Gender and Hair

If you follow me on twitter (and why wouldn’t you follow me on twitter?), then you probably already know that I buzzed most of my hair. I left the fringe but the rest is about 1/2 an inch long, very Riot Grrl I guess, pretty dated maybe, but oh my gosssshhhhh I’m so much cooler than I used to be. Hair is hot and hair is heavy and now when there’s a breeze it goes straight to my scalp and neck instead of getting lost in my hair first. It’s pretty awesome.

I’ve spent most of my life with very long hair. I cut it around my senior year of high school and since then have been going back and forth, growing my hair to its longest length (waist length) and then cutting it relatively short again… usually chin length or so.

I was what some people would term a tender headed child. I had long, very fine, very dry, hair and it snarled and knotted constantly. Combing/brushing it was constant agony. Keeping my hair in braids or buns might have helped, but very fine dry hair is also slippery and it would escape. Detangling spray would also help but I don’t think it existed then. So I complained a whole bunch and my mom finally gave in and cut off all my hair.

She might have been pregnant at the time. I’m unsure of the timeline. But I know she stopped hand crafting delicate little girl gowns out of satin and lace, complete with frilly aprons and bloomers, around the time my brother was born. And I started wearing hand me down clothing from my older male cousins. With very short hair.

It.

Was.

Awesome.

Unisex clothing was very much a thing in the early 80s (I was born in 1979), and it wasn’t as uncommon then for little girls to wear clothing that wasn’t pink and plastered with butterflies. But the combo of “obviously” little boy clothing (including a totally bitchin’ pair of yellow canvas shorts with a million loops and tabs and a clip on compass that I called my safari shorts) and short hair meant that suddenly strangers treated me very, very differently.

Suddenly I was “sport” and “tiger” and strange adult men would comment on how big, strong, brave, handsome I was. They’d ruffle my hair and give me candy. People don’t frown and narrow their eyes or make comments when I scrambled around and climbed on things and yelled.

It was amazing.

Eventually my hair grew out again and my mom forbade me cutting it again and I was encouraged both explicitly and implicitly to be more feminine. To dress a certain way, and act a certain way, and talk a certain way, and maintain certain interests while dropping others, and to wear my hair long.

My hair’s short again, shorter than it’s been since that very first hair cut, and I adore it. I probably won’t keep it this short forever– I get bored and like to change things up– but I’ll be keeping it for a while. It feels very liberating.

Related Articles:

Blog post copyright Brigid Keely Barjaktarevic. Originally posted at Words Words Words Art. If you enjoy this blog, check out my parenting blog at Now Showing!.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Share