Hair is so much more than just a look: it can be a reflection of who you are and what you want people to see as you walk through the world. Anyone who’s gotten a good or bad haircut before knows this.
Oftentimes, your hair speaks for you, even before you introduce yourself. Do you have a long, curly, red mane? Society might perceive you differently than someone with short, dark hair. In deciding whether to keep your hair long or to cut it, as women, we don’t only think about how we are going to look. We also take into consideration the stigmas attached to it.
The link between femininity and long hair is a persistent trend throughout basically every culture worldwide. Additionally, from a more "psychological" point of view, it’s known that long hair has been perceived as a sign of good health. Unfortunately, women don’t always feel comfortable with cutting their hair due to this misconception. They can feel as if they’re losing an important part of being a “woman”.
But luckily, today’s women are redefining what it means to be “sexy”, “daring”, and “feminine” while breaking the stereotypes that have been historically passed down.
I asked two modern women to describe their journey from long to short hair:
Delali Agawu is a creative and artsy college student, who decided to do the “big chop” two years ago. She describes how she felt minutes after cutting her hair “I felt so so free! Not having my wet hair around my shoulders or feeling it swing from side to side. I couldn’t stop touching my hair and life felt easy breezy because I didn’t have to wait eight hours for my hair to fully dry”.
Delali explains how her perception of herself changed: “I felt barer and in my skin with short hair. And the focus of my attraction to myself was based on my face and smile instead of my hair”. And how people’s perception of her, also changed. “Fewer men approached me in public, and if they did approach me, it was always to comment on my short hair and how they’ve never liked a woman with short hair before. I noticed that the perception of my gender was perceived to be more fluid and potentially gay.”
However, her journey didn't stop there. After years of rocking her short hair and getting to know herself through this new hairstyle, Delali is letting her luscious curls grow once again: “I’m on the path where I want to see my hair at all different lengths and meet each one with love, creativity, and excitement. I’m looking forward to see how my identity shifts as I grow my hair. Ideally, I want to find the way I like my hair the most through all my hair growth stages and own that one for maybe a year or two!”
Delali’s advice to women is:
“I would say that (cutting your hair) is freeing and gives you the opportunity, if you want to take it, to let your beauty inhabit other parts of yourself beyond your hair!”
Jana Brcek, a fun and adventurous college student, decided to go from a long, wavy and abundant mane, to short and light hair. “It is quite funny the reason behind why I decided to chop my hair off. I was trying to break myself away from any emotional and physical attachments. I believe most women feel a very strong attachment to their hair as if their hair defines them. Hair should be dynamic, changing, never static. It will grow back again, eventually”.
“It was so freeing. I felt like my head was 10 pounds lighter than before”. Jana says, “I felt like my new style was more fun, less rigid. I think I also looked younger and cuter for my age”.
Jana describes how people reacted to her sudden change, “All the people I know complimented my hair and told me how good short hair looks on me. It boosted my confidence and made me feel like I did the right thing”.
Jana’s advice to women is:
“DO IT, GIRL! There’s no reason not to cut it. There are many fun hairstyles that would suit anyone’s preferences. You’ll look and feel like a new woman!”
Our hair will always be a part of what makes our style “unique”. We should be able to have fun and experiment with it. And still, feel attractive and confident. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and show the world your own definition of being powerful, no matter what hairstyle you choose.