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But my girlfriends all tell me I look cool! Refinery 29 writer wonders why men liked her waist-length hair better before she chopped it off

January 22, 2020

Photo: Parisa Hashempour/ Refinery 29

Refinery 29 fashion writer and Instagram Eyebrow addict Parisa Hashempour wonders: “Why Are All the Men in My Life So Angry About My Short Hair?”

After weeks of Pinterest curating, I had chopped my almost waist-length hair to a short, blunt bob. It was a choice that felt innocuous enough…

And also–it’s Instagram’s coolest cut–so, well, that answers it, doesn’t it?

But strangely enough, this happened:

Walking into work the day after my trim, I felt confident. But after silently surveying me, a male colleague declared: “I prefer long hair on girls.”….

As time went on, the unsolicited quips continued from men with whom I came into contact. One man I met told me that he’d scrolled through my Facebook pictures and that I looked more beautiful with long hair. Male friends and acquaintances pointedly declared that they “just prefer longer-haired women” when the topic came up in conversation.

This, apparently, is what Hashempour means by “so angry.”

Not surprisingly, though, the women in Hashempour’s office told her that they just loved that she had snipped off those waist-length tresses that the men were so crazy about:

 I…chose to bask instead in the glow of the adjectives used by my female coworkers. I looked cooler, edgier and more sophisticated.

Mmm, yeah.

Let’s see: On the plus side, no more wolf whistles:

Much to my curiosity, one upside was that the catcalls in the street dropped significantly.

On the minus side, “emotional labour”:

But being constantly asked to justify my decision felt like emotional labour.

It turns out that being cheesed by men for buzz-sawing off your crowning glory is a widespread form of sexist oppression:

Twenty-five-year-old “Eva” was working as a stockbroker when she cut her hair from hip to bob-length in a bid to be taken more seriously in male-dominated board meetings. Instead, male coworkers made lewd jokes and even asked if she had sought her boyfriend’s permission beforehand….

Before cutting her auburn hair into a pixie cut, 26-year-old Jasmine Ricketts was warned by male friends that it was the most attractive part of her. Afterwards, she was told she looked like a “weird boy” and called a lesbian by men in the street. Kailing Fu, a Chinese-Singaporean theatre performer, shaved off her knee-length hair and faced abuse from strangers. Some put their hands together and bowed at her. Others asked if she had cancer.

Well, sure, those cranky old evolutionary psychologists say that men cross-culturally have an innate preference for long, thick hair on women because it correlates with the fertility and good health they look for in potential mothers for their children.

But according to Hashempour, the real reason is the fairy tales of Rapunzel-like manes on princesses that Westerners have been spoon-fed by society:

The view that long hair equates to femininity has been imprinted on us since childhood when storybook princesses with flowing locks were the epitome of beauty….

Ultimately, hair is used by others to categorise and define us, to mark out our sexuality or gender. We are socialised to believe that when we cut off our hair, we are mutilating our femininity.

But not Hashempour! No mutilation of femininity for her!

But in fact, cutting my hair has been liberating. Not only does it take half the time to dry, have more volume and look killer with an off-the-shoulder top, it also feels right for me at the moment. So here’s to styling our hair based on how we like it and when it comes to outdated gender stereotypes, not giving (or growing) an inch.

OK!

But I’d like to give Parisa Hashempour a teeny-tiny tip: Your girlfriends. whether at work or otherwise, aren’t always necessarily your friends. When they tell you that your new “bob” is “cooler” and “edgier,” what they are really telling you is that their main interest, when there are men around, is how attractive they themselves look compared to you.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

From → Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. Bandmeeting permalink

    “Pinterest curating”? Eck.

    Who would ever have thought that short hair is easier to deal with? I guess you’d need to get one of those wimmens studies degrees to learn that.

    She sure is full of herself.

  2. Plukka Dukk permalink

    “Your girlfriends. whether at work or otherwise, aren’t always necessarily your friends. When they tell you that your new “bob” is “cooler” and “edgier,” what they are really telling you is that their main interest, when there are men around, is how attractive they themselves look compared to you.”

    Brilliant summary. Says it all.

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