Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Breakdown of "Girls With Short Hair Are Damaged"

When a friend of mine from work told me that she was going to send me the link to this article I recoiled from the title. When I discovered that it was written by a man I became more disturbed. Then I read it... and as upset as I was about the title, it was nothing compared to how I feel now, having read the rest of it. I'm not going to link you to the article because I don't feel comfortable contributing to his page traffic, but if you feel so inclined, you can google it.

My first thought based on the title, was that I'd really like to retort, snarkily, that Men who feel like it's possible to judge an entire group of people based on a hair cut are pretty damaged themselves.
However... I am trying really hard to not be snarky about people I disagree with (the world needs a lot more kindness and even if someone is being absolutely horrible, like this particular human is, I can still try to be kind). So, I'm going to simply break this down in the simplest, kindest terms I can manage.

In the very first line of his article this man says,
"No woman in all of human history has ever looked better with short hair than she would with a head full of healthy locks."

So, we can all agree that this is a remarkably subjective statement right? I know plenty of women who I think look quite beautiful with short hair, perhaps more beautiful that with long hair. I also know men who have told me, while I had long hair, that they preferred short hair cuts on women. Despite these bits of evidence, the writer calls his statement an "irrefutable fact" (snarky me really wants to add, "...maybe he should look up the definition of the word irrefutable").

Then, our misguided writer claims to know the "true reasons" all women have for cutting their hair short, he also makes sure his readers know that "donating their hair to sick kids or the summer weather" are not "true reasons."
The reasons, he insists, have more to do with girl hate (women telling each other that short hair is cute so they won't grow it out and become competition), and with having been "damaged." He only gives one example of being damaged when he shares an anticdote about a woman who told him she cut her hair because she needed a change after going through a breakup. She told him that she cut it so she would not be hit on so often, she said she "wanted to be alone for awhile after [her] break up." Another reason, he insists, is due to the "fact" that women have a higher "copy-cat instinct than men." He says this "fact" is "well documented," although he does not provide a source.

Okay, so lets break some of this down.

Firstly: Women and men have all kinds of reasons for doing any of the things that men and women do. If a woman cuts her hair short it could be for one of the reasons he's listed above (besides the copy-cat thing, because that is complete, ridiculous, bullshit), but it could also be because she wants to donate her hair to sick kids, or because she's sick of her head being so hot and heavy in the summer, or because she hates taking the time to do her hair in the morning, or because she wants to save money on water, hair product, and drying time. Maybe having long hair is dangerous or inconvenient for the kind of work she does, maybe.... well maybe one person can't possibly know all the reasons another person could have for cutting his/her hair.

Secondly: If a woman feels like she needs to chop all her hair off or gain a lot of weight or otherwise noticeably alter her body to stop or slow the advances of men maybe it isn't a sign that she's damaged at all. Maybe it's a sign that our society is damaged, that our society doesn't respect the autonomy of women, that society doesn't recognize women as human beings as much as it recognizes us as objects or accessories. 

Next he talks about a woman in Argentina who told him she would "rather die" than cut her hair short. She tells him about a friend who asked for two centimeters cut off her hair, when the hair-dresser took 4 centimeters the woman was devastated and cried every morning for at least ten days.
Uhm... okay? What does this have to do with women having short hair? Two women love their long hair, so there can't be a woman who doesn't want that now? I'm going to assume my readers are intelligent and will not stoop to explaining this fallacy any further.

The next paragraph starts with this:
"The truth of the matter is that long hair's almost universally attractive to men..."
And I will get snarky here because really what he's saying is that he, and most other men, think women with long hair are more attractive. So I'll just say two things to him:
1. You have no right to generalize all men.
2. Sir, I don't give a flying f*ck what you find attractive. I care about what is comfortable, functional, convenient, and attractive to ME. Because guess what??? It's MY body and MY hair; it has absolutely nothing to do with you, or any man, or any other human for that matter.

A bit later he lists some qualities women who choose short hair will have. He bases these qualities on women he's met in bars and says short hair is a "near guarantee" that a woman will be more
abrasive
masculine
deranged
bitchy
confrontational
aggressive

He takes the opportunity here to also call women with these qualities "cunts."
He also mentions that short-haired women he's encountered have used "filthy" language, using words like pussy and cock "even," *gasp* "when [their] clothes were on."

Okay... so first of all, I wonder what kind of pick up lines this guy uses... he's obviously pretty ignorant, sexist, even misogynistic. Even if I were single and this man tried to hit on me in a way that made those things clear, I would likely react to him in an abrasive and "bitchy" way. Mostly because I've encountered many situations in which a polite refusal was not respected by ignorant, sexist men. And based on this article he's written he has no issues telling a woman with short hair that she's ruined any chances of being found attractive by him. I am currently wearing my hair in a short, layered A-line, if this guy had the bad manners to inform me of his unattainable interest I would have a hard time resisting the temptation to tell him where he can shove his sexism.
Also, I'm pretty sure... okay, 100% sure, cause I just read it again, that he used the word "cunt" to describe women with "short-ass hair" but he presents it as a sign of being "damaged" that a woman would say pussy or cock outside of the bedroom. Again, I know you're intelligent, so I just won't... expect to say that who a woman is inside and outside of the bedroom shouldn't have to be different people unless she wants them to be.

He talks about another short-haired girl he dated who gave him a hand job while texting her "secret" boyfriend and another who was emotionless during sex (uhm.. red flags for anyone else??) and used racial slurs. I think this has a lot less to do with having short hair than it does with a whole lot of other issues. How is short hair not completely incidental in these examples? If this man's biggest problems here are about hair length, it makes me feel like he must not really see women as being the kind of full human beings men are... how else can these huge issues be taking a back-seat to a hair cut?

He ends this piece by writing,
"Not only is short-hair unattractive, it's one of the biggest signals a man can get that a woman is damaged beyond repair. There's no such thing as "pulling it off.""

Again, I don't care what this guy thinks is unattractive and I don't think that women have any kind of responsibility to make themselves attractive for men. I suppose that if a person really believed, as this writer seems to, that women exist mainly to be found attractive by men it would make sense that an act contrary to that obligation (like having short hair) could be seen as a "signal that a woman is damaged." However, women do not exist to be found attractive to men. The fact that this writer and many other people seems to believe this myth is troubling to me. If women only exist for the pleasure of men, and if women aren't as fully human as men, what right does a woman have to say "No" when he wants more than visual pleasure?

This also writer mentions, at one point, that there are "people who have no business commenting on the attractiveness of women, like gay men." Well, dear writer, I feel I must inform you that you are correct in assuming that there are people who have no business commenting on the attractiveness of women. YOU are one of those people. In fact, EVERYONE is one of those people unless an opinion is specifically asked of them.

Why would anyone think it was any of their business to comment on the physical ways any another person chooses to express themselves? Let's take some advice from our old friend Thumper; if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.


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