They always say that your hair is your crowning glory. For women, this has often meant long, luscious locks — the kind you’d see on the head of a princess or a damsel in distress. Anything else was frowned upon or deemed too unladylike. Even a study by researchers in Croatia has revealed that men find women with long hair more attractive.
This has caused many women to do a double take before taking the plunge and trying a new hairstyle. But as the trends and tides have shifted, women are no longer limited to “girly” haircuts, nor do they let men’s perceptions dictate their decisions. The next time you visit your salon, think of the reason you’re walking through that door and make sure you’re getting that cut for no one else but yourself.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, perhaps shaking up your look is the way to go. It might not erase your problems, but it can equip you with the energy you need to approach life from a different perspective. Consider the iconic Roman Holiday scene as Audrey Hepburn’s character walks into a barbershop and chops off her hair in celebration of her newfound freedom. This also happens to be the haircut that propelled her to superstardom, showing that good things can come out of daring choices.
Much like getting a tattoo after a monumental life moment, a haircut can provide psychological relief. It might just be hair you’re cutting off, but sometimes, it can feel much more than that. An article on Bustle featured several women at a pop-up barbershop, who all agreed that chopping off their hair would be a way for them to usher in a new chapter and present themselves as a new person. “I feel lighter I guess,” shared Stephanie Pendleton, a customer at the Scissors and Clippers women’s barbershop. “It’s not like my hair was weighing me down. It was just like what I’ve been through in the last couple years was weighing me down, so I cut it off just to restart my life.”
For Riverdale star Asha Bromfield, her source of empowerment came in the form of letting her natural hair down. She shared with Kiss Ottawa that she had been straightening her afro with an iron for pretty much her whole life. Only recently has she come to be proud of it when fellow ‘fro-ed’ co-stars Ashleigh Murray and Hayley Law convinced her to. “I spent 22 years trying to get my hair to do something it was never made to do, and frankly, never wanted to do,” she revealed. “I stopped running from myself, and within freeing my hair, I freed myself. I have never felt more “me” in my life.”
Women have colored their hair screaming purple or neon green, but they have yet to spark as much buzz as buzz cut. When this haircut emerged as a booming Hollywood trend in the 1980s, it made the ultimate statement which continues today, with the likes of Grace Jones and Kristen Stewart proving that women can be beautiful with or without hair.
On the other hand, androgyny has also started breaking into the sports mainstream, thanks to athletes like soccer player Megan Rapinoe with her distinct platinum pixie. Let’s not forget iconic boxer Nicola Adams who is also making waves with her signature mohawk. The two-time Olympic gold medalist recently turned professional and has been such an inspiration that even Mattel has taken notice. The doll company has since created Adams’ own Barbie doll, which is a monumental shift from the blonde Barbies with voluminous hair we grew up with. Undoubtedly, these women are smashing stereotypes and breaking boundaries in and out of the sports arena.
Many women are made to change their natural hair in favor of what’s more accepted in society. Mature women, for example, are shamed for their graying hair. For yoga therapist and model Claudine Penedo, embracing her silver locks was an act of defiance. By ditching the dye, she felt she no longer had to try to so hard to achieve a “youthful appearance.” “Being my true self meant I was no longer going to cover up who I was,” she shared. Penedo is just one of the many women putting their foot down against the “anti-aging” agenda that the beauty industry and media has been peddling for so long.
If you’ve always dreamed of rocking a bed of unicorn-colored hair but hesitated because of all the looks you might get, take your cue from Alicia Keys. We all know the R&B singer isn’t one to let her natural shine go dull. Always unapologetically herself, she has experimented with various hairstyles throughout her career — despite raising a few eyebrows. Last year, she not only went back to her roots by going with some braids, she decided to dye them in a loud shade of pink and blue. They turned some heads, but in true Alicia Keys fashion, it didn’t matter because she was totally owning it. Similarly, you shouldn’t be afraid to make a statement in whatever color you choose. It’s a look that shows people you aren’t scared to be yourself.
It might look like just a haircut but having one that is uniquely your own can make a world of difference to your outlook in life. It’s 2021 and society has conditioned women they should look and act a certain way for far too long; reclaiming your hairstyle is the ultimate act of empowerment.
Featured Image via Instagram