Rachel Zoe Defends 5-Year-Old Son’s Long Hair — a Sad Reminder That Outdated Gender Norms Are Real

Unsolicited advice seems to be part of the whole parenting package, and being a celebrity parent means much of that feedback comes from total strangers. Maybe it occasionally yields a pearl or two — who knows? But usually, it’s problematic at best. Rachel Zoe recently defended her five-year-old son’s long hair against social media criticism, which serves as a reminder that, yes, outdated gender norms still exist and, yep, “well-meaning” people are still out there perpetuating them.

During a new interview with People about Zoe’s collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids and Teen, talk naturally turned to the stylist-turned-designer’s sons with husband Rodger Berman: Skyler Morrison, 8, and Kaius Jagger, 5 ½. Right away, Zoe seemed to feel the need to justify Kaius’ hair, which is shoulder-length. “For the record, my son thinks he has cool surfer hair,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s not like I’m torturing him. He loves his hair. He thinks it’s cool.”

Consider it a preemptive strike. Zoe’s sons would be photographed for the People interview and, since she often shares photos of her kids on social media, she’s grown accustomed to getting negative commentary on Kaius’ hair. “A few days ago, someone said something like, ‘You know, Rachel, I think at this point your kids are old enough to where they’re going to start being made fun of for their long hair. You should really cut it and be nice to your sons,'” Zoe said. Her response? “Please unfollow me.”

For Zoe, it’s hard to comprehend how people feel emboldened enough in their own opinions on social media to criticize a child — or another person’s parenting style, just because it’s different from their own. “I think anyone who takes the time to insult someone’s child is pretty much a horrific human being,” Zoe told People.

She certainly makes a good point about the trouble with unsolicited parenting advice — especially when that advice contributes to outdated and potentially damaging stereotypes. Why should a parent have to defend long hair on boys, anyway? Who says boys shouldn’t have long hair? The notion is illogical, at best. See also: Jason Momoa.

Kids today are growing up in a society full of pressure and bullying, exacerbated by the fact that social media makes it impossible to escape from the constant dirge of public opinion. Is hair really something else they should have to worry about the implications of? The answer is no. Good for Zoe for letting her son be who he wants to be.

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