Deciding To Cut All My Long Hair Off – Yosr’s Hair Storyyosrabdelbary
I think for a lot of people, specifically women, their hair becomes a huge part of their identity. I think that’s why being shamed for the way your hair looks in its natural form can be traumatic for children – it’s like you’re telling them, who you are is not okay or worse, who you are is ugly. Luckily, I didn’t have this kind of upbringing. Since I was a little kid my mother would remind me how beautiful I was, especially when bullies at school told me I wasn’t. Beauty looked a particular way in the stories I read and in the movies I watched on TV. In those movies, all the princesses I saw had long, long locks. Beauty seemed to have long hair. I felt lucky to have it. Having long hair as a young girl or as a woman means that you’re as feminine as can be. We were taught that our girlhood is tied to our hair. Long, flowing hair was always deemed to be an asset.
My mom always reminded me how beautiful my long hair was. It was a huge part of my identity. I loved my hair. It represented me and made me feel good about myself. At the same time, I wasn’t allowed to cut it short as I was growing up. It always had to be long because I was told short hair wouldn’t suit me and that my long hair was too beautiful to cut. And being beautiful, as society continues to wrongly teach us, is our social currency as young girls and women. Society says your adherence to beauty standards is what defines your worth and while I heard and saw and read this messaging over and over, I resisted it. At least, inside of me I did.
Eventually, I cut my hair in university but not too short still, it was when I went through a deep transformative change in my life that I began to act on what I felt all along – being beautiful to others at the cost of not being who I really am is empty and lonely. It reinstates this misogynistic idea that what we think and how we feel as women doesn’t matter and how we look like to others will always be more important.
I went to the hairdresser and I cut my hair the shortest it’s ever been. It was beautiful and full and lush and in the mirror, I saw myself. The person I wanted to be all along. Not the longhaired girl with all this pressure on her shoulders to conform and be what everybody else wanted but a new, confident girl who made decisions for herself based on what she thought was beautiful. That was the power behind it. Taking control back and embracing my identity and telling society I was going to be myself regardless of whether or not it found me beautiful because beauty wasn’t the point, listening to and loving myself was.
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