The first time I wanted to cut my hair as a teenager, my mother sent me off to my father who gave me the reply, “are you a boy that you want to cut your hair?” In my little mind, I could not understand the need for my father’s permission or what being a boy had anything to do with it. But I held off my plans.
One of the first acts of ‘ rebellion’ when I realised I could do whatever I wanted with myself, was to loc my hair before cutting it completely. I didn’t wait until I was safely away in school. I did it right under my parents’ roof.
In the movie Nappily Ever After, the lead actress lived her life searching for perfection. She was led to believe that a certain standard existed when it came to a woman’s beauty, which is linked to how acceptable and wanted she is to a man. When the moment came for her to search within and find happiness, the first thing she did was shave off her hair.
Sometime around March, Twitter influencer and feminist, Mona Eltahawy, posted a picture of herself in a new haircut, a buzz cut to be precise. She looked gorgeous. To my dismay, I saw people post comments rebuking the act. Some people argued that cutting off her hair, “reduces her womanhood,” while others said, “it is of little or no consequence and shouldn’t be termed as a movement or giant stride.”
Personally, I believe a woman can make a bold statement by the choices she makes about her body and hair. A hair cut, for instance, may symbolise readiness for growth, or an impending change. It is accepting that she can be beautiful with or without it and she can make that choice by herself.
Many women who go to the barbers’ shop are asked if their boyfriends or husbands are comfortable with them cutting their hair or would still find them attractive. But fam! it is our hair and it exists for us, not to be used as a standard for our beauty or weaponized against us. For instance, certain traditions exist that mandate the woman to cut her hair when she loses her husband, parents cut their daughter’s hair to serve as a form of punishment.
By the time I finally cut my hair, I knew I was reinventing my mind and dismissing a lot of things I was taught to hold on to. “It is just hair,” some people say, but then again, it isn’t always that simple. My hair is an extension of my identity and cutting it off, doing what I really want with it for the first time, felt as though I finally had the power to say what I wanted to say and show off myself the way I wanted to be seen.