In this episode of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, a common issue faced by women of color is addressed: the struggle to love their hair. Sadly, many ignorant and cruel people in the world make those with textured hair feel ashamed or inferior simply because their hair isn’t straight. Let’s delve into the episode to see how this issue is tackled.
Lunella Loses Her Hair
After a tiring night patrolling the Lower East Side, Lunella crawls into bed without following her usual hair routine. The next morning, her mother Adria reminds her that she’s 13 years old now and needs to learn how to take care of her hair instead of depending on her mother. Adria encourages Lunella to love herself and her hair.
In science class, Picture Day at school is approaching, but Lunella doesn’t understand the hype about it until a girl criticizes her hair, saying that it always looks like a mess. This comment makes Lunella self-conscious about her hair.
Later, her friend Casey tells Lunella that she likes her hair and even tries to give her a new hairstyle. However, the curly texture of Lunella’s hair makes the style look big and poofy. Casey suggests that Lunella use a hair straightener to straighten her hair, but Lunella declines the suggestion because her mother Adria strongly rejects the idea of putting chemicals on their hair. Instead, Lunella comes up with the idea of creating a chemical-free hair straightener.
Lunella heads to her lab and creates a hair straightener, imagining how she’ll look for Picture Day. Unfortunately, her hair falls out, leaving her bald. This happens because Lunella, who has a habit of overdoing things, changed the molecular structure of her hair, causing it to become sentient, grab a pair of sunglasses, and leave the lab.
Confiding in Casey, Lunella says that her family cannot find out that she lost her hair. Casey reveals that she went through a wig phase and helps Lunella try on some wigs. They settle on a long, straight-haired wig called Sheba, just in time for a Moon Girl mission.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur are chasing Rockin’ Rudy, who has stolen some jewels. However, Lunella realizes that her helmet doesn’t fit because she’s bald and wearing a wig. Unbeknownst to her, her sentient hair, wearing a trench coat and hat with sunglasses, is watching her every move. Maneuvering itself to cause Devil to trip, the hair causes Rockin’ Rudy to get away. Lunella notices hair caught in Devil’s claws.
In science class the next day, the same girl who previously criticized Lunella’s hair now compliments her on how good it looks since it’s straight. However, when it’s time to turn in their robotics projects, Lunella’s project is destroyed, with pieces of hair sticking out of it. She tries to explain what happened, but the teacher removes her from the competition and refuses to give her more time to fix it. Casey notices that Lunella’s robotics kit says it’s Lunella’s hair caught in the robot.
Later that night, Lunella smells something funny and investigates, leading her to the kitchen, where something is cooking in a pot. When she lifts the lid, she hears the word “Sheba” and sees the wig boiling in water. She quickly puts the lid back on, gives an excuse to her family that she’s cooking soap, and heads to her room. Lunella calls Casey to explain, but Casey is understandably distraught because her wig collection was destroyed.
As Lunella is determined to find out who is destroying things, her hair slips into her lab and confronts her. The hair’s name is Mane, “the baddest super-villain there is,” who is hurt that Lunella didn’t love her hair, didn’t take care of her, tried to change her, and then replaced her with a cheap wig. Mane says Lunella turned her into a monster.
The Beauty in Black Hair
The next morning, Lunella opens up to her family about what happened. Adria and her grandmother Mimi take the opportunity to explain to her the societal pressure women of color face when it comes to their hair. Adria emphasizes the versatility and beauty of textured hair and its significance as a reflection of cultural identity and history. Mimi shares her own experience of damaging her hair with too much heat, and Adria reveals how skipping a crucial step in using a hair straightener caused her hair to fall out.
Lunella realizes that she too neglected a crucial step in her own experiment: using a neutralizer. Mimi reminds her that the most significant mistake was allowing someone else’s opinion to make her doubt herself. They urge her to always be proud of who she is.
Determined to make things right, Lunella creates a neutralizer for her hair straightener and transforms into Moon Girl to find Mane, who is hiding out at The Hair Lair. Mane evades Moon Girl’s attempts to neutralize her hair, leading to a confrontation. Moon Girl admits to taking her natural hair for granted and confesses that she missed it. Mane also admits that she missed her natural hair, and they realize they make a good team. Mane allows Devil to spray her with the neutralizer and, miraculously, Lunella is reunited with her natural hair, looking as she did before. Mane asks Lunella to take good care of her hair, and it will take care of her in return.
By the end of the episode, Lunella learns to appreciate and love her natural hair, realizing the importance of self-love and acceptance. The episode also highlights the impact of societal beauty standards and the value of celebrating diversity and individuality.