The first time I chopped my hair off was after a bad breakup in high school. In an effort to rebel against my ex, who always loved my long hair, I made a swift decision to cut it all. I went from having hair that almost touched my belly button to a cut that barely reached my shoulders.
Before then, having long hair seemed like the only option for girls my age. I would associate short hairstyles with “mommy dos” or something suitable for older women only. Ironically, I hated having long hair. It was always getting in my way, took hours to fully dry after a shower, and gave me headaches whenever I wore it in a ponytail (seriously!). So when I finally decided to cut it, I instantly fell in love with my new shorter hair.
I feel empowered by my short hair for many reasons. For one, I have shorter styling and drying times now. I’m also never too hot in the summer nor do I suffer from sweaty hair in the Arizona heat. Another reason I’m obsessed with short hair is because every time I cut it, I feel like I’m cutting off the weight of anything holding me back. Having short hair makes me feel powerful, mature and ready to take on the world.
The way people react to my short hair empowers me too. For example, women love my short hair! Whenever I’m out running errands, I’ll receive compliments from female strangers saying they love the way I style my hair or that they just love the cut itself. Women should support other women, so their kind words about my hair definitely empower me.
Some men, however, have a different response to my hair. My male friends have made comments about my hair such as, “Why did you cut your hair shorter?” Comments like this make me feel like cutting my hair is a bad thing. It’s almost like men take offense to my short hair. Weird, right?
The only explanation for this that I can think of goes back to the male gaze and the popular stereotype that women should have long hair because men find it sexy. Ironically, I received compliments from guys all the time when I had long hair. Since having short hair, that amount has dwindled significantly. Granted, there are definitely men out there who appreciate shorter locks (my current boyfriend being one of them). It’s because of these observations that I actually feel more empowered by having short hair.
What I or any woman does to her hair is her choice and her choice only. Whether I cut off a couple inches or shave my head entirely shouldn’t affect men the way it does. Women aren’t here to please men, so it is my prerogative to have short hair if I so choose. As long as I feel confident about the way I look, then that is all that matters. The same goes for every long-haired and/or short-haired woman out there!