It’s Not “Just Hair”

Kyl Hair

[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.

Comments

  1. I did the same thing a year ago. Haven’t looked back since. I love it! You look amazing 😀

  2. Hey, maybe don’t use the slur dyke!
    A) Us lesbians are sick of reading about het or het-identified (meaning no matter their individual orientation they re-enact and uphold heterosexuality) women talk about how much they don’t want to be mistaken for a lesbian. Bonus points for not even unpacking the homophobia in saying “I’d rather be called a dyke/Justin Bieber/[insert other dumb short hair semi-insult here]”.
    B) No one thinks you look like a lesbian. NOT ONE. That is some straight girl shit.

    • Hi dubsh.

      I don’t typically respond to aggressive comments, but it definitely appears as if I have hurt your feelings, which was certainly not my objective. For that, I’m sorry.
      The point of my story was to simply encourage women to do what they want with their hair and not what they feel they should do based on stereotypical standards of “what women should look like.” While I don’t use the word ‘dyke’ as an insult, some people do and some women are afraid of being perceived as a ‘dyke’ which is unfortunate and homophobic.
      I am sorry that I offended you. However, I am not sorry that the post served the purpose I intended it to – women, mostly straight women, read it, and thought, “Yea, my hair doesn’t define me.” And maybe it is a teeny tiny victory for feminism.
      I certainly don’t mind being ‘mistaken’ for a lesbian. Especially considering the fact I am bisexual. Which makes me wonder what it is you think a lesbian looks like, since I’m clearly not it as you expressed in your point B).

      dubsh, I am absolutely happy to let this be a teachable moment for me and engage in constructive conversation – but you don’t know me, so I respectfully ask that you keep it kind. We’re all in this together.

      Sincerely,

      Kyl

  3. Neda Kobasijevic says:

    Looks great!

  4. I love Kyl 1 million.

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