Ever see that movie "Good Hair" by Chris Rock? It's pretty funny and eye opening in my opinion.It deals with the concept of what is "good hair" in the African American community, and in particular women's hair. Besides the important cultural issues raised by the movie's topic, there is a large underlying issue of the role a woman's hair plays in society. Remember about a year ago when there was a news story about an anchorwoman who received mail about her hairstyle? I am sure it exists somewhere but I don't se news stories about men receiving mail about their hairstyles...
Women's hair is wrapped up in all sorts of gender and cultural issues and norms. Long hair for many cultures is praised as a sign of femininity and beauty, of youth and possibly links to fertility. Perhaps some of those run so deep that even in today's modern society a woman's hair, including its length,texture and styling, swill still raise eyebrows when it is somehow perceived to be less than whatever the ideal is at the time.
As someone who has had her hair supershort and fairly long,and everything in between, I can speak to the length issue.I once had a customs officer, male, look at my passport picture with long hair then back at me and say AUDIBLY ,"I don't know why some women insist on cutting their hair short." At the time I was young enough to feel cowed by this and not say anything but simmered inside. Nowadays I would likely have some smart thing to say to this impolite officer, something that actually is true like: "probably because they like it short, like how you choose your own hairstyle, right?"
My young daughter recently wanted her air cut very short into a pixie.I went through months of talking to her about it, not because of what other people would say but because I wanted her to be READY for other people might say.I want my kids to be tough and do what they feel is right, especially concerning their own likes and dislikes.But my daughter is also quite young and sensitive so I didn't want unforeseen negative comments to hurt her. I warned: some people won't like it, some of your friends may ask why you cut it, how will you feel if your best friend doesn't like it? By the time we headed to the hairdresser she was ready. And of course it came out wonderfully(I would never think it did not, she is my adorable daughter after all!). But if it had not, I would have wanted her to know that that's okay, it's just hair and not your soul, that you are no less smart or beautiful, and that judging based on hairstyle is not right. Ever.