Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazy Outlaw Feminism!

Why, I ask??!!  Wwwhhhyyyy?  I just want to know why "everyone," i.e. the general public and often a woman's closest friends and loved ones, has to go there.  Where?  Oh, let me back up.  I'm watching TV, just some documentary that isn't especially great, but it's on while I'm doing other things.  And part of the larger story they are telling is the fact that at one point in her life, the woman on the show shaved her head.  And the people who knew her at that time, a co-worker and a family member specifically, both said on film that they "knew" she had "gone crazy" once that happened.  WHY?  Why does that make her crazy????

I've written about this topic before. because I too have shaved my head.  In fact, right now I have a pretty short head of hair; I'm sort of growing a mohawk, so the sides are shaved and the middle is just starting to grow a bit longer.  I dig it, and that's all that matters to me, and I'm not crazy (or any more clinically-descriptive term).

I really feel strongly that this is some part of the fight of some people to put and keep women in their "proper" place in society.  When I reached out to speak with other bloggers and other women around the world who had shaved their heads for all sorts of reasons, it only strengthened my opinion.  All had faced some sort of judgment and opposition from someone at some time, regarding their choice to go without hair.  Most had faced it a lot.  We discussed the fact that somehow it makes it "okay" if you explain that you did this because you have Cancer or Alopecia or some such disease. 

I won't re-tell my story, as it is told in full at the above link.  But the reason that I shaved my head that first time was simply that I wanted to confront my dependency on such a shallow physical trait to give me identity and even worth.  Also, honestly, I was sick and tired of my long, thick hair, with which I had dramatic fights every time I tried to "do" it in some style other than my pony-tail.  As I told in my earlier post, I realized that I wanted to shave it, get rid of it and perhaps start fresh, or not have hair anymore for a long while.  And when I decided that, I realized that my only fear was the old what-will-others-think issue.  

For me, this was unacceptable.  I didn't like to look inside of myself and see that I was afraid of what others would think, afraid - YES - of what men would think.  Now, I'm not making a judgment on what other women should choose or how they should choose to confront the changes or fear of changes that they face in their own lives.  I'm simply sharing what I was feeling and why I chose to shave my hair off.
                                                 Me after a recent shave :)
It worked.  It was admittedly scary at first, but I was younger and shyer and less confident then (this was about 10 years ago now, wow).  And going through the inevitable (as I have found it to be) opposition -- constant questions about why, and the fact that (GASP) some men didn't find this non-traditional look attractive -- I truly did grow and learn, which was the point, for me.  No longer do I want or need hair to make me feel that I am beautiful or important or whatever I was getting out of having that big ol' head of hair.   In fact, I've found that it's pretty difficult to go back and grow it all out again, now that I'm cool with short styles.  I've grown it out long once since I first shaved it, but like I said, it is short again.

But this matter is not really about hair.  If, as is the case with one of my close friends, you love your hair and even think it's your best quality, then by all means, work it, girl!  My whole point is that we need to be courageous enough to do what we want and need to do, what we feel is right for us.  And this extends way beyond matters of appearance of course.  

So what is the deal?  Has anyone else out there been judged harshly, discriminated against or otherwise treated differently because they chose to do something that is not in the scope of traditional female roles?  I have heard from female police officers, women with tattoos, athletes, and many more.  I'm interested in finding out why people want to say that we are "crazy" when we go against the grain, against our expected roles in society or in the family.  I'm interested in challenging that mentality wherever I find it.


Anonymous said...

So, I don't have any inspirational tales about shaving my head, because I'm too chicken, and my hair is one of my physical attributes I actually like. But I have a female friend who, in hopes of dating other women, buzzed off all her hair. And it didn't have quite the effect she was hoping for, in terms of boosting her Sapphic sex appeal. But she did meet a wonderful man, who soon after became her husband. So ... yeah. Good story to tell their children someday.

Also, I dig your short hair, and I'd totally date you if I were gay or bi. Oh, wait. I am.

Anonymous said...

I personally have not experienced what you're talking about. I actually find that, in my line of work, we're more discriminated against when we choose to follow traditional female roles, and so many of us strive to break the traditional mold.

I've definitely been guilty of doing things (or not) because men might (or might not) find them attractive. I think I have grown out of that a bit, though I certainly still have my slip ups. For what it's worth, I think you pull off the short hair with flying colors!

Tatyanna (and Dorian too) said...

Thanks for the compliments :) I've definitely still been guilty of the same, L, so hope I don't sound like Miss-Always-Impervious-To-Whatever-Others-Think. I just try to make sure I'm not caving in ways that I really don't believe in, ya know? It's GREAT imho that your field bristles at too much conformity! I have been in schools and other "groups" like that, but sadly a lot of places are NOT.

LL Cool Joe said...

I just found your blog, via Barbara's, and just wanted to say I love your spirit and attitude!