“A woman who cuts her hair, is about to change her life.” Coco Chanel
A-listers Katy Perry and Zendaya have blazed the trail this year with their daring pixie cuts. Actress, Kate Hudson boldly buzzed her hair for a role while stunning model, Dilone also embraced the shaven look this season. By their own admission these women have found the venture both liberating and empowering. This hot trend has inspired many women to ask; Should I make the cut?
Jade McNamara is an expert beauty blogger @bigbrowmessyhair. Jade declares; “Scarlett Johanson has been rocking a pixie cut for the past three years and it looks amazing on her. You can’t talk about a pixie cut and not mention Ruby Rose. She makes every girl want to break free and grab the scissors. In 2017 Zendaya also rocked the pixie cut.”
While numerous celebs have embraced “the chop” many “regular women” may be deterred from following this trend. In particular, they fear the impact their short hair may have upon the opposite sex. Martin Robinson is editor of men’s online magazine, The Book of Man. On the subject of short hair, Martin says; “In my experience I think men find it equally attractive as long hair, maybe even more so, because it’s more of a novelty. Certainly I’ve never heard of a man being turned off a girl because she’s had her hair cut. Long hair seems to be a desirable female expectation so engrained among women from an early age that it becomes entirely dominant. Maybe an evolutionary psychologist would suggest it is attractive at a subconscious level due to its flowing feminine quality but I’d put it down to cultural expectations, passed down through generations.”
Some women do worry that the length of their hair is perceived by men as being central to femininity and attractiveness. Many are anxious that in romantic relationships, short hair may be something of a “deal breaker.” Martin Robinson considers; “There have been many examples through the years of women who have broken this mould and established short hair as a cool, sexy thing – off the top of my head: Louise Brooks, Mia Farrow, Edie Sedgewick, Debbie Harry, Winona Ryder, Jean Seberg and Demi Moore.” Robinson continues, “There are many aspects to female attractiveness, of which hair is one, but I don’t think it’s as dominant as women have been conditioned to think it is.” It seems, in fact, that there are female celebs whose desirability actually increased as the length of their locks decreased. Martin Robinson declares, “Natalie Portman looked great.”
While some men may admire short tresses, as the saying goes, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. Jade McNamara explains, “I think everyone has their own idea of beauty. What one person is attracted to, is not necessarily what the next person might be attracted to”
When it comes to hair length it does appear that there is something of a “double standard” whereby it is more socially acceptable for men to have long hair, than it is for women to sport short locks. Fashion blogger, Jade, considers; “I think it is far more acceptable for men to have long hair; but in every day scenarios (off the red carpets) the everyday man, I feel, would be judged if he chose to have long hair.” Martin Robinson, expresses a similar sentiment, “Possibly in the celeb world yeah – certainly the men aren’t quite so analysed for it psychologically, as women with short hair often are; one other thing is that women cutting off their hair is sometimes associated with them having some kind of breakdown, as with Britney Spears, or portrayals of ‘mad’ women in something like Girl, Interrupted.”
It seems that there may be some substance to this perception. Dr. Arthur Cassidy is a well established Social Media and Celebrity Psychologist. Dr. Cassidy explains, “We know from clinical psychological research, that some late adolescents and young female adults who have or are going through relationship breakups or divorce, will use these shaven heads or extraordinary eye catching fashion to make a statement as to their own emotional crisis.”
It can also be the case that the drastic change in hairstyle can be symbolic of a rejection of past self identity and indicative of a woman regaining control of who she really is. Dr. Cassidy says, “We do know that it is mostly a radical change in cut, texture and shape that reflects her reconstrual of her personal identity.” This sentiment was expressed by pop star Rihanna, who, after going for the chop, asserted; “When I cut my hair, the whole sound changed, my style changed.”
Embracing shorter tresses can, in some cases, be a confident act of rebellion. This is often evident in young adults. Dr. Cassidy explores this phenomenon; “It’s usually rebellion either against past self where the teenager or young adult loathes their past self conception and is motivated to reassess this former identity and establish a new sense of self.” Changing ones hair can undoubtedly have a profound impact on a woman’s entire being. Renowned fashion designer Coco Chanel encapsulated this theme when she famously affirmed, “A woman who cuts her hair, is about to change her life.”
Past experience shows that a dramatic change in a celebrity’s hairdo can certainly spark a craze. It is already evident that this short hair phenomenon has inspired a trend. Dr. Cassidy says; “There is tentative research which shows that celebrity fans, both in UK and in USA continuously explore their own vulnerable personal identities by “trying on” a variety of their celebrities hairstyles and fashion.” This was evident when “The Rachel” inspired a generation of young women to emulate the hairstyle of the famous character in the globally popular sitcom, “Friends.”
In today’s society, as in previous generations, the enormous significance of the style of one’s hair cannot be trivialised. It is of undeniably profound importance. In this vein former US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, once notably directed a group of Ivy League students to; “Pay attention to your hair because everyone else will.”
With this in mind women may wrestle with the decision to follow the A List movement and “make the cut.” They may fear judgement by society in general and men in particular. For others choosing to make the cut can be a confident act of rebellion and a rejection of the status quo.
It is clearly the ultimate expression of individuality and daring to follow one’s own idea of style and beauty, regardless of others expectations. Beauty blogger Jade expresses this sentiment in relation to American Model Dilone’s striking buzzed style; “I think it shows confidence in choosing to follow your idea of style and beauty and not following the cookie cutter expectations of beauty.”
It is the surest expression of “girl power” to march to the beat of one’s own drum and embrace a hairstyle that both flatters your features and is an expression of your individuality and self-assuredness. For en vogue women, confident in their own skin, anything short of this, simply -just won’t- cut it.
By Paula Logan