…especially when you’re a baby in Chile. Yes, bald (or nearly bald) babies are prized here. Why? Pampers and Johnson & Johnson ads, of course.
Chileans, like most of us, are heavily influenced by Hollywood and media in general. Ads here display tall, fair skinned people. While I’ve seen some ads with dark haired models, I’ve seen few if any with dark skinned models. To be fair, there are plenty of fair-skinned Chileans from the heavy European influence here. Still, darker features are the norm but are poorly represented in advertising.
These advertisements seem to reflect (or define?) the general consensus that tall and fair are marks of beauty.
Enter: the baby.
I’ve learned that most Chilean babies are very hairy, born with lots of black hair. While newborns with thick heads of hair is rather novel in the north — believe me, I remember the fuss people made over my little brother’s wild baby ‘fro — it’s commonplace here. And, in order to look like their fair skinned counterparts in the North, the mothers here have their baby’s locked shaved off before leaving the hospital. Really.
There’s an old wives tale here that if you’ll shave your baby’s thick, black hair, it will grow back more healthily. My Chilean running partner just shakes her head. “The real reason is that they think a bald baby is more beautiful!”