Girl Kicked Off Cheerleading Squad For Not Straightening Her Hair

Photo: Pete Saloutos/Getty Images.
Society, all too often, views curly hair as unprofessional, unruly, or untamed (all of which is false). Well, 11-year-old Texan Makayla Fallaw's coily mane has been deemed something else ridiculous: unfit for a cheerleading competition.

ABC 13 reports that Fallaw's cheerleading coaches told her she could wear her hair in its naturally curly state for practice, but would need to straighten it for competitions. Understandably, Fallaw's mother, Jenny, stepped in to defend her daughter. "Just a few weeks ago is the first time I had heard about a special hairstyle," Jenny told ABC 13. "I felt like it might make my daughter feel like her hair is not good enough because she's not like other girls."

Not only that, but straightening curly hair can often result in irreversible heat damage, which Fallaw's mother attempted to point out to the cheer director. "It would destroy her hair, so I wanted to explain to them my reasoning," she says.

Nonetheless, Fallaw was kicked off the squad for not complying with its rules. Kevin Tonner — the director of Woodlands Elite Cheer — says her boot from the team had more to do with Fallaw's attitude than her hair. "We were trying to make the exception. We were trying to find a compromise and a happy medium. And she wasn't willing to have a compromise. She was very defensive," Tonner told ABC 13. "It wasn't about hair. It was about we don't want this negativity on our team."

Sure, it makes sense that cheerleading teams often have certain looks that they're required to ascribe to — makeup and hair included — but coach Tonner states that not all of them require members to straighten their hair; this was a style his team chose.

In a day and age when more women are beginning to embrace, care for, and love their naturally curly hair, young girls can especially benefit from this self-love movement. Telling an 11-year-old that she needs to alter the hair she was born with is definitely not the right message. What do you think about the news? Was the team way out of line, or is the family overreacting? Let us know your feelings in the comments.

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