For years I had long hair, cut it short, grew it out again, got a pixie, dyed it red, brown, and blonde. Whenever I did something new, people reacted, but generally only mentioned it once and then left it alone. Then back in February, I decided I wanted to shave it off. So I bought clippers and just like that, most of my hair was gone. It wasn’t a full buzz cut yet. The full buzz cut I only did a few days ago.
Why did I do it? Did I want to bring down the patriarchy? Well, yes of course, but that has nothing to do with my hair. 😉
The simple answer is because I wanted to. For a while now I wanted to try a buzz cut because I think it looks super rad on women. I read about how women who did it gained confidence, and while I didn’t expect a hair cut to change my attitude toward life, it kind of did. At least in some ways. All in all, I just wanted to feel good in my own skin, and shaving my head was something fun and exciting that I really wanted to do.
I got a lot of reactions from family, friends, and strangers. Interestingly enough, some of the people closest to me had the more negative responses while the majority of other people said that they loved it and thought it looked really cool. Getting snarky comments from the people closest to you can be hurtful at times. I am assuming it is just because they have known me the longest and are just not used to it. I’m sure they will come around.
So, without further ado, let’s get into some of the things I noticed/that happened when I buzzed my hair:
It is interesting to see what people associate with hair and how they interpret it just because of what society seems to think is “normal.” Society has weird expectations as to how women and men “should” look and many get uncomfortable when you go against it. Putting someone in a box based on their haircut is such a weird concept.
Here are some of the questions I got asked multiple times:
“Are you a lesbian?”—Does hair determine your sexual orientation? I did not know there was a lesbian monopoly on short hair. Expecting every woman with short hair to be a lesbian does a huge disservice to… well, every lesbian. Straight people are allowed to have all the different haircuts but all lesbians must have the same hair? Take notice hetero people: If you cut your hair too short you automatically become gay.
“Do you want to be a man?/ Are you transgender?”—No, I love being a woman. But even if it were the case, there would be nothing wrong with it and it would be none of your business and not your position or right to infer that. Again, how does my hair define my gender or my sex?
“Are you depressed?”—I don’t even know how to respond to this. I have never felt happier or more empowered than I do now. As a person who has struggled with a lot of self-doubt for years, having my mental health questioned like that is uncomfortable and weird. Honestly people, when you see someone with a shaved head, don’t blurt these things at them. If you are worried about someone talk to them. But don’t base your assumptions on a haircut, please.
Even in 2020 there is still a lot of stigma surrounding women with shaved heads. No, I did not have a mental breakdown and nothing drastic happened in my life. A comment I got a few times is “Are you not worried that you will look like you are sick.”
I understand that it might be the first thought that many people have and that they just care about your well-being. But saying that can be disrespectful and probably hurtful for people who might be going through chemo therapy or have other conditions such as Alopecia. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and it is no one else’s business what you do or how you wear your hair. So many badass women are rocking a buzz cut. People might not realize that they are putting others down, even if they come from a place of care. I am not walking around telling someone they look sick because they are pale and are not wearing make-up or that they look old because I can see some wrinkles. So why is it okay, to tell someone with a buzz cut that they don’t look healthy?
Why do people have such a strong attachment to hair?
3. People will disregard personal space
Shaving your head as a woman seems to give people the sign that it is all right to touch your head and pet you without asking. How weird is it that strangers will want to touch your head? Don’t worry though, it doesn’t happen too often, because most people still understand the concept of personal space.
4. No more bad hair days
Wake up, get up, ready to go. No more waking up in the morning and with an extreme case of “bed hair.” Your morning routine is so much quicker now and no more unnecessary worries about whether your hairdo looks good or not for a night out will cross your mind. You might be spending more time doing your make up though or change the way you use it, depending on what makes you most comfortable.
5. Hair grows super fast
While a buzz cut is super low maintenance and saves you tons of money, you will have to shave it every week if you want to keep it looking nice. That gives you a great opportunity though to play around with it. Put different colors on it and if you don’t like it you can do something different two weeks later. I wanted to give my hair a break from years of dyeing it, but I will eventually try some new things.
All in all, I am so happy I did it and I encourage you to try it, too. If you have considered it at one point, go for it! The pros definitely outweigh the cons. Some people might judge you, and tell you, “Oh, but why, you had such pretty hair.” But people will always judge no matter what you do. Wear it with confidence, and don’t let people put you in some imaginary box. Also, shaving your head gives you more time to focus on things that are far more important than hair. Instead of spending hours and money on that you can spend the same hours and money on a hobby, education, or whatever you like. That’s what should define you, not what is (or in this case isn’t) on your head.
Rock that buzz cut if it makes you happy!
Also by Rebecca: 4 High-Protein Vegan Snacks with Just 4 Ingredients
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Photo: Rebecca Willems