I was surprised to learn that other day that apparently I keep my hair long because I am longing for my lost youth, because no one over the age of 18 is supposed to have long hair. Women with long hair, according to the article I happened to be reading, scream desperation with their flowing locks, or possibly an inability to come to terms with aging. I was equally astonished when I read that short hair on women is “unattractive,” and that if I want to get boys, I’m going to need long hair. But, to add to the debate, fat girls should not wear short hair.
Evidently, not only is my hair length not a personal matter, but I can’t have long or short hair. It’s got to be…medium? Unless, of course, I want to die a stale old harpy, brooding over the heady days of my teen years.
You see, women don’t make stylistic choices for themselves. They make them to please others. I actually didn’t know this, and I’m glad that it’s finally been straightened out after all of these years. Here I was thinking that I dressed and “styled” my hair the way I do because I happen to like it (and I’m lazy), but, in fact, I have been unknowingly grooming myself for the pleasure of others, specifically men, although evidently women dress to impress “their most stylish friends” as well. Luckily, my most stylish friend lives in Berkeley, so she only gets to mock my personal appearance every now and then.
And I’m just talking about the hair on my head, here, I haven’t even gotten to other parts of the body, because I’m trying to keep this site family-friendly for Holidailies. It would appear that head hair is a mine field. I had no idea that a simple choice could be so fraught with peril, and that my own personal opinions don’t really matter when I make these decisions, because I have to be considering what other people will think.
I’m always astonished anew whenever I pick up a women’s magazine and read articles like these. I wonder how many people genuinely believe in them, and run out to adjust their hair styles or clothes choices or whatever to satisfy some external “other.” I’ve always been of the opinion that people who judge on superficial characteristics are not the kind of people I want to consort with anyway, so if someone’s put off by my long hair, then so be it. And if I hack it all off and someone doesn’t approach me because I look mannish, then it’s their loss.
People, your appearance is your choice, and it’s under your control. We live in a society where people are constantly being told how to look, where judgments are made about people on the basis of a casual glance, where women are treated like dolls, objects to be dressed up for the admiration and enjoyment of others. Don’t buy into it.
I”ve been told that I should wear more revealing clothing because it might make me more “sexy,” and I’ve been told to cover up because “people don’t want to see that,” because Pete forbid that I wear a cashmere sweater which is a wee bit tight around the arms, thereby revealing the terrible fact that my arms are fat! (As though the rest of me wasn’t.) Now I’m being told that my long hair makes me look desperate, by the same authority which assures me that short hair on fat girls looks bad. (Because all fat girls actually have the same body type and facial structure, and therefore we should just have identical haircuts.) I’m constantly reminded that my body is regarded as something on display which is open to general commentary.
Well, you know what? It’s not. I’m going to keep on wearing my hair long, and you’re just going to have to like it. And I’m going to go right on wearing/eating/doing whatever the hell I feel like, and so should you.