All of this kerfuffle over Britney Spears and her head-shaving episode leave me bemused and confounded. I always thought it was so cool to see a woman who shaved her head. Persis Khambatta made that cool for me when she shaved her hair for the Star Trek movie. The main reason I never shaved my hair as a teen was that I thought my head was shaped weirdly and I was afraid to shave it and look like a potato.
I shaved my hair a few years ago as a matter of necessity (for me). When I went from having long hair to having no hair overnight a lot of people were shocked. I was a little shell-shocked when I first did it as well, but it was the realization of a dream. I looked in the mirror and had no idea who was looking back at me. But she was so free! Whoever she was, I wanted to know her. I could really focus in on her eyes, I could really see her, free of all trappings and trimmings. And I liked her.
I found it incredibly liberating and I keep my head shaved. Well, I grow about one inch of “winter hair” because my head gets too cold in the winter, but I find it hard to keep that inch on. I guess I stopped thinking about whether or not I was attractive without hair. It stopped being so important. I had nothing to brush or primp or constantly talk about. My sense of being attractive became disassociated from my appearance. Now, having said that, I’ll say that I see myself as an attractive person and when I’m in the mood, I’m a fierce dresser baby. But it’s important for me to be attractive and confident on the inside. I don’t think you can pull off bald without a lot of confidence.
Maybe that’s what people are reacting to with Britney? She shaved her head but not as a strong statement about herself, it’s just some kind of bizarre reaction in a long string of bizarre reactions. And she made a symbol out of her hair – apparently (I keep reading that but I had no idea since I’ve never had much interest in her). Maybe that’s why people are freaking out? But I think the media is doing her a huge disservice. They could say “Whoa! Different … but cool” and let her come to terms with herself instead of all the atrociously negative comments about how unattractive she is now. She actually looks ok like that. She might not want to keep the shaved look forever but, to me, this is so negative for all women. It just embeds a cultural expectation, a “value” of sorts that women are only attractive if they have pretty hair.
Hair is nice. I loved my hair. Some day I might grow it again and love it some more. But not having hair is great too. I love, love, love not having any hair. I planned to grow my hair back after that first shaving but then a friend of mine was going through chemo and I kept my head shaved to show her some solidarity. She loved going out together and not feeling like she had hide her head in a scarf or hat. She and I got to talking about all the different kinds of punishments that women have had to face and how often their hair is a prime target to make them feel dehumanized and outcast, to mark them in a negative way, to take away their womanhood and femininity. If we shaved our heads now, what could they possibly take away from us? Now, she’s cancer-free (woot!!) and we both keep our heads shaved. We’ve joked about this becoming like Johnny Cash and black clothes, but maybe it is a bit of the same. There are a lot of reasons we want to stay baldies.
Girls, cutting or shaving your head doesn’t take away your femininity. You will always be as pretty and feminine as you want to be. Or you will be a glorious diva like me! LOL!! But please, if you do shave your head and you have remorse after, just get a hat. Don’t raid poor Carol Channing’s House of Wigs because girlfriend needs her wigs.