My definition of beauty came from my mother. In my case, my mother and the women I looked up to all had short hair. Think Emma Watson after her “I am not Hermione Granger anymore” cut. Because of this, I always considered short hair to be feminine. It’s not that I didn’t think long hair was beautiful; I just assumed hair was hair and it didn’t define femininity.
Apparently, I was wrong. Without long and luscious locks, you are somehow less of a woman. This became evident to me after I donated my hair for the first time, trading in 11 inches of hair for a trim and tidy bob.
I remember excitedly entering my third-grade classroom, more than ready to hear about how mature I looked in my new hairdo. The excitement soon faded after my teacher said, “Why’d you cut it? Your long hair was so pretty.” This was the general sentiment of my classmates as well, and I was left feeling rejected from society’s perception of womanhood.
Why should femininity be defined by the keratin that comes out of our scalps? Women are constantly reminded of the ways they do not fit the traditional feminine beauty standards, whether that be through how they’re shaped to even how they act. According to a campaign led by Dove, only four percent of women consider themselves beautiful. These statistics show how toxic our view of womanhood can be.
Like many women, I have spent the majority of my life comparing myself to others and being intimidated by women who have the features I thought I needed to be complete. More recently, I’ve realized womanhood isn’t about how curvy you are or even how long your hair is but rather embracing yourself, especially today as the rigid definition of femininity continues to be blurred.
Though I am far from completely comfortable with myself, I try to take steps every day to achieve some level of confidence with who I am, specifically with how I look. Hair has been my first step. I embrace the short hair life, regardless of society’s distaste for it. And since I made the decision to go short, others have embraced me for it too.
I’m not suggesting that you cut your hair short, but who knows? Maybe you’ll love it, too.
Edited by Claire Colby | firstname.lastname@example.org