Recently, I cut all my hair off and I’ve never felt so liberated. I’ll admit it was total impulse decision because I was tired of the same long brown waves and even after dyeing it copper auburn, I still didn’t experience that little thrill and surprise when I bumped into my own reflection. Regardless of how light and breezy it felt, I came to understand that people did not look at my new hair the same way I did.
I was stunned at how many girls asked me “What happened to your pretty curls?” or “What drove you to do it?” because really, did I need to have a meltdown in order to get a haircut? What irked me more were the handful of men that just couldn’t comprehend why a woman would willingly disregard our patriarchal concept of beauty. They felt uncomfortable that a girl would rock a buzz cut better than they would. It was a little funny in a sense, but also so unbelievably shallow especially stemming from grown men.
On nights out, I get a usual amount of drink offers and pathetic attempts at a sort-of conversation before a crude remark. However, when I politely turned them down without my long brown hair to shy away behind, I was branded a “dyke” or other not-so-witty implications that maybe I’d have a penis down there. I’ll admit I was a little taken aback by their cheek but at the end of the night, if I did come across as gay, I must have looked pretty bomb for them to still try with their pitiful pick up lines.
Anyways, all of that got me thinking, why was it such a big deal for a girl to have short hair? Was it such a rarity for a woman to switch things up with a new hairstyle other than the standard luscious long hair or cute fringed bob cuts? We’ve already leaped over the hurdle when it was once only socially acceptable to wear dresses, so I would have assumed that hair and appearances would have followed suit. Despite my naive hope for humanity, society proved that it still has a few knots to comb out and I’m talking about the entire controversial topic of how a women should look.
I’ve never been someone to fret about how I look. I’ve never been the type of girl who would feel pangs of self disgust when I saw the perky butts, toned thighs and flat stomachs of the supermodels on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Nevertheless, I’ll admit there were things about my face and body that I wasn’t so fond of and it bothered me for awhile. When I was younger, I was conscious of which side faced the camera, or if I smiled with teeth and enhanced my crooked lips. I would worry about trivial things like whether my arm hair was too furry or if my torso was proportionate to my chest and legs. Thankfully, even though I occasionally worried over these things, I could always shake it off and convince myself that my mother raised a beautiful woman, regardless of what society expects me to look like.
Not enough people realize that our appearance is just that – something genetic and quite out of our control. If you cannot change it, why beat yourself up over it? Why not accept it and be comfortable in your own skin? I get asked how I am so confident and have even been accused of being full of myself… but people fail to distinguish between confidence and arrogance solely because true self-confidence is so hard to stick by. I found that once I completely disregarded what I believed others thought was appealing, I became more attractive. My crooked smile was prettier and more natural and my awkward poses looked adorable and happy.
A lot of women have understandably attacked magazines and social media for flaunting perfectly bronzed bodies with just the right curves where they are needed. They say they portray an unhealthy and unnatural expectation of how women should look. But do you really think if magazines started posting a more diverse range of body shapes and sizes, women all over the world would feel comfortable in their own skin? And why are we allowing magazines and TV shows to dictate what we should strive to look like in the first place?
Social media caters to us, to society, and we will always have preferences in who we find more attractive. Whether it is the tall and thin runway model or the bootylicious exotic singer, there will always be idealistic appearances that majority of people are drawn to. Descriptions like “fat” and “dark-skinned” are considered offensive because we reinforce the negative stigma attached to it, which as of late is slowing being reversed. Obviously, there will always be narrow minded people who thrive on insulting and putting others down. Call it cliché, but I truly believe in the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Instead of taking it to heart when someone throws a hurtful comment at you, learn to brush it off and laugh because you know it is far from the truth and more a reflection of them than of yourself.
When we get so caught up in our looks, we forget about all the important attributes we have to offer and all our potential to become better versions of ourselves. I have met a number of women on the heavier side who tend to be hostile and easily provoked over the insignificant callousness of others, especially because they are aware that their outlook isn’t what society deems attractive. They were so quick to spring up an argument to back up their fight for equality and fit into the world of size zeros, that it clouded their humor and blitheness over other things they enjoyed. In contrast, the fit girls, who obsessed over counting calories and struggled to squeeze in their daily jog, were so eager to find flaws in others. As if the hard work was never enough to make them feel beautiful unless they forced it down everyone’s throat and undermined other people’s progress. My point is that there is no ideal weight or look that will equate to people liking you more. As long as you feel healthy and learn to be content with how you look, it will not matter what anybody says or does.
Once you stop caring about what other people think and trying to confine yourself into attractive labels, you are free to make your own definition of beauty. And who would be better suited for your very own definition of beauty than yourself? I say to hell with the concept of vanity. Take a million selfies, admire your reflection, and understand that you’ll never be perfect but on your bad days you can still say “Fuck it, I’m still beautiful”.