[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Kyl Myers]
For years I have felt like my hair is part of my identity and what defines me. I have felt this way because people have made more comments about the length, thickness, color and style of my hair than they have made about my amazing brain that is centimeters away from my seemingly more important mane.
I have ignored urges to shave my head for myriad reasons, a few of which are:
“But my hair is so pretty”
“It will take forever to grow back”
“I’ve invested hundreds of dollars in highlights”
“I’ll get bored with short hair”
“It’s the most feminine thing about me”
“What will people think of me?”
On Saturday I learned about Jetta, a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who cut her hair to donate to Wigs for Kids and has since been bullied so much she has not been to school in weeks. That pissed me off. I then read something about how women feel imprisoned by their hair and I thought, “Yup. That’s me.” And then I immediately countered myself with, “But it doesn’t have to be.”
By Tuesday, I chopped my hair.
I am a fierce critic of gender – yet the irony of how much I conform to gender is a harsh reality that I have to navigate on the daily:
How much of my appearance is based on preference?
How much of my appearance is based on habit?
How much of my appearance is based on expectations?
I decided I’d rather be called a dyke/Justin Bieber/[insert other dumb short hair semi-insult here] because of my hair than feel restricted.
On Saturday, I decided I wanted the inside of my head to define me more than the outside.
On Saturday, I decided to stand up to the patriarchal, heteronormative, feminine beauty standards that attempt to control me. I booked an appointment with my fantastic queer hairstylist, Patrick Wentworth, and didn’t doubt my decision for one second before the chop and haven’t regretted it since.
I hope more women will cut their hair if they are thinking about it. Screw what anyone else says. It’s your hair – and the personal is political.