Disclaimer: this probably should have just stayed in my personal collection, so excuse the rambling, repeated instances of self-deprecation, and general whininess.
A month ago I did something bold that I’d been contemplating doing for years: I completely chopped my hair. And not, like, into some inverted bob nonsense. It was there, and then it was gone.
I’d had short hair many years before but was too self conscious to rock it. Now, seven years later, I thought I was confident enough to pull off a look I’d envied on so many women. Let’s just say it’s been a roller coaster of emotions.
I must come off like a total superficial freak (or at least that’s how I feel to have so much inner turmoil regarding a haircut), but cutting off my hair has been a real challenge, emotionally. My thoughts about my hair have ranged from, “Oh my god, I look like a boy, my boyfriend must find me grotesque!” to “I am so edgy and sexy and unique!” Who knew that a haircut could make a person so bipolar?
But remove the layers of emotionally driven reactions and I’m left with some deeper questions.
1. What is femininity? What does it look like?
I’ve always known that I’ve had a limiting picture of what femininity is. Embarrassing as it is to admit, to me, femininity is long, flowing locks, a pretty, minimally made up face with small features, a captivating giggle, and an unwavering confidence.
I’ve straddled the boundaries of this definition a few times. I’ve cut my hair, I’ve worn little to no makeup, I’ve dressed in loose clothing; and yet, rather than feeling empowered by challenging my delusions, I felt exposed and small and so very confused.
It’s like there’s this constant battle within me: one side wants to be a rebel with a cause and the other side just wants to blend.
Which leads me to my next question …
2. Am I less of a woman and feminist to just want to blend in with society’s definition of femininity?
Ugh, this is a heavy one. I know in my head the answer to this is a simple no. A woman should have the right to choose how she looks, even if that means dressing in a way that mirrors the latest women’s fashion trends. And yet, I still feel like a little bit of a traitor when I spend time on my appearance, whether doing my hair, putting on makeup, or dressing in a figure hugging outfit.
So why is this? Is it because I have a just as limiting definition of what a feminist is? Or is it because I’m just too afraid to claim who I am?
I’ve always loved fashion: clothes, makeup, hairstyling, nail polish. You know, the whole kit and caboodle, as they say. It’s impossible to know whether I was naturally drawn to these stereotypically girly tendencies or if I’m just a product of my generation, but at what point do I just say fuck it and stop questioning?
Soon. I hope to god it’s soon.