"What a beautiful little girl!". It didn't matter to the mom, but it was interesting. Put a boy in a headband and suddenly the world sees a little girl.
Here at Every Bean, we find that interesting. From our perspective, headbands are a way to add a little fun to a kid's head while keeping back that toddler hair that's either too precious to cut, or that your little one refuses to let you touch.
So where does that headbands-for-girls mentality come from? Especially when some of the strongest, roughest, toughest athletes in the world regularly don a band around their skulls?
Well, it comes from a surprisingly masculine place. As far as we can tell, some of the first instances of headbands came in the form of laurel wreaths in Ancient Greek times. Worn almost exclusively by men, laurel wreaths were a symbol of distinction for poets, athletes and other men accomplished in their craft or skill.
Across continents, headbands also popped up as hachimaki, in Japan. A piece of material tied around the forehead was meant to signify willpower, strength in character, or determination, which are still used today.
While there were many head adornments between then and now, they seemed to mostly take the form of turbans, headdresses, or head coverings. That is, until Coco Chanel and other designers of her time brought them back in full force. With the flappers came headbands -- this time, mostly for women. They were glittery and beaded, works of art in their own right. The feminization of headbands had happened.
However, headbands quietly persevered in athletics. Tennis pros, basketball players, and all other varieties of athletes (both men and women) sported headbands during games and matches. Despite being useful in holding back unruly hair and soaking up sweat, the flapper-esque idea of a headband as a feminine accessory never quite died.
So for the little boy in the headband I'd offer this. Do boys wear headbands, too? Of course they do. Throughout history some of the most accomplished, determined, fashionable, and hard-working humans have worn one. Sometimes those people have been boys, sometimes they've been girls.
Today, they can be whoever they want to be.