Haircuts

The most accurate thing I can say about haircuts for me is that they have been inconsistent. I have never had a stylist for more than a year or two at the most. I cut it differently and get different colors. What I want to talk about in this entry is working through my desire to shave me head.

When I was in Bowling Green towards the end of my stay there, I shaved my head one summer. It felt liberating but I didn’t really own it. I often covered my head with handkerchiefs, hats and wigs. If I do it this summer I do not want to succumb to that. But I understand why I did it because I have lived in such conservative communities that they don’t understand why a “transgender woman” or more accurately non-binary trans-feminine person, would want to get rid of their hair. To be feminine means to have longish hair.

I want to shave my head because I hate my hair. It is thin and getting worse. I want to feel cooler in the summer. I want to not have to mess with it through blow drying and styling it. I want to challenge what it means to be trans-feminine. If I wear a wig it will be easier to put on. I want to challenge what it means to be transgender and what it means to be a human being.

When I was an undergrad there were so many queer and feminist women that shaved their heads. I loved it. Some still do, but I don’t see nearly as many. I think a woman shaving her head is exercising her agency. She may or may not mean to make a statement, but I believe she is definitely making a statement against heteropatriarchy. The beautiful woman with long, lustrous hair stereotype needs to be ground into dust. Women are beautiful regardless of the length of their hair. In a way, a woman with a shaved head is giving her two middle fingers to sexism, misogyny and patriarchy.

Because I am so inconsistent when it comes to hair, I could not maintain a shaved head, anymore than I can maintain one single haircut or hair color. But I can do it from time to time. And I can try my hardest to be unafraid about it. But I know there will be people that don’t understand, or will have questions, or that think I have cancer, or that think I am de-transitioning. I will try to be gracious and patient with these questions. At any rate, I won’t let anyone stop me!

People should be able to wear their hair however the hell they want. Any color, any style, any length. And this should not conflict with their profession, their community or their gender self-determination. Hair length does not determine gender identity. I think hair can be fun and people can explore their identity through their hair. It can be a major mode of self-expression, much like piercings or tattoos. Unfortunately, our oppressive cis-heteropatriarchy wants to police and punish hair self-expression. We must resist this tyranny and proudly sport whatever the fuck hairstyle [or lack thereof] that we want. There is pleasure in resistance and in rebellion and it makes whatever hassles you have to face more than worth it.

 

Hair

Recently I was out somewhere and an employee came out to me and said: “It looks like you’re having a bad hair day.” I was shocked at her rudeness. And then after a while I realized I didn’t give a shit what she thought.

It is amazing to me how much emphasis there is on hair in this culture. Hair is everything, or so it would seem. We die it, braid it, comb and brush it, curl it, dread it, straighten it, add extensions and color it every color under the rainbow. But what does somebody’s hair say about them? Absolutely nothing.

On the one hand, I understand that for many people hair is a mode of expression. I respect that. On the other hand, I think hair is way overdetermined. We pour so much meaning into it, not to mention time, money and effort. I really wish hair didn’t matter, and I really wish it had no link to gender whatsoever.

Perhaps my saltiness about hair can be linked to gender. In our culture, women are supposed to have long hair and men are supposed to have short hair. I love people who buck this trend. In fact I have the utmost respect for them.

I think the most subversive thing someone can do now is go against the gender terrorism of hair. But in addition to that, I think what is subversive is to not care about your hair. To not wash it. To not brush it. To not comb it. To not put styling products in. To not blow dry it, straighten it, curl it, etc. I am tired of washing my hair every day so I don’t. This inevitably makes it more greasy and messy but I don’t care.

The pressure to “take care” of your hair is part and parcel of patriarchy. It says that your hair is vitally important and says something about your value as a human being. This is similar to dress, make up, jewelry, etc. Why are people evaluated based upon what they look like? Why has hair [the cut, style, color, etc.] become such an important thing in our culture?

I still feel somewhat scared when I go out without washed or combed hair. There is a basic expectation that you will wash, dry and style your hair and if you don’t you are “dirty” or “unkempt.” This expectation is oppressive and it is part of patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy. I am going to try to keep pushing the envelope as far as not “dealing with” my hair. A number of years back I shaved it all off and I might do that again this summer. It felt very liberating to do that, not to mention cooler.

I don’t believe there are any universal prescriptions for hair. Some people might feel empowerment through hair care and styling. I would never dream of taking that away from them. Certain hair styles can be subversive to be sure. But it can also be subversive to not deal with hair every day in the way we are “supposed” to. Maybe being told you are having a “bad hair day” is one of the best compliments you can recieve.