Haircut Hope


To quote Oscar Wilde, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” I’ve been thinking about this observation for some time now. So I’ve done a little research into the literary symbolism of a woman cutting her hair. You see, I’ve been restless and pondering what defines me. I’m thinking it’s time to spice things up a bit. I’m about to make a cut.

There is no universal implication about a woman cutting her hair in literature. In some instances, a woman’s hair is cut without her consent as a way to symbolize defeat, imprisonment, lost vitality, and even illness or death. In other instances, a woman cuts her own hair as an act of defiance, upheaval, or significant change. One thing is certain, a woman’s character is often defined by her hair. I’m astounded at the literary implications.

Writing prompt:  What stereotypes surface when a character has long, straight blonde hair? Or red curls? What is the difference between these images? Do you use these stereotypes in your writing? Can you challenge yourself to write complex, intelligent, strong women without conforming to these norms? I certainly hope so.

As for me, I don’t know if there is significance in my desire for a new do, but I’m excited by the potential. I am embarking on a sort of personal journey and I’m tired of the tangles.




2 thoughts on “Haircut Hope

  1. I don’t know much about blonde+straight, but I do know that red+curly (particularly if the curls are tight and, ahem, kinky) is a frequently fetishized look for men in US culture. On par with the black bob with Bettie Page bangs in terms of being considered a sexualized look. As in, men talked about it with me when I dyed red. It wasn’t always that way – in the 1800s redheaded women were shunned as unlucky (we discussed that in one of my undergrad classes when we read a Henry James novel).

    But it’s not only women that are defined by their hair. In addition to the practical necessities of helmets and such, as a poet warrior I’m sure you are aware of the basic training haircut as a tool of military leadership to strip new recruits of identity. This has been recognized in various cultures as a psychological tool long before the US military existed. I’m thinking specifically of the shaven heads of Buddhist monks. When I was active on the E-Sangha, there was a bit of a debate about the shaven head as a way to let go of the Self. Someone who wasn’t initiated claimed that it was just another hairstyle, and an initiate countered that a shaved head requires practically no daily maintenance – the act of maintaining a shave can be performed much less frequently than washing, brushing, etc. required for almost any style.

    I like your ‘do. For what it’s worth, I heard years ago that people generally don’t change their hairstyle unless they feel something more significant about themselves has changed.


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