On December 24th 2016, I cut my hair.
Naturally, the initial response to my Big Chop was that I was losing my mind:
“Why’d you cut off all your hair?”
“I guess you could always where a wig.”
“I almost fainted.”
After a while, I started to wonder whether or not these responses were ones of genuine concern or really just displays of discomfort. But then I ask myself why the fuck do they care so much what I do with my hair? Then, I remembered that female and black beauty are always policed by society so this wasn’t unusual, it was reflective.
I think a lot of the “concern” comes from the thought that I am no longer fuckable. Many of us have this idea that women must have long hair to be beautiful. Nowadays, that perception is changing and #baldbeauty is everywhere. That said, I hate that simply cutting my hair has made my beauty “alternative.”
But, I didn’t cut my hair on spontaneous whim. I had been waiting and waiting and waiting to do so for a long time. In Spring of 2016 I proposed to do a performance where I shaved my head to reclaim black female subjectivity. I created a book called, “Black Is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair,” that featured a collection of poems about black hair politics. As Summer neared, I decided it wasn’t the time to shave my head, but in researching the project I learned a lot about ideals of female beauty.
In the black community, black women with relaxed hair sometimes perform “The Big Chop” to return to their natural hair texture, but that isn’t why I cut my hair. The truth is I don’t like long hair, and hair extensions are expensive. Overtime, I was getting closer and closer to the desire of shaving my head. I cut my hair to my shoulders, then to into a bob, then to a pixie, and now here I am.
The other thing is that I don’t care about being sexualized by men. I don’t care if I’m not ‘fuckable’ anymore because I’m not made to be fucked by everyone. My beauty is personal – which I’ve mentioned often in my posts- it has nothing to do with being loved or liked by strangers, but about being loved by myself.
I didn’t cut my hair because ‘I’m losing my mind,’ I cut my hair because I no longer liked to painfully and chemically alter my hair. I cut my hair because I wanted to save more money and could save $500 annually if I stopped going to a salon. And I didn’t want my family/friend’s perceptions of female beauty to stop me from doing what I wanted.
No, I won’t be wearing a wig anytime soon. I had relaxed my hair for more than 10 years, and I’m only beginning to discover what my natural hair texture is like. How fucked up is that-that I don’t know what my own hair type is like naturally? Let me remind you that your beauty belongs to you, your body belongs to you, so you should have the final say when it comes to those facets.