Here I am, shaving machine on my hand, my boyfriend next to me, tying my hair in different sections. Heart racing, thoughts racing, and then… chop. There’s no going back now.
I had been thinking about shaving my hair for what feels like forever now. And after having done it, I do not regret it one bit. I am actually the happiest, most confident and most empowered I have ever felt. Seeing the hair being buzzed off was the most liberating experience I have felt. A weight was lifted off my shoulders (pun intended). As someone who casually would experiment with her hair, I know people would think that I was having a mental breakdown. But this is exactly why I did it. I realized that the only reason why I was not following through with this idea was because of the dreadful thought: what will everyone think of this? But as I was talking about it with my friends a realization came to my mind: why do I care about what others will think about my own hair and choices?
We have internalized misogynistic, expensive and (at times) painful beauty standards, and for what? The male gaze? Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the choice to do absolutely whatever they want. This is the whole point: you want to shave your hair off? Go ahead, please do it. Do you want to grow beautifully long locks? Go ahead and do this too. But don’t feel obliged to do so. I got comments on how this was such a power move, so bold, and so impressive, but it shouldn’t be. It should not be a sign of courage to defy our everyday beauty standards imposed on women sometimes as an oppressive mechanism of control. Instead, we should encourage each other and be kind to each other so as to empower change, to empower women to break away from the societal norms that are set there to define us and to a huge extent control us.
I am constantly asked why I decided to shave my hair and the answer is that I just wanted to, there is nothing else behind this: no mental breakdown, no desperate call for attention, nothing of that sort. But in retrospect here are some reasons why I am thrilled that I did make this decision about my appearance:
It is empowering
I have never felt this liberated in my life. It is all me. There is nothing to hide behind of, nothing to conceal or “react to” when I am not feeling like myself. I get glares, whispers when I cross strangers, but I guess that means I am on to something, right? I am so confident in rocking this new look, not because people are telling me it looks great with my face but because it is so unapologetically me and this is it. Having faced one of the most stigmatizing beauty standards: aka what I felt like I should be doing with my hair, I feel like I can face any other challenge thrown my way. Imagine this: how much power simple strands of hair can have over us.
It is cheaper & more practical
I walked out of the shower, and my hair was immediately dry. I do not have to spend 15-20 minutes braiding my hair, straightening it or drying it. I can just walk out as I am. I do not have to buy styling products or new tools. I also spent 5 minutes in the shower to get ready – it is environmentally friendly because I am not going to spend money buying shampoos and conditioners, often packaged in plastic to maintain this mess on my hair.
My hair will grow out stronger than ever & I can experiment as much as I want to
This is pretty self-explanatory. I want to bleach my hair? Two weeks later, I can shave it all off again.
Who cares what people think?
My friends and partner, thankfully, supported my every step and encouraged me to just do it. But even if they hadn’t: who cares? This is a great way to filter the people in your life, break away from the mainstream, basic beauty standards if this is what you want to, and if anybody wants to tell you not to, they are probably bringing a lot of toxic energy in your life, to begin with.