Has anyone else out there had that awkward moment when you facebook creep on your ex-boyfriend from a few years ago and…
You both have the same haircut?
Yeah? No? Well that happened to me yesterday. And I laughed out loud with glee. You see, I am a white, queer, cis-woman with SHORT hair. Not shoulder short or chin short. No, normally my hair is two inches long… when I grow it out. Yeah I cut my hair “like a boy” and I love it. It’s easy to manage. It’s fun to play around with. It’s a GREAT conversation piece.
For me, it’s also a political statement.
I’ve always had and obsession with short hair. I remember at seven years old I would always beg my hair dresser to cut my hair short. Unfortunately, the premise in my house was that “girls have long hair” and since I wasn’t footing the bill… my hair remained long. It began the downward spiral that so many people, especially women, go through… that my body is not mine. That the society around me could dictate how I was supposed to look.
Who I was supposed to be.
My story is not unique to me. Nor is my hair the only thing that the environment around me looked to control. Messages at the micro (friends and family) to the macro (advertisements) continually tell people who they are, what they should look like, what they should wear, how sexual to be, and so forth. Everywhere around us, there are continuously reminders of how society is petrified with strict gender norms surrounding appearances.
So, in a act of rebellion against thses norms, I cut my hair short every 6 weeks (oook maybe every three months when I get busy).
Now I love my hair and everything it says, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t get insecure about it. I am told by friends and family (funny enough… always male) that I would “look soooo much better with long hair.” After these comments, I always get a little sheepish because I never know what to say. “Um thanks sexist asshole/best friend/dad?” Like really, what should I do with that, dear critic?
OH I KNOW! Cut my hair shorter!
I could write something elquent about giving the finger to society but Jada Smith, Willow Smith’s mom, says it perfectly when answering critics about why she let Willow cut her hair in such a badass fashion:
“The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.”
Preach it, Jada!
So here is my challenge to you – take back control of what is rightfully yours. Buzz your hair. Pierce your nose, nipple, carriage, or whatever suits you. Get that tattoo you want. Wear clothes that make you comfortable. Try something different. Eat that piece of chocolate. Fuck it, eat two.
Already done that? Fucking righteous! Now empower those around you. If your friend is thinking about doing something drastic with her/his appearance – support it! If you see someone with a badass tattoo – tell them! If you’re out to dinner with friends and people want to order dessert but are worried about the calories – order it(unless there is a medical concern).
So, wonderful readers, recognize your agency. YOU have control over you! Go forth and be fabulous!