ASU study: Majority of Black girls reported bullying, hair touching without permission

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 12:10pm

A study done by researchers with Arizona State University found that Black girls as young as 10 have experienced bullying and teasing related to their hair. The study surveyed 105 girls aged 10 to 15. 

The majority of all age brackets said they have had their hair touched without permission, with the highest rate being 12-year-old's at 81%. 

Although rates of those reporting bullying was generally lower across all ages, and less consistent. 

According to ASU professor of psychology and the paper’s senior author Marisol Perez, most kids said criteria for good and bad hair came from the media. 

“So one of the things that really struck a chord with a lot of youth was that they would get compliments when they straightened their hair, when they wore it in ways that promoted more Eurocentric beauty ideals," Perez said.

Project researcher Lesley Williams with the Mayo Clinic says the rates of reporting those experiences went up as age did as well. 

"In those younger ages, just getting the attention at first feels positive right? Someone’s noticing me, someone’s noticing my hair, someone’s paying attention to me. And it takes them a little while to grow developmentally that that might not have been good attention," Williams said. 

The researchers also discussed ways the kids cope with bullying or teasing due to their hair. 

The study was funded by the Dove Self Esteem Project and will be published in the journal Body Image. 

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