In March of 2020, I succumbed to what would evolve into a well-liked quarantine trend — shaving my head.
The start of the pandemic was seen as a time when folks might experiment with issues within the consolation of their very own residence, so the prospect of primarily staying indoors with my new haircut appeared all too good to be true. To not point out that the maintenance would value me nothing, save the $15 I initially spent on some low cost clippers.
When my brother did one thing comparable, he wasn’t confronted with the identical shocked reactions as me. There’s this societal expectation for feminine-presenting folks, particularly girls, to have long hair and for masculine-presenting folks to have brief hair.
This isn’t as inflexible of a divide anymore, particularly now after we see the idea of gender altering. However hairstyles nonetheless typically fall inside this arbitrary binary. Lengthy hair might imply that somebody is wholesome and cared for in lots of cultures, no matter gender, but it surely grew to become related as a feminine trait by the ancient Greeks.
The reality is, hair isn’t one thing that ought to be gendered — practically each human has it, and it varies extensively in texture, coloration and elegance. Hair has cultural ties as nicely, lengthy hair representing pleasure for one’s tradition amongst all genders in Native American culture and it being an emblem of mourning when one cuts their hair in Hawaiian culture.
Total, I say stick it to those that consider lengthy hair is a vital high quality in somebody femme-presenting. There are a large number of causes to shave your head. Gender is a weighty matter, however the backside line is that hair shouldn’t be a consideration when deciding to shave your head. In reality, gender is one thing that’s socially defined and changes over time. Principally, it’s all made up.
Shaving your head can foster confidence and affirm the fluidity of gender, even when it’s simply one thing you do as soon as to alter up your routine.
Once I first minimize my hair, even simply right into a pixie minimize, the principle feedback I received from folks have been questions on after I was going to develop my hair again out. I’ve diversified my hair size since my first 12 months of highschool, so I didn’t actually know what they meant by that. As a lady, my society expects me to have my hair lengthy. However was my brother requested the identical factor? No.
It’s all the time been urged to me that I ought to have lengthy, flowy hair and put on flowery clothes just because I’m a lady. Once I shaved my head I used to be considered a lady breaking the principles, so some other gender norms that I broke have been complementary to my lack of hair and weren’t surprising.
It’s not dangerous to have lengthy hair when you’re female, but it surely shouldn’t be dangerous to have a shaved head when you’re female both. The subject of hair is one thing so rooted in femininity that our tradition has forgotten that we will stay with out it.
One other factor folks advised me was that they may by no means pull off a bald head however that I did it so nicely. Reality is, I don’t suppose I did it higher than anybody else. What helped me essentially the most was confidence and rising into my pores and skin.
I’ve a big head, one thing that my hair covers up more often than not. Being bald made me weak, each bodily and to criticism, however feeling that vulnerability elevated my confidence. I used to be interrogated by others, which made me query myself, however I knew ultimately that it was simply hair. It might develop again.
I needed to discover methods to make a shaved head enjoyable, even when there have been days after I awakened and wished I might slot in and have lengthy hair like my different femme-presenting friends. I wanted to see all the good on this expertise, lest I ruminate too laborious on the dangerous days the place I swore my head appeared like an egg. Buzzing your whole hair off isn’t one thing you simply ease into, however the confidence you acquire from it’s rock-solid.
And have you ever ever even seen what your bald head seems to be like? I hadn’t, earlier than I took the trustworthy leap of creating this determination. A bald head isn’t simply completely bald — it’s made up of a mosaic of imperfections that make you who you’re. For instance, there have been freckles, scars and locations on my head the place the hair grew in a different way that I had by no means even thought-about earlier than. It was like attending to know elements of my physique that I had by no means even seen earlier than, and it felt like I knew myself higher afterwards.
Endurance is a advantage, and nothing says that greater than ready on your hair to develop out to your required size. As of proper now, I’m about two years into the method and my hair is the longest it’s been in seven years. It isn’t lengthy by any means, and I nonetheless have an extended approach to go earlier than I can start to do cool kinds with it once more, however it is going to develop again in time. Until you intend on having a shaved head without end, you’re most likely going to wish to experiment with hairstyles once more, and that’s going to take a while because you’re primarily ranging from sq. one. Permitting your hair to develop by these totally different lengths is uncomfortable, however permits progress in personhood and self-security as nicely.
Personally, I feel shaving your head is one thing that everybody ought to do over the course of their lives no less than as soon as. It forces you out of your consolation zone in doing one thing towards the grain. It challenges you to suppose lengthy and laborious about how gender norms have permeated kinds of hair, and the way laborious persistence will be as you’re ready on your hair to develop.
These setbacks are good issues, although. They foster confidence in oneself and the ability to wait for belongings you really need. So when you’re fascinated by shaving your head, make that journey to the nook retailer to purchase some cheap clippers, or to your native barbershop, and don’t look again.
Jessica Snyder primarily writes about controversy in artwork and politics. Write to her at [email protected].