. But sadly I really don’t think she realises how lucky she is.

My boyfriend at the time made one small remark once that he thought this looked quite hot, and the next instant I was down at the hairdressers having all my naturally blonde stripped out as vivid red mixture was liberally applied over my head.

I remember the moment my new look hair was finally “revealed” to me. My initial feelings were both of fear and excitement. I was excited that my new look made me look so different, while at the same time afraid it wasn’t quite me. What I hadn’t realised was changing the colour of my hair would mean having to re-think not only my make up but also my whole wardrobe. As a top level pop star this sort of change goes with the territory, but as a normal run-of-the-mill wannabe, my budget sadly did not match this expectation.

And of course I soon got tired of the red. That and the fact it soon turned from brilliant bright red to a washed- out ginger look. This meant I was soon back to my bottle-blonde after just a year or so of my new look.

My daughter arrived screaming into the world with her brilliant red hair already attached. No one in either of our families had such hair so we were both a bit puzzled as to where it had come from, provoking lots of jokes about the milkman. If anything the red has become more intense over the years. And weirdly none of the other children has even one red hair in their heads. She is definitely a one-off.

Of course I love her hair, but I did fear it may lead to her being bullied at school.

Ginger hair is a natural magnet for bullies. In my bid to “help” her I bought her a red-headed doll to make her realise she was not alone and to show her just how beautiful her hair looked.

That was when I learned that she didn’t like dolls. In fact that is an understatement. She hates dolls, I discovered, with a passion. I realised that when she threw the offending toy down the stairs head first in her protest.

This week is Anti-Bullying Week and my daughter’s homework is to design a special poster for school to reflect this. I tentatively suggested she might want to draw a picture of her being sad at being called names for her hair alongside a happy picture of her with children complimenting her hair.

“But people don’t call me names, mummy,” she told me with a puzzled look on her face. “Why would you think they would?” From this I can only surmise that society seems to have moved on from childish name calling. And long may it last.

For further information about Anti-Bullying Week and initiatives taking place in Sheffield visit: http://www.sheffieldhealthyschools.co.uk