I shaved my head and donated over three feet of hair to the American Cancer Society and Locks of Love.
It would be really interesting to put together a photo essay of women with shaved heads or women who are defying gender roles in other ways. (I don't know how to word this eloquently... I don't believe gender roles should exist or that we should conform to them, I'm just acknowledging that they do exist and that people often do conform to them).
Going from waist-length hair to no hair at all was an eye-opening experience. I felt totally naked, exposed to the world. I realized how of much how we see ourselves is based on our appearance, and how easy it is to use hair, clothes, makeup, etc. as a security blanket that helps us hide from the world. This is true for both men and women. Our hair, our wardrobe, we view these as simply extensions of ourselves.
After I shaved my head, I was amazed at the responses I received from other people. Several of my classmates at university told me "I always pictured you as such a girly girl," despite the fact that I never wore makeup or anything other than jeans to class. They saw my long hair and, without taking any of my other qualities into account, categorized me as "feminine."
A lot of people asked me "why?" To them, I say, "why not?"
I was amazed at how many people were not supportive, but critical of my decision.
I actually got chastised for cutting off my hair:
"It was so beautiful!"
"Yes," I'd say, "and now it looks beautiful on someone else."
In the years since, I have heard similar reactions whenever I mention that I fully intend to do it again someday (I'm currently growing my hair out to meet the minimum length required for donations). I cannot tell you how many times I have had this conversation:
Me: "I loved having a shaved head and I will probably do it again someday" (or a variation: "Arrgh, my hair is getting too long and I'm looking forward to getting it cut"
Other person: "Nooooo. Don't! You should keep it long."
Me: "Umm... whose head is this, exactly? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's mine. And when I have long hair, it's falling in MY eyes and getting tangled when I ride MY bike, and I would really hate to think that you're the kind of person who would like me less if my hair were shorter."
That usually worked well.
Created: Nov 25, 2012Image Media