In May, I decided to get a haircut – a short one. I didn’t intend for it to be any sort of statement, deviance from the norm, or demonstration of further stereotypical fulfillment. I just did it because it felt right. I felt more like me. Towards the end of the summer, a friend pointed me in the direction of the Buzzfeed article 17 Things You Don’t Say To A Woman With Short Hair. Author janeclaireh lists these seventeen things that I relate to quite thoroughly:
1. So why’d you cut it?
2. You’re in that experimental phase of your life.
3. Well, hair grows back.
4. But you looked so nice with long hair.
5. Do you like it?
6. Do you like girls now?
7. Or bisexual?
8. Did you do it to save money on shampoo and conditioner? Smart.
9. You probably shouldn’t wear combat boots anymore.
10. I could never cut my hair like that. Like EVER. But it totally looks good on you, though.
11. But boys like long hair?
12. Um… it looks nice.
13. You remind me of Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
14. But it looks good! I swear.
15. Most people’s faces look really fat when they cut their hair short. But you don’t.
16. It’s sorta cool, because you can wear so much more makeup now and you won’t look like you’re trying too hard, because your hair will balance it out.
17. Do you ever worry someone might mistake you for a man?
So why is it that a woman with short hair is so strange? What prompts people to ask these sorts of questions? Again, I believe it to be the societal idea that said short-haired lady has chosen to do something to break from the norm. Granted, a few comments listed above seem to have been written in jest, but I have been the recipient of the majority. In this conscious altering of appearance that is cutting one’s hair, people question one’s motives, self esteem, intellect, sexuality, etc. The idea exists that a woman may not know exactly what she is doing. She is “experimenting”.
Professor Parham challenged us to try looking at women without judgement. In recalling my summer of short hair, I am realizing how impossible this truly is.