Buzzed My Hair For All The Right Reasons
Kristina- Liberated, Confident, and Bald by Choice
It was inevitable that I would one day muster enough courage in order to take the plunge and finally shave my head. However, the inspiration for my decision to finally do it now, was a bit more than just piqued curiosity.
For the past three years I have been attending The University of Southern Indiana to obtain a degree in Philosophy and English Literature and for the past year I have been working closing with one of my professors on a special project translating documents from Medieval Latin into English.
Working closely with this professor has allowed me to broaden my mind in ways that I could never have imagined, the experience has completely redirected my life plan in such a positive way--suffice it to say--she has been a true inspiration.
However, at the end of this summer she was diagnosed with atypical neuroendochrine cancer--a hybrid form of cancer that spreads considerably fast and is quite often fatal. The news of her illness was needless to say quite sudden and terribly unexacting--the illness of a professor is considerably upsetting, but being faced with the possibility that my mentor and my friend could be taken by this disease broke my heart.
Working with her has changed my life, and although I expressed my unconditional support, I wanted to do more and during a meeting with her last week she made a simple comment, one she may not even remember, but in that moment I made my decision.
In the midst of her meeting a student stopped by and she chatted for a moment about a missed quiz, reassuring the student that they need not worry all would be well, upon the completion of their chat she closed the door and turned around and rolled her eyes, repositioning her wig while vocalizing her distaste for its existence atop her head.
I told her she didn't need it. I tried to imagine how hard it must have been for her to lose her hair--prior to her treatment she had had the longest most beautiful hair I'd ever scene-- it was almost as if it were a part of her identity. Though I don't really know how she felt, I tried to place myself in her position, and began to ponder the specific roles that men and women are expected to occupy within our society.
These roles have come to serve as an almost obligatory paradigm for the social expectation for both sexes--dictating not only gender, but sexuality, appearance, actions, motivations, and the list goes on and on.
Earlier in the semester, I also became an active member in the group Face of Feminism which serves to advocate the equal treatment and representation of all sexes, races, religions, and sexual orientation/identification.
My experience with FOF opened my eyes to just how restricted the socially constructed roles are in our "modern" and "progressive" society.
I began seriously considering the idea of buzzing my hair a few weeks into the semester when my friend and fellow FOF member Alexandra took the plunge-- proving to the world that women do not require hair to be considered beautiful.
After a few more weeks of consideration, I finally decided to do it, however, before taking the plunge I consulted with my mother and also my boyfriend--in an attempt to both give them warning and also to gage their potential reactions. My mother was completely supportive, and really encouraged me to go ahead with my plan. My boyfriend was not quite as supportive--in fact--he was completely opposed to it.
Being a traditional man, he could not see himself being attracted to a woman sans hair. He worried about what others would think and how he would react emotionally and sexually to the change, and he asked that I not do it. Regardless of his objections, I went ahead with my decision, because in the end my choice wasn't for him, it wasn't made in an attempt to stand out against him.
I never buzzed my hair as a means through which I could reject my identity as a women or a traditional female role (as dictated by society), my actions were not a effort to be different nor were they due to my desire to identify as a man or present a more masculine version of myself. I did not have a mental breakdown.
I buzzed my hair to prove that women do not need hair to be beautiful, I feel more beautiful and feminine than I ever felt with my hair.
I buzzed my hair to support those who lose their hair not by choice, but in an attempt to prolong or preserve their lives, those who lose their hair by force (such as the Jews in concentration camps and Men and Women who have been victims of violent acts, including the removal of their hair by force).
I buzzed my hair out of a desire to support someone who has been to supportive of me, someone who has opened up doors to my future that I did not even know existed, a women who has truly been an inspiration to me. In the end, I did this for myself, but I also did it for them.
Newburgh, IN, USA
Buzzed My Hair
Published December 8, 2011