Article I wrote for 5point Magazine http://www.5ptmagazine.com
Historically, there’s always been a link with beauty and long hair. Women with long hair are seen as sexy, beautiful and exotic. Their femininity is never questioned and their societal acceptance is never at stake.
Growing up I remember girls that were in my circle being teased for having short hair. I also remember feeling like I was given a “pass” because my hair was long. “Pass” you say? Most African Americans know about the history behind the skin complexion issue that has plagued us for many many years. I’m a dark brown complexioned women and I saw first-hand the difference in how other young girls my same complexion with shorter hair were teased, than I was. So that is what I mean by getting a “pass”.
It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized how deep this hair issue was. My mother would not allow me to cut it AT ALL. As a teenager I begged to get the current styles of that time. Without any hesitation I was turned down. Finally, I had it cut without her permission. When my mother walked in the house she immediately began yelling at me. I was put on punishment for cutting my hair! I’m not even going to tell you for how long. I think that was the day I went on a hair rebellion. I cringed at any reference to the length of my hair. I hated when men talked about my hair as if it solidified my beauty or as if it was my only asset. I cut it at any chance possible.
Typically I always kept the haircuts at shoulder length but then finally I got one of those Nia Long, Halle Berry short cuts and fell in love!
I wore that style for years and then grew my hair the longest it had ever been.
This is when all hell broke loose. I moved to Atlanta for a short period of time when I had this long hair. I ended up moving back home to Boston and during that time I shaved it all off. They cut of 17 inches of hair. As the barber clippers went over my scalp I felt so free and liberated. The person cutting my hair was trying to convince me that “it wouldn’t look right” and that “this cut is not for everyone.” I replied, “You’re right. I’m NOT everyone.” I pretty much had an idea that the buzz cut would look good especially since at one point my hair was cut short like Halle Berry’s current style, so I was not worried about how it would look. When he turned the barber chair to face the mirror, I had never felt so sexy in my life! You could not tell me anything. Surprisingly everybody took to it very well, ESPECIALLY the men in Boston. But guess who didn’t? That’s right, MOM! When I walked in, she gave me this look of utter disgust. I have never seen disappointment on her face like this that I was completely blown away. Here she has a daughter that’s never been on drugs, never arrested, college educated, never given her any major problems during childhood and young adulthood and she’s looking at me like I went on a 30-day Methampthetamine Bonnie & Clyde murdering spree with Pookie and them. She talked about how I would be viewed by society. How “threatening” I would be to Employers blah, blah, blah. Although I was hurt, I expected it. I moved back to Atlanta and guess who else didn’t take to it as well? That’s right, MEN! Two years prior when I had 17 inches of hair flowing down my back, they loved me.
It’s been 5 years and I still love it. I still think I’m the sexiest thing walking. When my hair was long it did not define me and now that it’s short it STILL DOESN’T define me. Sexuality, sensuality and beauty have absolutely nothing to do with the length of hair. What’s sexy is following your own style. What’s sexy is not conforming. What’s sexy is the way you walk and lick your lips. What’s sensual is when a man rubs my head and when I had long hair, when he played in it. Do not let society dictate your beauty. I didn’t and feel WAY more beautiful than I ever have and my freedom is allowing people to accept another form of beauty.
Be brave…be yourself.