My feminist haircut
What a does a short hair cut mean for women?
Article: Jessica Bickford – Contributor
Laurie Penny’s article “Why patriarchy fears the scissors: for women, short hair is a political statement” (Newstatesman.com) has been making the rounds on the interweb lately, and as a woman with one of those new-fangled short haircuts, I found it incredibly interesting. Frankly, I didn’t exactly realize that my haircut was a political statement until people started using words like ‘radical’ to describe it (and not in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s sense of the word).
It started when I went out a few months ago and got one of those undercuts where half of your hair is buzzed off and the top is kept relatively long. I got it because I think it looks cool and I’m still young enough to get away with having a weird haircut. So no, at the time I had no idea that I was deciding to make a value statement with my trendy haircut.
But, after a couple months of living and working with it, and reading things like Penny’s article, I’ve come to realize that that’s exactly what my haircut is. I get stared at frequently, professors now have a tendency to call on me when feminism or homosexuality are under discussion, and I get comments. So. Many. Comments. They range from very complimentary, to a vague kind of judgement on my character. “I think originality is so important” and “oh, you’re so brave, I could never do that” are my two favourite non-compliments so far.
Whether we like it or not, appearance, and particularly female hair length, is still a sexual symbol and short hair signals only one thing to the douchecanoes of the Manosphere: masculinity. This means that they view a girl with short hair as either a lesbian or someone wanting to punish men by diminishing a performative sign of femininity. I’ve talked to women who would like a haircut like mine, but they’re terrified to actually do it. Some of them are worried about losing male attention, others about being closeted and generally not wanting to attract any attention to their sexuality until they are ready for it. Like Penny, I can’t even really argue this point – if you cut your hair off assumptions will be made.
I don’t particularly care how people view my sexuality, or my femininity for that matter, and if someone thinks that I’m a ‘damaged’ woman because I have short hair, then wow, they can just stay as far away from me as possible, thanks. This is basically the conclusion to Penny’s article, too, that yes, short hair will make you entirely displeasing to a subset of the male population, but so will having politics not based entirely on patriarchal fantasy and neo-misogyny.
So, yeah, I’ve got a feminist haircut, but does that make me “more abrasive, more masculine, and more deranged” like the Manosphere apparently believes? No, it just means that I went out and got something I wanted without considering the opinion of entitled and delusional men – an absolutely feminist act.