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Straight hair is a beauty 'norm' we should stop putting on a pedestal

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

How one girl was punished for having curly hair

If you have naturally curly hair, deciding to straighten it or keep it curly is, believe it or not, a huge part of growing up, especially for girls. The look is part of your identity, and whether or not you keep it natural should be your decision alone.

Unfortunately one girl from Tomball, Texas, had to choose between her gorgeous, naturally curly hair and doing what she loves to do — cheer. The cheerleading squad at her school has a strict, straight hair policy for all formal competitions, and when Makayla Fallaw's mother found out about it, she was furious.

"I felt like I might make my daughter feel like her hair is not good enough because she's not like other girls," her mother, Jenny, told ABC-13. But that wasn't the only issue. Fallaw's hair is very thick, and thus she has a particularly hard time straightening it. Her mother had a meeting with the cheerleading captain, Kevin Tonner, and while he claims they attempted to compromise on the issue, no resolution was reached. So sadly Fallaw was forced to leave the team she had worked to be on since age 4.

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As a fellow curl-haired female, I am intimately familiar with this plight. I used to ask my mother to straighten my hair every evening in high school, because I felt like I stuck out too much with my curls. It would take upward of an hour and left my hair super dry and full of split ends, but I felt like it was a necessary evil in order to fit in. However, it was never a mandatory hairstyle for me. I can only imagine what being told that your natural state is not acceptable would do to an 11-year-old's confidence.

The ironic thing is, most straight-haired women covet curly hair more than anything, and men tend to call it out as particularly attractive. I reached out to get some general opinions on the matter, and the overwhelming consensus was that curly hair is awesome.

Kim, a 29-year-old from Chicago, said, "I hated my curly hair growing up and would usually wear it in a bun to keep it hidden. But now it's definitely my favorite feature and always the first thing guys compliment me on."

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John, a 31-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, claims he only dates women with curly hair. "It's just so much sexier, especially if it's their natural curls. I don't know why anyone would want to tame that wild sexiness."

Kate, an actress from Los Angeles, felt compelled to straighten her curls for auditions. "When I first started going in for roles, all I'd see were girls with long, straight hair. I felt like I stood out, but in the worst way. So I decided to keep it straight, and it was a constant pain. I was getting up at 5:30 a.m. to make sure my hair looked perfectly flat for any on-camera work. Then one day my agent called and said a casting director told him I was perfect for a role, if only I had naturally curly hair. 'I gave away your little secret,' he said. 'I hope that's OK.' So the next day I screen-tested for the role with my natural head of curls, and that ended up being the first part I booked in LA."

No matter what silly fashion rules the world comes up with, your natural state is beautiful, and if you embrace it, you may discover a totally untapped power.

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