Can a stranger’s hair be touched if it is really long and looks?
Most would probably answer no, but based on Milli Nelskylä's daughter's experience, a simple question seems to be a headache for many.
That is why Nelskylä from Espoo published a special request on Facebook last week on Espoo bus radio.
She appealed to all the people of Espoo: leave my daughter's hair alone.
The daughter had informed her mother that she wanted to cut her hair short.
Nelskylä's 10-year-old daughter Sara Nelskylä has been growing her hair all her life.
"Hair has always been a very important part of Sara's essence," Milli Nelskylä concludes.
Sara Nelskylä, who has also done model work, recalls that her hair began to attract people’s attention when she was about seven.
By then, they were already beginning to have plenty of length and thickness.
That's when the touch also began.
“Mostly in schools and shopping malls,” Sara Nelskylä talks about situations where strangers touch her hair.
At school, hair is mainly touched by children, but outside school, the touchers are adults.
According to Sara Nelskylä, adult people may not say anything until they grab her hair.
"I only notice, surprisingly, that someone is sticking to their hair," says Sara Nelskylä.
“Once we were in a restaurant when someone unknown quite suddenly grabbed Sara’s hair from behind.
Yes, it is scared, ”Mom Milli Nelskylä recalls.
In addition to the fright, Sara says that touching her hair without asking permission feels uncomfortable.
If the mother notices the situation, she says she politely tells the gripper that this should not touch the daughter’s hair.
However, it only became clear to Milli Nelskylä that situations would happen even when her daughter was alone.
“I haven’t dared to say anything in those situations.
I sometimes tug on my head off, "Sara says Nelskylä.
According to Milli Nelskylä, they have now practiced for such situations and discussed that people should not say no.
Nelskylä’s publication garnered a wealth of comments in which people admired the child’s hair, but also identified with his experiences and condemned touching others ’hair without permission.
A few commentators linked the phenomenon to touching the stomach of pregnancy - based on experience, many people seem to have the perception that pregnancy makes the body public, as a result of which the belly of a pregnant woman can be unauthorized.
Researcher Riikka Homanen, among others, has sidelined the issue in her dissertation completed in 2013.
The unwanted touch is also familiar to many people with afro hair, said a few commentators.
The topics have been discussed little in the Finnish media, but extensively in English.
For example, the U.S. newspaper The Financial Times wrote last November how women with afro-hair might straighten their hair or wear wigs at work just to avoid people’s curious but unwanted hands in their hair.
In the comments to Nelskylä's publication, many recalled that both adults and children have the right to their own body and integrity.
Originally, Sara Nelskylä had told her mother she wanted to cut her hair so she could donate it for wigs for children with cancer.
The real reason was only revealed when the mother asked for a more specific reason.
Now the cutting plans are on ice for a while.
“We are looking at whether the unwanted hair touch will end or decrease now,” Milli Nelskylä says.
“If Sara herself wants her hair to be snapped short, then of course it’s okay.
But the reason has to be your own will and not the fact that strangers touch them without permission, ”he says.