How changing my hair empowered me

Womanhood is complex. Although both men and women are scrutinized about their looks, women are so much more judged. For some reason, people cannot stand looking at untidy women. So, I chose to talk about how my hair empowered me by learning how much it matters to others.

When I was in high school we wore uniforms but all of us tried to find ways to embellish our looks and personalize the uniform. Once, I had to sit on an exam with this girl who was pretty sweet but certainly careless about her uniform. It seemed the uniform was at least two sizes larger than what she needed; she was stepping on her pants with every step she took. She even left her jacket on the floor when it fell and told me “it’s okay” when I tried to lift it for her.

My exceptionally tidy self immediately judged her as careless. Similarly, now that I think of her I still think she was careless. Now we go to the same college and she seems to have started caring a whole lot about her appearance.

But, does it really matter?

Yes, it does. I am someone who believes that you can express your inner self, thoughts, and beliefs through the way you look. But, does it make a person who just doesn’t care about their outward looks anything less? It shouldn’t.

So, although I do care about the way I look and think that there’s nothing wrong with that, I do wish people would just cut other’s some slack. Yes, looks are often a barrier and they do affect what we think about someone. But why should our thoughts on someone matter? When you understand that you can think someone is untidy and get over it, you can actually look through into that person and get to actually know them, and who knows – maybe even love them.

My hair

The way this discussion is related to my hair is based on my experience when I’ve changed it. I have done hair changes frequently in the past, often after major events in life. I’ve decided that changing my hair often meant I can leave worries in the past and start new, with a clean slate.

But, the most significant way changing my hair empowered me is by the way it affected others. The way my hair, therefore I, looked was a powerful indicator of how people would act towards me.


The Curls

When I curled my hair, I looked more playful and careless. I like to think that I’m funny so it actually suited my personality. Also, it made me look like I didn’t have a worry in the world. That was good, seeing I was a freshman in college and it helped me feel less stressed. Later I cut the curly hair into a bob and it made the playfulness even greater. The way my hair bounced, it seemed nothing could ever bother me.


The Pixie Cut

Yes, I did cut my hair this short. My main reason was to get rid of the curls but I also felt it would look edgy. I was right, I couldn’t have looked edgier in any haircut. However, instantly my look turned more serious. People started behaving more properly around me and some even hesitated to talk to me. My personality remained pretty much the same so I couldn’t understand why. It was so easy to maintain the hair and it would dry so quickly! When I didn’t wear makeup I sometimes looked at least 5 years younger and kind of like a little boy (lol). But I suppose I looked somewhat fierce when I had makeup on and I might have acted so.


The Bob

As my hair grew, I styled it so that it would turn into a bob and the bob life was just as fun. Most people said this was the hairstyle that suited my ladylike attitude. I do often enjoy dressing elegantly but I also like cool, so there are those two sides of my style that the bob totally suited. Likewise, the look of my hair empowered me because it made me feel chic and comfortable at all times.


The White!

This was something I’d thought about several times but the best way to change your hair is not to overthink. So, one night I texted someone to make me an appointment and the next day I headed to the salon. Although I was a little nervous, the results made me feel amazing! I just loved how the blonde suited me and I’d never felt more confident because of my hair (note: not even during the pixie cut). This was followed by my many shocked friends and family who kept giving me their opinions which were of all sorts. Eventually, everyone figured that the white suited me even better than my own hair color – yeah right.

Why it’s not vain

Well, you may be thinking that all this talk about hair and confidence can be vain. And yes, it can be vain if all your confidence originates from the way you or more specifically your hair looks. What I am claiming, however, is that I’ve definitely made a social experiment through my hair. The ways I changed my hair triggered certain reactions and beliefs in people. I’ve confirmed what could be undeniable that the way you look will affect the way people perceive you and act towards you.

Also, and most importantly, I’ve used this personal discovery to completely perplex people and actually make them think. Whenever I, rarely, disclose my views on religion, family, kids, money, lifestyle and other with people, they just cannot believe me. This is often a way for me to remind people that they truly cannot know a person based on their looks. The things I tell catch them socially off guard and this may make us more considerate towards people whom most judge solely based on their looks.

Yet again, my hair has allowed me to know and understand more the human condition. I fully support people who enjoy taking care of their looks because I do that myself, but it has also made me understand that I probably don’t know about a person as much as I think I know. So, my hair empowered me because it showed me that I don’t need to establish my confidence based on it. To prove this, I will go bald soon (not really, not yet!).

Note: if you didn’t get it from the article, it also refers to people with cancer whose hair falls from chemo and others who don’t know their whole story might mistakenly perceive them simply as sick/ill, ignoring who these people really are.


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Read a short story by Sheila Kohler – Why Is Hair so Important to Us?

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