A buzz cut for me, and a mohawk for her. Abigail, it turns out, was inspired by someone she'd seen online. I was just done with the shaggy stay-at-home mop my pixie cut had become.
This is, of course, not the first time I've been frustrated by my hair. For years, I've joked about shaving it all off, and I've written about my hair angst on this blog before.
While these new haircuts are significant changes for both Abigail and me, the degree to which other people treat them as radical is......not okay.
The social norm that tells women and girls that we should have long hair, that our hair needs to be full and thick in order to be beautiful, that we should tame our hair with clips and ribbons and headbands instead of ball caps and buzz cuts, that a woman's hair is an indicator of her worth and a signal of her virtue is patriarchal bullshit. It's a holdover from a bygone era when rules also kept women from voting, holding credit, and owning businesses.
When rules are shitty, break them. Every person gets to choose what they do with the hair on their bodies--shave it, grow it, curl it, straighten it, dye it, adorn it with ribbons--and all options are actually open to all of us.
One friend said, 'You're a braver woman than I!' And I thought, 'I was not motivated by bravery, more by frustration and opportunity.'
But if I'm being honest, I should also say that I did this now because I have no one to impress, no reason to worry about not looking 'professional.' I'm not expecting any invitations to job interviews, my current students already expect me to do unexpected things. I've been frustrated with my hair before, and I've talked about doing this before, but I never have. I did it now because the stay-at-home order made breaking society's shitty rules safe.
I don't know that I'll keep buzzing my hair after the world reopens. Next time, if there is a next time, Sofia and I think we should probably use the #2 setting instead of the #1, for sure. What I do know is that I've made a significant change in my appearance, and sometimes it still surprises me in the mirror.
It also surprises me that other people see this choice as a radical one for a woman in the twenty-first century. I was not intending for this haircut to be an act of protest, but it certainly has become one.
Nota bene: When rules are shitty, break them. But also be prepared for the consequences. The world is actually much colder when your hair is 1mm long. Hats are a good thing.