In 2013, I chopped all my hair off in the name of healthy hair and in short, I was a little traumatized. I looked like a cotton ball, and there was no way you could tell me different. Even though I didn’t cry like many of the girls whose big chops I watched before attempting my own, I was overwhelmed by this feeling that I couldn’t quite place. But somehow I knew I wasn’t alone. I had every overly-emotional female character who had ever cut their hair on screen (including my hero Sergeant neé Detective Benson) backing me up. During my investigation, I came up with some interesting observations. The first? There are basically only four types of women who rock short hair in movies. She’s either:
Coming off of a break up or dealing with some sort of major life change and after this haircut she’ll be super depressed but then eventually become a happier, more carefree version of her previous self by the end of the movie.
A rebellious, dare I say sassy, character who is not only in total control of herself –– but also fulfills all of your tropey feminist dreams.
Trying to fit in with the good ol’ boys; wants to be taken seriously.
A playing-up-the-stereotypes mom.
My second observation: As a woman, cutting your hair is a big deal across the board. When Cersei did it in “Game of Thrones,” we knew sh*t was about to go down (she also fits nicely into all of the above categories), and watching Annalise Keating reveal her tightly coiled fro underneath a wig in “How To Get Away With Murder” just felt good (more on that in another post). When both women cut/revealed their hair, the internet went wild. There’s also science to back all of this up. According to common sense, 75% of women who cry while cutting their hair in a movie will eventually figure out how to get things done and will most likely lie about their cut and say they just “liked how short hair looks”.
This narrative is not just silly –– in many ways, it can be damaging. At least it was for me.
As a little girl, I equated beauty with long hair, and for good reason. Almost every Disney princess rocks long hair and a quick Google search for “beautiful woman” brings up pages of white, blonde women with (you guessed it), long hair. There’s something to be said for long hair –– it’s versatile, looks good on lots of people and is a useful tool for when you need to mesmerize fellow human beings. But there are good things about short hair, too. For one, it’s not as hot, you use less product (which saves you hella money) and it can be easier to maintain. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter –– when you’re the cute girl with the badass short cut people tend to pay attention. If you’re still not convinced the cut you tried after a late night of pinning isn’t the end of the world, hear me out: It grows back. That’s probably not what you want to hear when you’re running your hands through your hair and end up brushing the air, but we all need something to look forward to, right?