At the beginning of the year I spoke with a lot of students about coming into this year with a much greater, warmer and loving embrace of the yin, in line with the feminine qualities of the goat year we now find ourselves clip-clopping along in.
For me this meant no longer denying these strange and foreign qualities of love, patience, nourishment and nurturing that were rising organically within me, despite my many resolute years as a strong and fiercely independent woman. I began to think that perhaps, these were innate qualities of the yin, as opposed to what I had always previously believed, that these qualities were in fact conditioned in us by a male dominated society, who wanted us to stay home and mind the bubbas. Possibly these qualities – which were sadly long suppressed by the feminist fight, women having to become more yang to be seen as equal, as opposed to equally powerful and capable but vastly different – were the characteristics of ‘woman’.
This search for equality (which was absolutely essential) led to a flattening out of distinct yin/yang characteristics, causing confusion in fierce ladies as these feelings we associated with being ‘weak’, began to surface all on their own. It also effected relationships. Unable to acknowledge the difference between the genders, we at times sadly see our fellas as just hairy, naughty versions of ourselves instead of very different creatures altogether.
All of these questions and ponderings, have lead to an exploration within me of ‘woman’, that has somehow distilled into a philosophical musing about hair. Yes, hair. Hair seems to be one of the most distinctive areas of aesthetic difference remaining between man and woman. I look around at 99% of my gorgeous lady friends and I see these manes of colour and curls, waves of shimmering locks, tussles of softness on the heads of very powerful women. I look around at 99% of my gorgeous male friends and I see varying degrees of short dos merely differentiated by the degree (or lack thereof) of tidiness. Most of my lady friends shave their legs, wax off the majority of their pubes, have glistening underarms, pluck their eyebrows and even remove the slightest wisp of fluff that may appear on the top lip. Most men I know, do none of these things.
I didn’t shave my legs or my underarms until I had to interview Josh Homme (lead singer of QOTSA) when I was 29, not even doing it for my first wedding. The reason I did it then was because I thought he was hot and we are all conditioned to think that it’s a much sexier look, I wanted to impress him with my errrr….shiny pits. Without any emotion, it is worth acknowledging that that conditioning to this look in women is so deep in western culture, for most people (including myself), it’s very difficult to distinguish conditioning from truth. I like shiny legs and there’s something so fresh about shaven pits, although I rarely do my own – it’s not political, it’s just not a priority for me.
So I wanted to investigate this further.
For the last few years and for the first time in my life, I’ve had long flowing beautiful hair. The kind of hair that people commented on – I was pretty!! I did feel different, more feminine. It got me thinking that perhaps I’m actually hiding my still very yang personality behind my soft, wavy locks. Was it slackening my quest for a softer, more nurturing heart because my appearance took care of the vast portion of first-judgement? What is it with us ladies and our long locks?
The only way I was going to find out, was to cut mine off.
As I sat in the chair, scissors at the ready I became surprisingly nervous. Why?? It’s just appearance! It’s just protein filament pushing out of follicles in my dermis! What’s with the weird emotional attachment?? As the clippers came out, I began to realise that soon I was not going to be able to hide. My thick mane, acted as a small but significant barrier between heart-me and external-me. It made me look good in Spell playsuits and confirmed my bohemian ethos. But couldn’t my personality do that? Who knows? It’s only been 24 hours since I put all my hair and all it’s old attachments in the compost bin but one thing’s for sure, there ain’t no hiding now! I am a woman with short hair, hairy underarms and no boobs. Now I get a chance for the real femininity, that which rages in my heart and in my core beliefs, to lead. To be sexy, without the conditioned aesthetic assistance. I look forward to extending my feminist and feminine heart out into the world with nothing more now but my eyes, my swagger and my touch. It’s going to result in either a great challenge or a great hat collection…