My mind-frame has had a theme for the past few months. You could say I’ve been pre-occupied with what people think and how their thoughts and opinions might (not) affect me. So somewhere in the midst of that, I bumped this article that says men hate women with short hair. Or rather, men hate short hair on women. The article was very well written and had me in stitches with gems like:
Women are quick to encourage other women to cut their hair by telling them how “cute” it is. While I’m no scientist, I’m convinced this is some deep, genetic programming at work, one that forces women—who compete with one another on a physical level on a daily basis—to encourage any behavior that might eliminate competitors in the dating pool.
The plaudits a Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, or Anne Hathaway receive when they cut their hair off—from people who have no business commenting on the attractiveness of women, like gay men—creates a copycat cycle that increases the trend geometrically.
I laughed especially hard about gay men not being qualified to comment on what is attractive in a woman. I’ve never thought of it like that. The assumption is gay men are fashionable and astute. It never occurred to me that a person who isn’t attracted to women might not exactly know what makes a woman attractive.
The funny thing is that I’ve been accused of the same thing. I’ve had several encounters with men where I pointed out a woman I thought was hot and they dismissed my suggestion completely. Other times, they go all ga-ga over some woman that I think looks perfectly ordinary.
Two things. First, yes, I’m that girl, the one guys talk to about the hotness of other girls. It’s like they don’t know I’m female! *frustrated sigh* Second, the women I think are attractive are petite – ideally five feet – and have hourglass figures. A-line figures are hot too – that’s the tiny waist and voluptuous hips – the so-called Rwandese figure. For me, curvy is hot, especially if the girl is flatter around the tummy region.
Now, let’s take the example of two hot girls. I’ve polled 15 different men, and they all agree that these girls are off the charts. They’re both petite. One is on the slimmer side – she has the body of a gymnast and loves to party. The other one is shy, a bit more chubby, but she loves to dance. I asked the guys why these girls were rated so highly and they said, “It’s the way she moves. Makes it look like she’d know what to in bed.” Oh. I see. I’d have put it down to their bubbly nature (and affinity for selfies) but hey, what do I know?
In town, I sometimes stare at women that I think are attractive. They have doe eyes and picture perfect faces, or tiny portable bodies with beautiful coca-cola curves. Or they might be a bit larger with hips that couldn’t possibly lie. Some have perfectly rounded breasts that don’t jiggle when they walk – lord knows how. I keep wanting to stop them and ask them where they buy their bras!
I look at them and think wow, I wish I looked more like that. Then as an experiment, I look around to see how many men are staring at these visions of beauty. And every single time I do this experiment, there is no man drooling over my picture-perfect girl. Not one! Are they all blind? At some point, I had to admit that maybe what I think is attractive in a woman isn’t necessarily the same thing men admire.
I pointed this out to a good male friend, and he sneered and said, “But you girls make the rules. You decide which girl is hot and we all agree. You all envy the prettiest girl in your group and act with deference or spite towards her – sometimes both. So we follow your cues and all hit on her.” Yeah, not according to my experiment you don’t.
Anyway, back to the matter of short hair. For a long time, it was assumed that I was making a statement by wearing purple dreadlocks. I wasn’t by the way, I just like purple and the idea of never combing my hair. Now that I have a short afro (which I unfortunately have to comb) it’s once again assumed that I’m either making a statement or following a fad. Again, it was an accidental hairdo, and I’m keeping until I decide what to do next.
The article about girls with short hair being damaged assumes two things [which the writer seems to genuinely believe]. (a) Men love long hair on women, period. (b) Women with short hair have some inherent problem, which is what prompted them to cut their hair. It doesn’t even cross his mind that a girl might just like the short-haired look.
A feminist might argue from the point of, “I’m not made for your pleasure. My hair isn’t intended to make you happy. It’s on my head after all.” A landmark forum leader took the opposite view. “You choose what you wear, but it’s your partner that has to look at you all day. You pass a mirror maybe three or four times a day. The rest of the time, it’s them that have to watch you. So maybe they should have a say in how you look.” By extension, I suppose society should have a hand in dictating fashion, yes?
The writer argues from the basic angle that men dislike short hair and that girls with short hair get hit on less. I don’t fully agree with that, because I’m getting lots more compliments since I went afro. Of course that might be because my previous hairdo involved purple dreadlocks, but not all the compliments are from guys that know me, so it’s not necessarily a before-after kind of thing. Plus, natural afros are currently in vogue in this part of the world, so maybe we’ve taught the guys that TWAs (teeny weeny afros – and yes, I do burst into helpless giggles every time I hear that abbreviation) are attractive. Oh yeah, there’s also this …
Granted a lot of older women wear their hair short(er than they did in their youth), even in the west. And I have my doubts that these First Ladies are part of the Shea Butter Gang. They probably just wash and comb (with a bean comb muhahaha) without all the 69 products, tools, accessories and processes the average modern-day-naturalista uses. Currently, my hair looks a lot like theirs *pointing up there* … except it takes half an hour daily to get that way. Which for me is 30 minutes too long, because I previously had dreads and hadn’t combed my hair in 15 years. Le sigh.
I don’t know about guys liking my new look. The guys at work say it’s gorgeous, but a lot of women in our industry are wearing their hair this way, so either the guys have acclimatised or we’ve trained them really well, muhahahaha. My father and brothers just say I look different. They refuse to commit on whether different is good or bad … but then they didn’t like my previous hairdo either so that’s nothing new.
Strangers in the street seem to be staring more, which could be as much a sign of pleasure as distaste. I’ve received some open compliments from strange men – emphasis on the strange – but that might be because short afros are less intimidating than purple dreads. Overall, I think the afro has been received positively. Still…
Just because you have enough left-over attractiveness to remain bangable after cutting off your hair doesn’t mean you wouldn’t look better with it back on.
Speaking for myself, the article didn’t offend me so much as amuse me, and it still does. It did make me think about what men find attractive, and how much women hurt themselves trying to be hotter when all we’re doing is enhancing features that men might not even notice. And it makes me wonder – what’s more important – being attractive to guys, or being attractive to yourself? Does it matter if a girl walks around feeling absolutely beautiful even if men disagree so much that not a single man is hitting in her? ION…
♫ All of me ♫ John Legend ♫