"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Women And Hair

So, I'm loving on Autostraddle right now, and I just found this post about haircuts (read the comments for more discussion). It's primarily about long hair vs. short hair when you're a lesbian, but it got me thinking about something I read somewhere the other day/week/month/year about long vs. short for women in their 20s. This second article I'm referring to was likely geared toward straight women, although of course pretty much nobody clarifies that because duh, of course we're talking about straight people, right?!? I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it.

Anyway, apparently I'm not the only 20-something woman feeling torn over long vs. short hair; this article claimed it has to do with age, and that since long hair is associated with youth, and short hair is associated with maturity, much like in the rest of our lives, 20-something women can't figure out whether we're adults or not.

The point is, why do women have to worry about their hair so much? Do gay men worry about what their haircut is "communicating"? Seriously, someone tell me. I don't know any straight dudes who care too much; for example, my boyfriend's qualifications for a haircut are as follows:
  1. Doesn't make me look like a tool
  2. Allows me to wear baseball caps
 He doesn't worry, in a specific fashion, about how people will interpret his appearance; he just doesn't want to look stupid. The biggest thing he worries about is whether freshly-cut hair should go above or over his ears (he only worries about this because he doesn't know which it's "supposed" to be; I solved this conundrum by accompanying him to his latest haircut and telling the stylist to cut it above). Of course, I'm not sure if this a straight dude thing or just an SBT* thing; SBT is, in general, astoundingly indifferent to the opinions of others (except mine, of course :D).

It just seems to me that women have to think more about how they present themselves to the world--but maybe it's just marginalized groups in general. I hear that some black people worry about natural hair vs. relaxed; I read something written by an Asian-American woman that discussed hair as a cultural signal. I'm sure haircut/style can be pretty important to those of non-"traditional" gender presentation, as well as to non-cissexual people; but is that different? Are those individuals who use their hair as communication glad of the opportunity to do so? More or less glad than a cisgendered white woman who loves using her hair as a tool?


If anyone read this blog, I could hope for some replies that would help educate me. However, the only readers I'm certain of are pretty much just like me, so, yeah. Such is life. Anyone?

*Strange Bearded Thing, which is boyfriend's newly adopted name on this blog

1 comment:

  1. I tried short hair once and ended up looking like Jennifer Grey from Dirty Dancing. So, yeah... I am keeping my hair long.