The bald and beautiful: No shame in shaving your head

by Jade Rhode

Model and entrepreneur Amber Rose, who is known for her blonde buzz cut, was inspired by singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor and rapper Eve. Source: @amberrose on Instagram.

Shaving your head does not only have to be for religious or cultural purposes anymore. Those purposes being for example, Hindus shaving their heads (tonsuring) for religious offerings, or Indians, Peruvians, Brazilians and Malaysians shaving their heads and contributing their hair for Remy wigs and weaves. These days, women are taking control and shaving their heads for themselves.

For a long time, having long flowing hair equated to femininity. “Boys won’t like you if you cut your hair” is something that was quite often said (and is still being said) to little girls. This needs to stop. Society needs to realize that we no longer need to conform to Western beauty standards, but instead, realize that we can march to the beat of our drum.

There are several reasons as to why women part ways with their hair. Immediately thinking that a woman is having a mental breakdown is NOT the number one reason for this visible change.

Let's look at pop icon Britney Spears. After she left a rehabilitation clinic in 2007, she went straight to the hair salon to shave her head. Why did she do it? Could it be because her ex-husband Kevin Federline refused access to her two sons? Could it be that she was trying to take control of her own life? Was this her cry for help knowing that the music executives had complete control over her public image? Or could the reason be the misogynistic thought of a woman going "crazy?" There are so many possible options; however, we’d be foolish to assume the latter (and you know what they say about assuming!)

We need to keep in mind that some reasons for chopping the locks off include awareness and donation (both selfless acts), maintenance (sometimes luscious locks can be a handful, am I right?), hair regrowth (those dead ends and dryness have no place on your head… buh-bye!), empowerment (nothing is more satisfying than this!), and even trying out something new.

Iconic model and singer Grace Jones wrote in her memoir, “My shaved head made me look more abstract, less tied to a specific race or sex or tribe. I was black, but not black; woman, but not a woman; American, but Jamaican; African, but science fiction.” Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish was one of the many and latest celebrities in 2020 to also do the “big chop.” The Girls Trip star posted a video of herself on Instagram cutting her locks off and said, “I’ve been talking about it, now I’m about to be about it.” while motioning cutting her hair.

It’s clear that traditional femininity is becoming a thing of the past. Regarding hair, women no longer need to parade their ponytails to fit society’s definition of beauty. We all have different definitions of the word “beauty”, but society’s definition is not it. I asked a few young women why they took the big step to shave their head as well as impart some advice to those looking to do the same. Here is what they had to say.

Source: Instagram: @itsbronwynlee. Captured by Dylan Rondganger.

23-year-old Bronwyn Lee Rondganger had no fears or doubts when she shaved her head. She stated, “I think it's because I had a side shave for almost a year already and [I] was set on wanting to do it regardless of whatever may be said.”

When I asked Bronwyn why she decided to shave her head, she shared with me her belief: our spiritual and emotional experiences attach themselves to our hair and grow with it. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past and wanted change, and that led me to shaving off my hair,” said Bronwyn, “I guess what I'm trying to say is [that] I wanted a fresh start.”

Bronwyn also had advice for women who are looking to shave their head, “Just do it. Don't overthink it and don't worry about what friends, family or society has to say. Everybody will always have their opinions, however, don't let it define who you are or how you see yourself. You are beautiful and going through this process unlocks a different version of yourself - embrace it!”

Source: Claire Jacobs. Captured by Conchita Pepino.

Claire Jacobs admits that even though there were thoughts of starting afresh and trying something new, she had questions like “What would people think?” and “Do I have the right shaped head to actually rock this look?”

24-year-old Claire from the Mother City says that trips to the hair salon to get her hair relaxed damaged her hair so badly that it led to her hair being unable to curl. “It just became too much for me, and the only possible solution would be to shave my head,” says Claire.

Apart from sharing her experience, the Operations Specialist who still embraces her shaved head also advised those considering the buzzcut look to stay true to themselves. “If it's something you've been wanting to do for a while, then go ahead and do it! Change is good, and I promise you, it is one of the most liberating feelings ever!”

Source: Instagram: @mike_butowski. Captured by Micaela Siljeur.

“I [worried] about having a weird-shaped head or looking ridiculous with no hair, but my biggest fear was that shaving my head would make my anxiety worse and totally backfire”, says Micaela Siljeur.

22-year-old Micaela Siljeur described herself as being extremely shy, socially anxious and always in the shadows as a child. “…I was near[ing] the end of my school career and I was tired of living this unhappy life in the background… I didn’t want to carry that over into the ‘adult world," said Micaela. “So, as uncomfortable and as unprepared as I was, I shaved my head. Once I did that, I was no longer able to hide from people and I was forced to socialize and be confident.”

Micaela imparted advice too saying, “A shaved head comes with a lot of lessons and experiences. Good and bad. But it’s lessons that are needed for personal growth.” She continued to say, “When you live to please other people, you’re setting yourself up for failure and an unhappy life.”

As we have seen, there are several reasons to shave your head. Bravely shaving your head is not just reserved for religious or spiritual commitments, regrowth (for either your hair or soul) or fashion statements anymore.

If you’re set on shaving your head but lacking the confidence, have a mindset like “Da Baddest” Bretman Rock (who never fails to make me laugh) and tell yourself “I am the standards of beauty today.” That being said if you plan on shaving your head… Go for it and good luck!

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