Boys With Long Hair

Little Guys With Long Hair

In Advocate by El Rubio27 Comments

This is a topic we’ve had on our minds for some time: boys with long hair.

We recently received a letter from the mother of a young longhair named Arthur—seven years old at the time of this post. It was so heartfelt we were compelled to share it, with her permission.

This topic goes far deeper than just one kid growing his hair out, and there are many layers. We’ll cover more of those next time, but this story illustrates many of them.

With that we have a video message for Arthur, posted below, and for all the little guys with long hair out there. And to any punk kids hassling them about their locks.

Read the letter. Watch the video. And high five a little longhair out there.

 

Dear Longhairs,

These pictures are of my seven year old son, Arthur. He is a bold, confident, and hilarious little guy (in case that wasn’t apparent from his ninja space knight costume!). His hair hangs down to his waist and he LOVES it. Kids who are his age and younger are fairly easy going about it; they mistake him for a girl no matter what he is wearing, but when he corrects them they move on with their day. Everyone plays, has a great time, and forgets about the hair.

Unfortunately, older kids, even if they’re only a year or two older, have a much different outlook. Some kids think it’s funny to keep calling him a girl, some insist only girls can have long hair so he must want to be a girl, and some tell him they are ‘creeped out’ by long hair on guys. He has two main responses he uses with kids:

1) He reminds them that this is his body and he likes his hair the way it is. If they don’t like long hair, they don’t have to have it.

2) He reminds them that popular characters like Thor have long hair. And if they’re really rude, he reminds them that religious figures like Jesus had long hair, so either they’re just being rude or Jesus creeps them out.


That usually sends hecklers on their way. If not, he knows to walk away, find a trusted adult, and report the incident. He knows that these kids just don’t know how to be friends and that a teacher or a parent will help them understand why their behavior isn’t okay – it’s not his job to teach them.

When adults heckle him, I step in immediately. No kid should be confronted by rude, antagonistic adults! I remember an event that happened in 2014 that still burns me up. An elderly man was complimenting Arthur on his good behavior in a very long grocery line. He mistook Arthur for a girl and I quietly and politely corrected him. Most people just make an honest mistake – they’re so used to the overwhelming majority of long hair wearers being female that they jump right to that conclusion.

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But this man…this man was so rude. He heard me, looked right at Arthur and told HIM, “tell your mom to cut your hair so you’ll be a real boy.”

A real boy?! Excuse me?! And to address a child directly, to throw some trash like that at a child, was unbelievable. I loudly corrected him, “Excuse you! He IS a real boy, and you are WAY out of line. How dare you? If you have something to say, you say it to ME, coward! Don’t you dare talk to my son again.”

Someone from the store quickly ushered him to another line and the cashier in our line took great care to compliment Arthur’s hair when we reached her. She reaffirmed for him that what that man said was completely out of line. And her speaking led others in the line to speak up as well. Arthur felt a little better, but that night he repeated that foolish man’s words and asked if his hair meant he wasn’t a real boy. He was just five years old.

That jerk of a man was one of many, both men and women, who have taken it upon themselves to put their gender bias onto my son, but thankfully most people keep it between me and them. And I have no problem pointing out the utter ridiculousness of their bias.

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There’s one thing that I wish all these biased people could understand—one thing I learned the hard way. See, I’m an open-minded woman. My husband had long hair when I met him (though he ended up having to chop it to get work), I was a crisis counselor for LGBT teens when I was younger, I’ve attended the religious services of many different faiths – I try to see the world from all perspectives so I can better understand who we all are. But even I had biases when my son was born. I automatically kept his hair short because…that’s what people do, right? I dressed him in red, blue, green, and black because that’s what people do…at least according to the boy’s section in department stores. But that all changed right before Arthur turned three.

My happy, fearless, chatty kiddo was a little quiet one day, and then quieter the next, and even quieter the next. Doctors said it was just a virus but something didn’t feel right. By day four he wouldn’t get up off the floor, his eyes had red rings around them, his hands and feet were swollen, his tongue was red, and his lips were peeling.

By the following evening we were in the hospital with a diagnosis of Kawasaki Disease. He was burning up from the inside out – remaining at 105 degrees and over despite constant fever reducing efforts. This kid…he stared death in the face for days. The first two treatment options didn’t work, but after a week, the third option worked and he started on the road to recovery.

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It was when I was lying in the bed beside him, watching him silently fight for his life, as he was surrounded by ice, yet burning at life-threatening temperatures, that I thought, “What the hell am I doing?” Even when he was that little, he knew exactly who he was and what he wanted. I was the one who was holding him back because I was afraid of the teasing he would face. I didn’t want him to have to face bullies, to be questioned by adults, to be judged for his choices…

But of course, holding him back also meant restricting his life and keeping him from expressing who he really was. And then he was there, near death, and I hadn’t let him be himself. I vowed in that bed that I wouldn’t hold him back any more and WOW, what a change! He stormed through physical therapy as his hair grew. He began to do theater and sing! And he is so alive!! He chose to compete in figure skating and Taekwondo, to perform in ballet and theater and to kick booty in hockey, and he couldn’t be happier.

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In the interest of keeping him “safe” I’d kept him from all these experiences. And it took him almost dying in my arms to open my eyes to my own bias and fears.

So, how did this all lead me to The Longhairs? Well, Arthur is passionate about his hair and was interested in hearing from men who have long hair. I’d searched YouTube for speakers and found lots of women but very few men. At least very few that I could show my seven year old! But when I found your group, I could tell it was the right one. Just a wee bit salty but overall a great, appropriate channel advocating and educating the longhair public.

He has watched several videos now and he is hooked! He retains every tip and trick, and he talks about you guys now when older kids give him grief. Thank you so much for the work that you are doing – it means a lot to us!!!

Sincerely,
Mae, James, and Arthur


Nearly made a few guys choke up there Mae! And pumped you found us, ‘cause that’s what we’re here to do.

Advocate. Educate. And Celebrate.

And to all the boys with long hair, here’s what we have to say about that.

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Do you have a kid, or a story about a kid, with long hair? Thoughts on this matter? Don’t keep it to yourself. Comment below.

Comments

  1. Honestly I truly believe in the phrase. To each their own way. You do You and don’t let anyone else tell you what to do.

  2. If little Arthur reads this, I would want him to know how proud we all are of him for being so strong in the face of adversity. I started growing my hair near the end of high school, it took so long to try because my parents didn’t think I’d be capable of properly caring for it. However, I think the same bias scared them into not allowing it earlier. I remember a friend I made in elementary school, he had long hair at one point, but said he eventually cut it because so many people, both kids and adults, teased him for looking like a girl.

    I don’t think people understand the true impact of their words, that what they’re saying to a child can be forever damaging. I know from personal experience, but I won’t touch on that here. I am so glad to see that this little man is resolute in being unique, and true to himself. He’s so right, there are so many famous, and inspirational figures that walked that path with long hair. I’m a native, and most people’s view of us, however misconceived, is usually long flowing hair as a key component of our identity. Greek gods from Zeus, Poseidon, and Aries to a myriad of celebrities who often grow their hair out between movies.

    One of my favorite biblical stories is the story of Samson, who’s immense power was drawn from his long hair. His long hair was so much of his unique identity that, without it, he becomes powerless; he was just another average joe.

    I hope you continue to be a very unique Arthur, and not allow someone to turn you into an average joe. I’ve found that most guys who have something to say about my hair are usually jealous that their wife or girlfriend can’t keep their hands out of it. People remember who you are, because you stand out from the crowd of boring carbon copies.

    This story made me cry, and I’m never afraid to admit it because REAL men DO cry. Real men don’t let society tell them what the correct look, hobby, words or actions are to continue to be viewed as a man. You are more of a real boy than those who follow the crowd in believing those biases. Arthur’s courage is so powerfully inspirational, and is a testament to the loving, nurturing home he’s living in. I’m certain he will have a very successful, and fulfilling life. I hope I can do the same for my baby girl ❤️

    1. Author

      Nick straight from the heart man! Thanks for you comment man, appreciate your remarks and I’m sure Arthur does too.

  3. According to Mystery School teachings, having an opinion is THE worst thing a human can do. It locks you into a box where you completely miss the extraordinary, limitless variety of the Universe we live in. Far too many people are locked into their little boxes and refuse to believe that there might be other ways of living/being/perceiving/experiencing life on this planet. They are the ones who will never grow as long as that box remains tightly closed.
    Congratulations, Arthur. You are a giant among the human race for being yourself and not allowing any restrictions to be imposed on expressing who you are. Walk with your head held high knowing that you are so much further along the path of spiritual growth than the majority who only want to hold you back. It took me far too many years to come around to that realization… so I’m into my 3nd year of having long hair. YES!
    Look into what it means to be an Indigo Child. You might find some interesting revelations.

    El Rubio and El Moreno, thank you for posting that letter and keep on doing what you do.

  4. What a compelling story, and RIGHT ON to that mom for publicly telling that old man off for his hurtful and rude behavior. I’m sure he learned nothing, but imagine the impact that incident had on the tens of people around that saw the incident—society progressing one person at a time! Thank you guys for being a meeting place to consolidate the ideas and goals of all of us longhairs.

  5. Shorthairs are a dime a dozen. Longhairs are unique. Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary? Longhairs are extraordinary.! We have the opportunity to make a difference. I for one give my hair to help others through hair donations while impacting the lives of women and children who do not have hair. Shorthairs don’t have that ability. Many have a gift that keeps on giving–namely hair. Shorthairs give up that gift while Longhairs can impact the lives of others with our hair and the stories we share. Or as Gandhi once said, “Be the ehange you wish to see in the world”. So Longhairs, keep being the change!

  6. It’s sad that we live in a society that’s so close minded. People still say the same things to me as an adult as well, its pathetic. Glad to see Arthur is a strong willed little guy let’s hope he keeps his mane flowing for may years to come!

  7. Love this! Let’s all keep on working to banish ridiculous gender stereotypes, and keep our dignity in the process, just like Arthur and Mae. I hope it is made clear to Arthur and all kids (boys and girls) like him, that your hair is YOURS and society has no right to tell you what you can or can’t do with it. I’m going to tell my future children that if you’re a decent human being, work hard and have a good personality, having long hair as a guy (or short hair as a girl) will NOT stop you from getting jobs or dates. Keep up the good work El Rubio and El Moreno! You have my full support.

  8. hey dudes awesome post as always! quick question when will you guys re up on hats in the mens aisle? thanks dudes!

    keep it long and strong

    1. Author

      Workin on it MANG! It will be at least a few weeks. Trying to get those all blacks out to ya. Thanks for asking EB stay tuned!

  9. I’m 16 years old. Ever since I was a little kid I have wanted longhair. About a year and a half ago I decided I was growing it out no matter what. Now my hair goes down my collarbone. I want my hair to go as far down as my butt, but that’ll take a few years. I have already got harassment from even my closest friends to cut my hair . It’s just a cultural thing that’s been instilled in people’s minds. They don’t like it because that’s not what we have been taught over the years. In my high school there were about seven guys including myself with hair long enough to tieback. Some of them graduated, and when school starts I will have to count how many seniors with long hair we lost and how many freshman we gain. I am hoping the pointless harassment dies. Longhair is becoming more and more popular on men, just very slowly . I am still in high school, and I don’t ever want to cut my hair again. I hope it becomes so popular and common that I will not have to worry about cutting it for work. The discrimination and harrassment will die. I hope all men will one day have long hair, just because it is so fantastic. ( I wish I was Native American, because almost all Native American men have long hair, and it’s acceptable. I think the longhairs should write a celebrate article about the natives.)

  10. I told my sons (both down-to-their-backs long hairs – currently 11 and 14) about Arthur and they send big support to his incredible energy and zest for life. 🙂

    I also wanted to share that as we were discussing being young Longhairs the most annoying part for my youngest is not when they mistake him for a girl, which they almost always do, but when they then profusely apologize for getting it wrong. He’s like, “Got it, now we can all move on without all the apologies. [insert eyeroll from him]”

    I thought that was an interesting take on his experience.

    Please know we’re huge fans of The Longhairs!!! Thanks for doing what y’all are doing and being who you are. <3

    Mica, Michael, and Mason

    1. Author

      Mica! It’s great to hear from you!! And we thought about you doing this post. Thanks for sharing yours and your boys’ experiences and give Michael and Mason our regards from The Longhairs HQ. If y’all are ever in San Diego we hope you’ll come visit. Thanks for taking the time to comment and stay close!

  11. I have an almost 7-year-old long hair. And when i say long hair, i mean never had a haircut long hair.
    When i was pregnant with him i casually decided i wouldn’t cut his hair, not a whole lot of thought to it, i just always thought boys with long hair were beautiful and have always been sickened at seeing toddler boys get their locks buzzed off.
    So i did. He was born with a lot of already long hair and it just grew and became very much a part of him, like he was destined to have long beautiful hair. And ever since the beginning of his life, he had been mistaken for a girl every opportunity anyone had to address it. Including people that had been told previously that he was a boy. At first i didn’t correct anyone, and he was too little to understand anyway, but as he got older, i became bolder with how i handle the comments, and now he handles the situation himself. There have been times he has gotten upset, because kids will relentlessly argue with him about his gender(i know right). But i remind him that both girls and boys can have short or long hair, and to use it as a reminder to not judge others by their appearance, but to get to know them for who they are on the inside.
    Now besides the journey of having a little man being called a girl almost on the daily, i myself as an adult, mother, and member of society, have learned a lot about our culture in general.
    My son has gone through many phases during his little life of things he is into, such as Dora the Explorer, cooking, babies, and even a short lived My Little Pony phase. Now for some strange reason, those are a few of many things that are very much only manufactured for a specific gender, being female. And it makes me wonder, who on earth decided which gender should enjoy what? Why is pink only meant to be enjoyed by girls? And very obviously splashed all over everything that is meant to only be enjoyed by girls?
    Who decided that little boys have to buzz their heads in order to be seen as masculine?
    Or play with monster trucks?
    Or with “action figures” instead of dolls?
    Why does my little boy have to defend his masculinity because he has a long braid down his back?
    Just questions i have asked myself and maybe we as a society should be asking.
    In my opinion needs to be reevaluated, considering from the beginning of human existence men didn’t cut their hair, but somewhere along the line we have decided that it is no longer acceptable.

    1. Author

      So happy to have you write in MOS 🙂 National Geographic did a fantastic special issue titled, “Gender Revolution.” It covers many of the topics you’ve mentioned here, and worth reading.

      Thanks so much for commenting. It means a great deal to have mothers as part of our community. Please tell your son The Longhairs got his back.

  12. Thank you for the link. I will definitely read it.

    I have been looking for a group like this for a while, don’t know why I haven’t found you until now. I am so honored and grateful that you are paving the way for my son. Not just for him to grow up as a man with long hair, but to be himself, no shit accepted. I really appreciate the sincerity of what you do. It will come back full circle, no doubt.

  13. today, did i meet a mother with her long haired son ( 9 years old)
    the decision of growing out his hair was his decision and the parents did respect and support his choice
    in the school, he his not any bullied by the other kids, and accepted as a boy who wears long hair ( in France, you see many long hair men with often a hair bun)
    but the teacher ask the parents cut their son’s hair; what they refuse !!!
    in that country, there’s no dress code in the elementary schools, and the teacher must transmit to the kids the notions of freedom, equality and brotherhood ( the basement of the constitution)
    there’s not any sexual confusion; this boy sees himself as a boy, and a future husband and father, and i can’t accept this abuse of authority; then, no matter to send that kid to the barber’s !!!
    i’ ve said the mother that if this problem becomes to much hard, i can go with the parents to the school for learning to the teacher what contains the word ” liberty” wich is engraved on any public administration’s wall !!!!
    in 1970, the singer Michel Polnareff was said in the well thinking papers as a notorious gay ( it was a crime in that time…), then assaulted during a concert for his effeminate look and his longhair ( probably the ” Civic Action Service, security service” of the conservative party)
    he answered in a song ” je suis un homme” that he were absolutely heterosexual, and that much women could attest
    video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-OfcQc19X0
    the text in french language: http://musique.ados.fr/Michel-Polnareff/Je-Suis-Un-Homme-t91338.html
    and 50 years later, the fight continues… rien appris, tout oublié !!!

  14. dear mrs ” Mommy of Samson”
    i agree with the idea your son wears longhair; it’s your right and i must wear my sword for defending you against any oppression ( 2nd amendment)
    but you will must also accept what will be his choice ( if he decides by himself to cut it)
    you have reason to say that the gender activities are now less fixed; am i less a man as the only times i went to a stadium it was for a concert of classical music?
    am i less a man when i go to the opera house or at a picture exhibition?
    am i less a man when i play with the children?
    and as the other children sees him as a longhaired boy or a shorthaired girl; in that case, thats individual freedom; no psychiatry case and no matter to repress

    1. Thank you for your support. And I have accepted that at some point he may want to cut it. And I am ok with that. Yes it will suck because I have become attached to it myself, but regardless, it is his life, his body, his choice. I just don’t ever want him to make choices for himself because of what others think, that is what I am trying to enstill in him.

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