This week, our blogger friend Jackie at LittleOwlCrunchyMomma was humiliated (in absentia) on the Today show. She was made fun of by Kathie Lee because she doesn’t wash her hair with shampoo. You can see the clip for yourself here (starts at 6:40).
Juvenile insults (unfortunately) are one all-too-common way to get laughs. In this case, Kathie Lee steamrolled over Hoda’s (somewhat meek) attempts at a discussion of the topic and didn’t take one second to ask “why?” or provide any sort of intelligent insight. I might have asked what dermatologists would recommend (they may agree that too much shampoo is drying and unnecessary), or say “it’s not for me but more power to her.” Whatever the topic, I get so frustrated when people don’t even take a second to hear someone out. Even if it’s not for you … take the chance to learn something new. She must have a reason! Honestly, I have caught the show a few times and haven’t payed much attention to other topics on which Kathie Lee has ranted. But this time, I heard firsthand from Jackie that her feelings were hurt, and it made me rethink with regret how easily we as a society laugh at the expense of someone else in the name of “humor” on TV. And where do we draw the line for who is fair game … (e.g. somewhere between the woman next door and Miley Cyrus)?
And for the record, I believe whole heartedly in the freedom of choice – letting each woman decide what to do (or not to do) with her hair.
Leslie from Crunchy Betty wrote this open letter, which I am sharing with her permission, in support of Jackie and the others who get “mean girl” treatment for just being a little bit different.
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
Crunchy Betty’s Open Letter
Dear Kathie Lee and Hoda (but mostly Kathie Lee),
Just … shh.
For a minute. Let me talk. Let someone else talk. Please.
Yesterday, with the exceptional display of journalistic prowess only the two of you can pull off, you publicly shamed a woman. You know, just a little good-natured name calling of a commoner, in between Kathie Lee’s cringe-worthy lyric-forgetting and the best hair evah (EVAH) popular girls circle jerk. No harm, no foul, right?
I get it, girlfriends. I really do get it. You live in a world where you’re plied with products and serums and perfumes and creams made of extracts of baby albino tiger tears mixed with space-aged polymers coated in 200 karat gold. You don’t really know what’s going on *out here* unless your producers shove a bottle of wine and a paper covered in words in front of your face and say, “Don’t think. Just talk.”
I know there’s an in-touch part of you somewhere, it just happens to focus on things like the latest stiletto-wedge-ballet-pump from Jimmy Choo or what Lady Gaga ate for breakfast yesterday morning (extracts of baby albino tiger tears, no doubt).
But out here, ladies, something else is going on. And it’s something your producers won’t hand you a script for (something that would never please the overlord advertisers).
So even though you’re not in touch with it, it does exist. And the beautiful women you made fun of yesterday is a part of it. You can call it “crunchy” (cue Kathie Lee eye roll) or natural or alternative or big bang boopsie. I don’t care. Call it whatever you want, but to look down on it any longer doesn’t fly.
You see, there are thousands of women who have learned one very important thing in the last few years:
We’ve been lied to. We’ve been bamboozled. We’ve been hoodwinked. We’ve been hypnotized by a billion synthetic fragrances slowly stripping us, from the day we’re born, of every shred of the true *natural* humanity we’re a part of.
And because hundreds of women as brave as Jacquelyn Byers of LittleOwlCrunchyMomma have spoken out about their no ‘poo lifestyle, we know something you don’t:
Not washing your hair with shampoo doesn’t make you stink. Oh, maybe the first few days are rough, and then any whiff of off-putting smell is gone. It’s gone, and you know why? Because human bodies are designed to work in concert with nature, not battle with it.
We’ve also learned that the stink you cop to having after not washing your hair, Kathie Lee, has more to do with the things that you put IN your body than the things that you put ON your body.
A clean diet, more often than not, equals a cleaner smell. And that cleaner smell is quite easy to remove (and be free of), even if you only wash with water.
You can still bathe regularly, Kathie Lee, so you don’t have to worry about smelling like the people “back in the day before shampoo” who only bathed once every few weeks, at most. You can still enjoy other comforts of modern day life. Like, you know, razors and toothbrushes and those little family stick figures you put on your car’s back window. Except not the last part. Please, not those.
I don’t know why I expect more of you, but I do. I expect women in the media to be conscientious about the way they talk about new ideas and, even more so, the way they talk about people. About other women. And, for heaven’s sake, about other women and their relationship with their children.
The disrespect you showed Jacquelyn, simply because she does something you’re not brave enough to learn about, much less try, was nothing short of schoolyard bullying.
I have a friend, you know, who has two girls: ages 5 and 7. And when she caught her children making fun of another kid for having curly hair, do you know what she did? She curled their hair. For a week straight, the girls had curly hair, just so they understood what another person was feeling.
So I know that one of you – I’m guessing Hoda, because she seems to be the bravest of the gang – is going to swallow your pill and do the right thing now. If a 5-year-old and 7-year-old can do it, you can muster up the emotionally responsible fortitude to do it, too.
Don’t wash your hair.
For six weeks.
Do not wash your hair with shampoo. Heck, you could even go the no ‘poo with baking soda and apple cider vinegar route. But either way, no shampoo. For six weeks.
And then come back and talk to us about how awful it is. Then you can talk from an experienced point of view. Then, perhaps, you won’t sit up there on your ultra loud thrones and set the tone for other people to feel like it’s okay to be mean. And many of your viewers were mean. Nasty. Bleh.
Until then, it would be ever so kind if one of you would have a sit down with your producers and schedule a few interviews with women who don’t use shampoo. Get them in your studio. Right next to you. In your face.
So you can smell them. And eat crow.
(I hear it’s delicious this time of year.)
And goodness knows I’m not saying it will work for you. It may not! I mean, let’s be honest, it won’t, because it takes exquisitely detailed spritzing and teasing and coiffing to get you camera ready all the time. But what’s six weeks going to hurt, right? Time flies when you’re a celebrity.
Try it. It’s not like you’ll lose your job – unlike the way you do when you anger the masses by being heartless and snarky.
The worst that can happen is that you’ll stink. The best that can happen is that you’ll gain our respect – and a naturally beautiful head of hair in the process.