I was rinsing my hair using Johnson’s baby shampoo, partly because I forgot to go to Superdrug, but also because I’m desperately trying to defrizz my crazy hair that doesn’t like to be told what to do. I’m genetically a mixture of everything, but my hair is straight yet super frizzy. I’ve been a bit jelly of my brother’s curls as I used to have them as a toddler. I found a YouTube video of some lady who found out she actually had curly hair, not frizzy cat lady hair. It is the silicates and sulphates in high street brand shampoos that are causing the nation’s dependence on straighteners and frizz-ease (yes the John Frieda-military complex is real). I used some of my niece’s cradle cap shampoo cus I like to experiment. Big mistake. It made my hair super tangled. This is what happens when you steal from a 9 month old. I was combing my hair with my fingers and failing and thinking what if I mustered up the courage to just shave it all off. Like one of those feminist protesters. Yeah, I’ll do a Britney – that’ll show the patriarchy. But then I was thinking I already look sickly without out my make up on. I’ve got dark circles under my eyes and pale veiny skin from not going outside. What if people think I’m on chemotherapy. Then I started to think about real women who lose their hair in chemotherapy, and I could feel my privileged guilt sinking in. What must they think of seeing the shaved head look as a fashion statement?
I started to think at least bald women have some Hollywood representation but its not the best. If you’re a bald woman on screen you’ve got to have telekinetic powers. From Milli Bobby Brown, to that whitewashed Doctor Strange lady that was the witch from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. There are plenty of Hollywood tearjerkers about people dying of cancer but rarely do you see them live…and live with the effects of hair loss. It is always interesting how an actress gets so much praise for shaving her hair off for a role that she’s probably getting a million dollars for. Give me 100 quid, and I’ll shave my eyebrows off. She’ll most certainly say how ‘empowering’ it was to do so for the role. Yet, a study found that 47% of female patients considered hair loss to be the most traumatic aspect of chemotherapy. Whilst actresses, models and social media saints call shaving their head ‘empowering’ its traumatic for someone who doesn’t have that choice. What’s also interesting is that said cancer character will be completely bald on film – while some patients lose their hair in patches and regrow in thinned clumps.
Partial baldness isn’t glamorous enough for Hollywood. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a female main character with alopecia in a Hollywood film. Maybe in horror, I’ve seen an old hag with thin Gollum-esq hair. Even for men, there is a sense of unattractiveness reinforced in our society when it comes to partial baldness. If your balding, you are probably overweight and unlucky with the ladies too. Homer might have Marge but he is cluelessly lucky to have her. I remember this new teacher at my secondary school. I really liked him, he was very intuitive. But when he first arrived, he had that 1970s combover and large gold-rimmed glasses. He had that classic ‘creep’ look, like the one from the Skrillex video. Poor guy. A couple of years later he finally looked in the mirror, shaved it all off, got contacts and a black turtleneck. Now he looks like Phill Collins which is a massive improvement! At least that’s what our society tells us. You’re either bold or not – no in-between. No wonder Simon Cow and Gorden Ramsey are getting ass cheek hair implanted on their heads. And Prince Willy has shaved it all off too.
Why doesn’t our society like the in-between? Maybe it’s uncanny? Maybe it wants to categorise everything into tiny compartments and label everything. Anything in between is weird, disgusting and must be brushed aside. Anything, on the contrary, ruptures the rigidness of the system. You’re either bald or hairy, your either conservative or labour, male or female, gay or straight, you’re either white or a ‘person of colour’ (that phrase makes me barf for multiple reasons). No politically centric or apolitical, no asexual representation, no women with alopecia, and no Racheal Doezels (controversial – I know)! No ifs. No buts. No in-betweens.
You’re in society, or you’re out.