I recently got a haircut, going from long hair (mid-back) to quite short (just over the ears). I’d post a pic if I had a good one at hand. Will add one later! 🙂
I’ve done radical cuts like this two times already (there are three ponytails to prove it), one of which was when I was about 8 years old and felt annoyed by the increasing amount of people treating me like a girl and expecting me to act like one all of the time. I rather wanted to be a boy, at least some of the time. As a 9-year-old I was shocked when the girls in my class observed a bring-your-doll-to-school-day. It was a horribly pink day. In my opinion, boys had short hair and could do cool stuff instead. Back then, I may actually have thought it was that easy, I don’t remember.
I do remember hours of debate with my grandma in the following years (she lived with us, so there were plenty occasions) about why I had no interest in knitting, sewing and such things. She refused my honest explanation that I had trouble seeing the threads, and I had no real desire to discuss gender roles with her – her who made her daughters do their own laundry, while she did everything for her sons – so we had that debate over and over again. Oh well. (btw I regret that it was the truth, because it’d be awesome if I could sew costumes!) And while this in itself has nothing to do with my hair, I realized that this grandmother always quietly disapproved of my short hairstyles…
Now, at age 26, my reasons for getting the haircut were a mix of reducing the amount of time I spend fixing my hair in the morning (not a morning person! grrr) and just doing something completely different for a change. But looking at those three ponytails I started wondering about the way people perceive(d) me and what they expect based on it. I’d be really curious about that, but sadly it’s hard to find out.
I also recently read this article on “How to talk to Little Girls“, which advises you to avoid complimenting little girls on their looks in small-talk-like situations and ask about their hobbies instead.
As much as I’m a girly girl – who is thrilled that her hair no longer hides her beloved big dangly earrings – I also have lots of traditionally male interests and opinions. I wonder if I now “look more like the person I am”. I’m not saying we should judge others by their hairstyles – but I do feel like it’s part of our subconscious pattern recognition habit.
In any case, I feel a bit like I’m that kid again who doesn’t want to behave like a girl is supposed to… – at least not all of the time!