Never have I felt more of the harsh sting of society’s stereotypes than when I was forced to cut most of my hair off. Pixie cuts can be a sign of strength and femininity (see Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus). However, when I chemically damaged my hair and had to hack it down to the bare bones, I felt like everything but a vision of womanhood. I’ve had my hair short before, never at such “boyish” levels, but I never realized what having long hair meant to the ideas I had in my own mind of what being a woman is/was. At every turn, I found myself defending my hair with, “I had to cut it” and “I didn’t want to; it will grow back!” I’ve had women say straight to my face that they would buy a weave before they ever had their hair so short. Countless people question my actions as if I had done something wrong or illegal by changing my hair. I found myself constantly seeking reassurance, asking people if they were sure I didn’t look like too much of a boy.
It has been about a month now since I made the big cut. I don’t regret anything. Short hair is different, exciting, and fun. My hair is healthier now than it has ever been. I take the time to care for it properly and no longer abuse it daily with harsh, damaging hair straighteners and curling irons. I deep condition, I hydrate, I protect. Now, when people ask me what made me cut it, I simply say I wanted to. What’s the difference if I had to cut it or if I decided to? It’s my hair and it’s my choice. My hair doesn’t tell you about my love of literature, film, and anything feminist. My hair can’t tell you if I like men or women. My hair doesn’t show you how big my heart is or about my integrity and dedication. Not to mention my prep time in the morning has literally been cut in half.
Will I grow my hair back out? I’m not sure yet. If I decide I do want it longer, I’m looking forward to the various hairstyles I can try in the process. Or perhaps I will keep it short and continue to fight for my right to do whatever I please with my hair. No one will be able to dictate what I do with my hair and perhaps I will decide to remain pretty in pixie.