08 December 2011


The internet seems to be full of people writing about hair today.

Let's talk about hair.

Disclaimer: I can't really presume to talk about any hair but the kind I have.

I possess some seriously stereotypically white people hair. It is dark blonde, almost brown, unless it is highlighted, and right now it is as long as it's ever been, which is approximately down to my boobs. You are welcome for that visual image. (Weird and random thing about having hair this long that I never knew until I had it: it can get caught in your armpit. Again, you are most welcome.)

I like my hair this long. I think it suits my face. When my hair is shorter than this, it can tend to get larger and make my face look too round. The weight of it when it is long helps keep it from getting unruly (in the sense of random little pieces sticking off in their own directions). My hair takes a lot of shampoo and conditioner, but it doesn't need to be cut very often, so I figure that is a fair trade.

My only real hair issue is that, growing up, I always wanted dark curly hair, like my mom's. I still kind of do, although I think darker hair wouldn't really fit with my skin color.

A while ago, I mentioned to my dad that it bothers me a little to have long hair because of the connotations. Long hair is perceived as feminine, which has both positive and negative repercussions, and I'm not sure I like either set of them.

Women with long hair are taken less seriously in a professional context, I think, because long hair is girly.

Women with long hair are taken more seriously as dating prospects, I think, because long hair is girly.

Part of me wants to just chop it off, to spite the stereotypes.

My dad pointed out that, for most women whose hair does grow long, it doesn't grow long forever. At some point, hormones change, and women's hair will no longer grow as healthily as it used to do. I might as well enjoy having long hair, he said, while I have it.

Which is true, since I do like my hair.

But then I read again about all weight of expectations that fall on women because of their hair, especially black women, and I get annoyed all over again, and I once again want to chop my hair off in protest.

I have no right whatsoever to talk about hair of a type that is not mine, and I'm not going to, and I know that there are a million issues that play into this that my occasional reading on the issue cannot begin to address, but for what it's (not) worth, here is the perspective of one white girl who grew up in Africa and has seen a lot of hair on people from Africa and of African descent: I think natural hair on black women f-*^%# rocks.

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