I didn’t have a reason to cut off my hair

By Katie Waldron


Women’s hair is the subject of great scrutiny. Celebrity award shows are rife with opinions, compliments and complaints about women’s hair. Many movies and television shows, including “Girls,” “Tangled” and “The Big Bang Theory,” use the trope of a woman cutting off all of her hair to signify some major plot point or to emphasize character development. Short hair used to be, and perhaps still is, stigmatized as a signifier of sexuality.

Even my philosophy professor, who I regarded as absolutely brilliant, stated that when women become feminists or begin to analyze systemic issues of sexism or misogyny, they cut off their hair. There are countless opinions on the Internet about why women should stop cutting off all of their hair, even to the extent that some believe short hair ruins a woman’s aesthetic completely – read Return of Kings if you do not believe me.

This is the environment I was met with when I cut off all my hair a couple years ago. I went from hair below my shoulders to Anne Hathaway’s hair in “Interstellar”. When people saw me for the first time after cutting it all off, I was met with assumptions and questions like “Why did you cut off your hair?” “You must be a hardcore feminist,” “You looked so much better with longer hair,” “Are you trying to make a statement?” and “You’re so brave for cutting it all off.” Frankly, it was irritating because I really did not have a reason for cutting off my hair. It was not to make a statement, and it certainly was not because I wanted to advertise my political beliefs to the entire world via my head. I just wanted a change.

Let me make it clear: I do identify as a feminist. I am a liberal. But there is no reason for my hair to advertise that for me. It is not as though I suddenly read “The Feminine Mystique” and ran out to Supercuts. I got a pixie cut because I thought it would look cute. I got a pixie cut because I thought it would be easier to maintain, even though it wasn’t. Then, I grew out my hair to shoulder-length and I stopped getting side-eyes from people wondering why my hair was so short. Then I cut it again. The process repeated.

I have no plans to cut it off again, and when I confided this fact in a friend, he asked me if it was because I did not want to be stereotyped as a feminist. Just as there is no profound reason for me cutting off my hair, there is no profound reason for me growing it out again.

I did not have a reason to cut off my hair. I did not do it because I’m a feminist. I did not do it because I’m a liberal. I didn’t do it because I wanted to bravely defy stereotypes of femininity. I was just a girl with short hair for two years.


Kate Waldron is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]