Saturday, 7 July 2012

Baal Baal Dekho

I hated my hair as a kid. My parents would take me to the barber’s shop every six months for a haircut. I’d hate that place. Because every time I went there, my 10 inches long hair would be trimmed down to 3 inches. I had a boy-cut till I was 7 years old and a really short bob for the next 3 years. I’d always wish I had longer hair which could at least be plaited down into cute braids. You see, there’s a certain amount of vanity in long tresses.

By the time I got into the 6th grade, I had shoulder length hair and I had decided upon growing it even longer. This was the time when the ritualized trips to the barber had come to an end and my mother finally decided to give me the freedom to style my hair whichever way I wanted. I grew my hair for the next couple of years. I finally had hair long enough to be tied into braids. But this was when I realized how unmanageable long hair can get.

Life without hair must be a lot easier to take. People who lose their hair and/or choose to shave their heads would know this.

A man can freely do so without giving it a second thought, but if a girl decides to take this step, she will become the talk of the town. Her bald head will soon become controversial. After all, a woman can’t go against what the society expects her to be –a fragile object of beauty? It just wouldn’t make sense in this society who has taught women to be Cosmo girls who wear high heels, have a beautiful figure, pursed lips, small hips and long and pretty hair. And even though it’s just hair, it says something about the vanity of our culture, doesn’t it? Despite how far we’ve come, beauty and sexuality remain tied to a woman’s hair.   

Why does a girl suddenly become unattractive if she has no hair on her head? Is our identity really a haircut away from being taken? What is this global fetish with hair?

Women have always conformed to the norms of the society. If we don’t toe the line of femininity or behave in a way which is even slightly different from the way society expects us to behave, we’re labeled as freaks. Outcasts. 

Sure, not every girl will look like Demi Moore from GI Jane or Natalie Portman from V for Vandetta, and some might even look crazier than the bald Britney Spears, but what people fail to realize is that nobody’s identity is molded by their hair, but rather by the content of their character; their morals, their values, their thoughts and their dreams.

And if a woman DOES decide to do this, she will surely be looked down upon. Some people might even stare at her, mock her, think she is stoned or start speculating about her sexuality. After all, long tresses have always looked desirable on women. It is the symbol of beauty  and if they are chopped off, people would say a woman has lost her sheen, even her femininity.

Come to think of it, shaving off the hair must be liberating. It’s low maintenance too. Going bald would also be more environment-friendly in saving water and the time that people spend in the shower washing and styling their hair. They wouldn’t have to worry about spending money on haircuts or on all those hair products people use to make their hair look lustrous and less stringy.

I’ve always wanted to try this too. But it’s difficult –throwing away something sure about yourself, a quintessential part of your identity. And it takes a strong person to break out from the normal and be different.
So, I guess I still try to hide behind the wall of my own hair because when I look at myself, that is one of the few beautiful things that I see  –and I know I have a lot to work on when it comes to my self esteem. I want to know what it feels like to not worry about my appearance. I want to know what it feels like to look a certain way that will ensure that no sane guy would ever hit on me and still be okay with it. I want to know what it feels like to be appreciated as who I’ve put in the time and effort to really become, and not just the body I was born in.

There will always be people who’ll tease me or deride me, but I guess I’ll also be able to find out who my real friends are; people who’ll be willing to look past my face and love the person inside.

I refuse to tell myself that I won’t value the same because I look a certain way. I know my hairstyle doesn’t define who I am. Plus, it’s just hair –It grows back! But I also realize that life would not be the same for me once I decide to do something so extreme. Maybe someday I’ll be able to muster all my courage and actually do it.

I wish I lived in a world where people are not so concerned with superficial ideas. At the end of the day, I don’t want people to remember me by the way I look or dress or carry my hair, but by the person I am.

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  1. This is awesome + I love the title. :)

  2. Finally commenting on the post :D Good read re...Also had a whole fascination with the long hair thing....could never get around to it...still dont know how Anushree manages it.

    1. Yay! Thank you so much. :D

      P.S. I'm gonna make Anushree cut her hair short soon. :P

  3. Hello, I ran into your blog, when I was going through bald women pictures on google. I read this particular post through and I see you, who sees all the prons and cons, hesitate on the matter of going hairless or not. So I can say that I shaved my head bold two years ago (allthough I left a little ponytail on the backside). I do not regret my decission, it was truly liberating and I would like to do it again someday, but at this point I am growing my hair back long, at least for now, it is fun to be different. I donated my hair to an organisation, which makes wigs for people with cancer, so my hair didn`t go to waste, at least I hope so.

    Anyways, I understand what you are saying in your post, but if you really want to, I`d say go for it, because the most imporant thing in this case is what you think of it. If doing so would make you happy, then it`s worth it. Good luck!

    And to end my comment I`d like to quote Paulo Coelho: "Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience."

    All the best,
    Tanya from Estonia

    1. Hi, tanya ;) love your thoughts! I wan't to have a semibald hair, too. I'm almost on my way to the salon, but as a staff of a Christian and non-profit organization, i informed our HR officer. unfortunately, she did not allowed me to do it. i
      understand her thoughts, but i'm still very excited and willing to take risk to do it. as a respect for the organization my plan will be delayed. Well, looking forward to finish my project here, and have a semi bald hair in a couple of months! -ana

    2. Hello!

      First of all I'd like to tell you how much I admire you for doing something like that. It takes a lot of courage to be different. And shaving your head is, in a way, like shouting to the world "I don't give a fuck!". But i admire you more so for donating your locks to a truly wonderful cause. Your hair surely did not go to waste!

      I too have been wanting to do it for quite some time now. And it is added in my "Things-To-Be-Done-Before-I-Turn-21" list.

      It might be difficult at first, but I'm pretty sure it'll be an amazing experience. And I'm all the more encouraged by you!

      Cheers! :)

      P.S. The Paulo Coelho quote makes me want to chop my hair off right now! :P

  4. Hi there! I ran across your blog post just now looking for something completely different. Actually, how to grow and take better care of my hair ;) I'm a bit late to the party, but I'd like to leave a comment- I shaved my head when I was 14 (yes, I'm a female), I kept it that way until just before my 21st birthday. It all started with me shaving the back of my head as was super popular in the early 90's, it kept getting higher and higher every time I did it until I got to a thin Mohawk with a long thin ponytail. Then one day I was just like f' it. I don't wanna deal with hair any more. (Yes my parents were ticked, but oh well) so anyway, I was shaving with a razor by 15, yep- to the skin. Oh my god it was nice! I never bought shampoo, just scrubbed my head with a wash cloth. If I didn't have time to wash up, well, no greasy hair! The wind felt amazing on a freshly shaved head. I could leave the house from waking up in under 20 minutes including having time to eat. I had a huge collection of stocking caps for my cold noggin too. - I ended up deciding to grow it back out when it started getting hard to find a job that didn't have a hat as part of the uniform (been working since 16). I also have a lot of tattoos and I guess, the two social anomalies combined made me a bit intimidating to people who didn't know me. Here's the problem- it was trying to grow it back. It was really hard to get past the awkward stage! Where it was about 2.5" long all over and didn't want to do anything nice. I have a few cow-licks and poofy hair normally. I tried to grow it out for over a year and kept re shaving it. So finally I got a really nice hat and that hat did not leave my head for almost 2 years. It grew back out darker and curlier than I remember it too. So anyway, since then, I've mostly kept it short. Having it shaved so long I never got a hang of how to do anything with it or how to take care of it. I'm 32 now, and still can't figure out how to do anything with it. It's always a mess. Ill get it long and cant stand taking care of it or how easily it gets damaged and cut it back to a short bob, then start all over again. I would totally shave it again and just be done with it. But myself, I have never had "long" hair and think I would like to at least once before going all grey. ANYWAY... Speaking from experience, I never had any major issues socially when I shaved my head. People were always fascinated and wanted to ask all kinds of questions. Some even wanted to touch it, haha. The problem was always with potential employers, they always thought that meant I was into something strange. IF you have a secure job, and you can make it past the awkward grow out stage when you've had enough of being bald, then oh my god, you should totally do it at least once. It was liberating not having that burden of having to manage it and care for it, not having to style it, not being in the way. When I did shave it, I actually had to tan my head, too. It was pasty compared to my face at first, but that was even great. Go to the beach, the lake- didn't need to wash right after or anything. Anyhow, I was just posting to let you know my experience with being bald! Definitely one of those things to add to the bucket list for us gals. -Linz. PS:--oh, sorry for using anonymous, it wasn't letting enter a name.

    1. Hey there, Linz. :)

      I would like to begin by telling you that I'm wanting to bow down to you and throw roses at your feet! I totally feel nothing could be as liberating as not having to deal with the daily nuisances of hair!
      Washing, drying, curling, straightening‐sometimes I just wanna pull my own hair off from my head by my bare hands!

      I'm glad you never had any major social issues to deal with. Women's long locks have always represented innocence and beauty, I mean, who can forget Rapunzel? To this day long hair is a more "feminine" attribute, especially in India. And thus the sight of a girl with a shaved head kinda scares people off.

      Anyway, your story has wonderfully intrigued me! I would love to talk to you more. Contact me? :)


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