Are girls with short hair damaged?
My hairstylist paused as he was about to cut my hair off and asked me again, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, go ahead and cut it.” I was mildly annoyed with him for asking repeatedly, for making this such a big deal.
But it is apparently a huge deal for a woman to cut her hair short in our culture, a big enough deal for men to write an article on why girls with short hair are damaged.
Published by Return Of Kings, a blog “for heterosexual, masculine men”, the author Tuthmosis writes that “long hair’s almost universally attractive to men… Women instinctively know this, which is why every American girl who cuts, and keeps, her hair short often does it for ulterior reasons.Short hair is a political statement… Not only is short hair unattractive, it’s one of the biggest signals a man can get that a woman is damaged beyond repair. There’s no such thing as ‘pulling it off’.”
The core of his argument is this: men love women with long hair, so why would any woman in her right mind do anything that decreases her physical appeal to men?
Shoving the middle finger at men
It is amusing to me that there are people in the world who believe that women exist solely to cater to men’s boners. Women’s hair is bound in ideals of femininity, and a source of constant male judgement.
The manosphere really hates short-haired girls. Apparently wearing our hair short, or making any other personal life choice that works against the imperative to be as conventionally attractive to patriarchy as possible, is like shoving a huge middle finger at men.
Nevertheless, articles like these are an asset to feminists. They highlight misogyny, sexism, and the underlying shit women deal with on a daily basis. To me, articles like these legitimise the work that feminists are doing and are fighting against.
Incidentally, the article reminded me of the first time I cut my hair short. I was six years old and behaved like this at the hair salon.
Cliché as it may be, I went home and buried my face in my pillow and cried for three whole hours, resenting my mother for forcing me into the haircut. The boys-have-short-hair, girls-have-long-hair mentality has long been ingrained in all of us and the pressure to subscribe to the traditional notions of femininity can come as early as six years old.
The unfortunate truth I learnt while waiting for my hair to grow is that women are judged more by what covers their head than what is in it.
Yes, I did it
The second time I chopped off my locks was just a week ago. I sat on the swivelling chair and watched 11 inches of my hair, secured by three black elastics, fall onto the marble tiles of the salon and was surprised when I felt nothing at all.
A few hours after my haircut, I bumped into a friend of my boyfriend. We chatted briefly and parted ways but 15 minutes later, I received a WhatsApp text from my boyfriend because his friend thought my haircut was a result of our breakup.
To add on, a frequently asked question regarding my haircut is “OMG, what made you do it?”
I can’t say I am particularly shocked that society feels a young, sane girl has to justify cutting her hair. But isn’t it a little worrying that a bunch of dead cells and amino acids on one’s head hold this much power?
And isn’t it strange that we often talk about chopping off our locks as “liberating?”
Why I cut my hair short
Frankly, a haircut is just that. A haircut. It is not a rejection of femininity nor an attempt to change gender. It isn’t a deliberate attempt to make a political statement – mostly, anyway.
It is a haircut. Period.
The only reason why I snipped off my hair to a length between a short bob and pixie is merely because I think I look good in it.
Never mind that you think that my life goal is to get hitched. Never mind that my short hair now decreases the odds of securing a husband.
People say to me, “I wish I could do that too.” And I say, “Why don’t you?”