The Politics of Haircuts

A girl feels as if society is judging her because her hair is short.
The stigma surrounding short hair as a young woman; it feels as if society is judging you becuase of your hair's length.

“So you want to cut your hair?”

I nod.

“How long?”

I raise my hands until they rest on top of my collar bones.


The silence is deafening.

"You are so lucky your hair is full and long. Why would you cut it off?"

"The ends of my hair are dead mama. I want it to be healthy."

"Is there something you're not telling me?"


I lie through my teeth.

"Why would you-why would you want to look like a boy?"

Since when has the length of my hair been tied to my womanhood? Why do people look at its length for indication of my gender, sexuality, and identity? It is simply a preference but to my mother it is a rejection of my femininity; a desire to be perceived as something other. Is my hair that intertwined to myself that cutting it off warrants scrutiny or concern? I wonder what assumptions she has made about me. I want to cut off my hair and lift the weight of those assumptions and stigma off of my shoulders. I want to tell her that my hair says nothing about who I am as a person. I want to tell her that society is going to label me no matter what length my hair is.

Instead I smile.

"Don't worry mama. Hair grows back."




United States of America