How do we define femininity?
I’ve been thinking about how we (we as individuals and we as a society) define something or someone as being feminine. When my hair started falling out a few weeks into chemo treatments, I buzzed it off. Brett, Raj, and Fred joined in on the hair-cutting fun and we made an entire night of it 🙂 Some women experience hair loss as a fairly dramatic and emotional experience attached to their cancer treatments so it was really nice having such an awesome set of roommates to back me up.
During the weeks when my hair was very very short, I was surprised by the comments that I received. I would get comments from people who knew exactly what was going on saying “yea…you’re hair is cute short…But it is just so pretty long too!” On the flip side, I would sometimes not get any comments or questions from people who had no idea what was happening with my health…even though I obviously now had a buzz cut. I guess I expected comments but at least ones that came from a place of curiosity (not judgement)…and were friendly 🙂
I started thinking about some of these comments that I received with a buzzed head when I read this article the other day. The article describes how not to say the wrong thing to people going through a tough time. I experienced those types of ‘wrong’ comments as marks against me being feminine because my hair was so short. I even received comments that challenged whether I looked like a woman at all with my buzz cut.
Is hair really something that defines whether one is feminine? Is femininity as simple as a single feature? I’ve been using the label ‘girly’ for these Wednesday posts, but I discussed here about how I use this label as an homage to the parts of life that favor whimsy, feel-good movies, and make up…among other things. An important distinction to make, is that liking the things that society has marked as girly is not a way into woman-hood or into being considered feminine NOR is it a way out of woman-hood or out of being considered feminine. I know plenty of feminine women who don’t wear make up at all for instance….or feel perfectly happy wearing a simple pony tail every day to work or class. People should be free to take or leave whatever aspects society imposes upon us, picking and choosing which ones we adopt, without fear of being marked as un-feminine or less of a woman…without fear of being marked as un-anything or less of anything!
Honestly, having a buzz cut is completely awesome. Besides the side effects of shampoo and sweat more easily running in your eyes, the hair cut is freeing. No fuss…ever! I’m pretty sure I will buzz my hair again at some point in my life. I’m positive that I will chop off most of my hair at another time in my life…I have a secret crush (maybe not so secret?) for short, punky hair cuts. My favorite right now is from a character, Claire Underwood, in the show House of Cards on Netflix.
Image via Return of Kings
So go forth and be feminine however you choose 🙂