The Short Haired Lady

I told my friend the other day that I was obsessed with Robin Wright’s hair on House of Cards and she replied, “Yes, because you’re obsessed with your hair.” Right. Nothing like a little self-adoration disguised as celebrity worship! The truth is, I wrote a whole essay on it this week for Role/Reboot

I was inspired by the mostly-excellent Laurie Penney New Statesman explanation about why men’s rights activists* are so revolted by women with short hair, but I also wanted to talk about how transformative my short hair has been for me and my presentation of self. That’s not to say that short hair functions like that for all women, nor should it, only that it was a big step in reconciling the way I look on the outside with the way I feel on the inside. For me. 

And this isn’t a tirade against beauty products or beauty culture, only against the expectations and assumptions of beauty products and beauty culture. On the flip side of the equation, I have found a deep and unshakeable love for getting my nails professionally manicured. After 25 years of literally never painting my stubby excuses, I have found that the ritual of a weekly manicure is something I enjoy on an aesthetic and emotional level. I would deeply resent anyone telling me that polished finger nails are a requirement of female professionalism, but as a form of self-care and an hour of quiet alone-time, I find it incredibly rewarding.

Anyway, after those digressions, enjoy a few more thoughts on hair:


*If you’re not familiar with the term, “men’s rights activists” are not as benign as they sound. While there are certainly worthy rights of men for which to advocate (say, the presumption of equal parental custody), MRAs, as they are known online, are trolls who believe feminism has deprived them of their right to fuck any women they like. Read more about them here, but I will not be linking to any of their content.

Related Post: I get pitches from beauty product companies

Related Post: On wrinkles and Love Your Body Day



Filed under Body Image, Hollywood, Really Good Writing by Other People, Republished!

5 responses to “The Short Haired Lady

  1. A lot of men like the new short haircuts especially when a cute girl has one. I enjoy getting my nails done too. I don’t know why I’m rather lazy about going to the nail shop though only about once a month.

  2. I had gorgeous, (very!) long blonde hair from my teens until my early 30s, but after I had kids I decided to cut it all off for convenience. It was the best thing I ever did! Along with losing the literal weight, I felt lighter and younger. Short hair quite literally gave me a new lease on life!

    If any man has an issue with a woman feeling freer and happier, well quite frankly… I don’t care!

  3. Emily

    I enjoy manicures, too, but you’re not spending quiet time alone– there is a nail technician doing your nails. I think it’s a problem if you think you are alone while someone is massaging/cleaning/softening/painting your hands and nails. Why do you think you feel alone? Do you think the nail technician feels alone? Do you feel alone if you get a massage?

    • That’s an interesting point, Emily. Maybe I’m overstating when I say “quiet alone time.” I do feel alone when I get a massage, and similarly when I get a haircut. I let my thoughts wander and I enjoy the quiet. That doesn’t mean I ignore the nail technician, but after introducing myself and a few minutes of chit-chat, I usually don’t force a conversation. I feel that my obligation as a consumer is to treat any service provider (the plumber, the valet, my hairstylist), with respect, and to tip well, but that ongoing conversation is not a required part of the transaction.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I also love Robin Wright’s hair on House of Cards. I love getting manicures, too. I need to go more often. As a writer, it feels like I’m always typing and the manicure is a nice break. Your hair looks great! My whole world changed with my first pixie cut at 15– I finally felt like people could see my face/me, and the weirdest part was, I was okay with that. I had been tired of hiding behind a curtain of hair.

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