“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.” –Audrey Hepburn
Although these words spoken by one of the most beautiful women in history are all nice and feel-good-y, modern-day society disagrees wholeheartedly. That being said, my apprehension and hesitance to cut my hair short wasn’t exactly atypical.
For lots of women (and men and non-binary folks as well), their hair functions as a security blanket. On TV shows such as America’s Next Top Model and What Not to Wear, women are constantly shown with tears running down their faces as their long, luscious hair is cut off into a shoulder-length bob, or, in an even more dramatic move, a pixie cut. Although masculine-presenting individuals are not scorned as openly for balding, those with thinning hair may harbor a lot of anxiety about their changing appearance, and may resort to hair plugs, toupees or experimental medications in the name of a fuller head of hair.
I began thinking about chopping off my hair about three years ago. I wasn’t exactly new to the LGBTQ community, and I had a significant other at the time, but I was tired of my invisibility as a femme and wanted other queers to give the same knowing looks and head nods to me as they did to my more obviously gay friends. I wanted to look like the people I found attractive, and about 99.99% of the time, they had cute boyish haircuts.
Instead of automatically making the plunge, I decided to go slow and get an undercut first, which, as described by this guide to lesbian haircuts, is “a recently popular cut for lesbians who want to display both a masculine and a feminine visage.” In my mind, I could rock a shorter cut while simultaneously keeping the long, wavy hair I wanted to hold onto. If I couldn’t show off my edgy haircut, I could easily change my part and have a “normal” layered style again. Then, I dyed my tips green, and after a few weeks, had my friend give me mermaid hair. I always wanted to have all of my hair dyed a crazy color, and I figured that since my hair held cooler tones better than warmer ones, teal would be a good choice. I also inadvertently matched my locks to my eyes, which was pretty fun. The most entertaining part of my blue mane, however, was dyeing my armpit hair the same color. It was like a fun little secret that I would spring on people whenever I reached for something or raised my hand. After about a year of having turquoise tresses, the constant compliments I received eventually lost their magic, and the hair-related pickup lines became more and more annoying, so after a long and painful process, I became a redhead.
It seems pretty stereotypical, but it was a Gender and Women’s Studies class, specifically this one, that made me finally decide to get a pixie cut. I realized that all of my worries about making my face look bigger by not having hair to cover it up and making my body look wider because of the proportions my longer hair provided were, for lack of a better word, absolute bullshit. I had spent way too much time googling “short hair for round face” and thinking about the negative ways others might view my body that I didn’t take the liberation I would feel with a shorter cut into account.
Another huge force that pushed me to get a pixie was the extremely body-positive blog Fat Girls, Short Hair. I stumbled upon it when I decided to search “short hair for curvy girls” on a whim one night. Everyone who submitted a picture looked so much happier and more confident in their “after” pictures, and it finally dawned on me- it doesn’t matter what kind of face or body shape I have, what matters is that I love what I’ve got. The day after I saw this blog for the first time, I came to my mom with a few reference pictures, and after a little convincing, she cut my hair into the style it is today.
I’ve started to get the amount of comments I used to with my blue-green hair, but this time around, it’s mostly from women who say things like “You’re so brave!” or “I wish I could pull that off!” Hopefully, when they see me rocking my look as a woman who is anything but a waif, they will be inspired to muster up the confidence to do the same, and if they don’t like it, who cares? Hair does grow back, after all.