When I cut my hair, it wasn’t a political statement. I just wasn’t doing anything with all the hair on my head really. Plus, and maybe more importantly, I wanted some of that magic that I saw amongst women who had chosen to rock short hair. To me, they exuded a certain “Je ne said quoi! If I had to describe it, it would be an intense medley of self-assuredness and edgy, sexy cool, with a dash of ‘mind your business!”. I wanted that.
I’ve always had a good head of hair but I’d never questioned why I kept it so long. Once I did cut my hair, it was simply one of the best decisions I have ever made! I felt so gorgeous and honestly loved loved LOVED who I saw in the mirror! I looked so much more interesting and fabulous. Plus, the new hair was low maintenance, I could simple wake up, ruffle it and go! It was utterly liberating and definitely one of the biggest self image boosters I have ever had.
Again, it wasn’t politically motivated, but it ended up being a very political decision. This is because it’s impossible to separate women bodies from politics since society holds women in its constant gaze and wants to have a say over their bodies. People first needed an explanation; asking if the hair cut was in response to a dramatic life change. “No it wasn’t” I responded. I also noticed that everyone else seemed more attached to my lost locks than I ever had been. Yeesh!! I was even more glad to have cut it off then! I hushed such people by asking them “Is it not fabulous? Why not appreciate that instead?”. I remember a similar attitude when I decided to go natural over 10 years ago.
We grow up with an unconscious attachment to long hair. “Hair is a womans crown” they say. Almost everyone on TV, at the supermarket or at church has long flowy hair. Look at the standard shampoo ads which don’t even bother to show kinky, natural hair, implicitly saying: “hair that is straight, long and flat is better”. I remember an ex’s mother advising me that long hair was good because the men liked it. As if what I did with my hair was anybody’s business.
Women grow up with constant messaging that what they want for themselves is irrelevant. Rather, what they wear, who they are, how they express themselves, MUST be SOLELY based on what others currently or will want them to be…you know…for that unknown man that might come along and choose you as a wife (yuck to that method) or have no choice but to rape you. This attitude pervades not just beauty, but also careers, and even the choice to be pregnant. (See Mothers day/Martyrs day article).
So I had inadvertently made a statement when I chose myself and my preferences. The statement was that I matter. My choices matter. What I like and want for MYSELF matters. I do not care about your opinion, or the male/societal gaze. MIND YOUR OWN HEAD! I had made a statement. Fortunately, it was and continues to be the right one.