HISTORICALLY, hair has always been the crowning symbol of femininity. Women of all ethnicities and cultures have always sought ways to lengthen, brighten and adorn their manes, and it is intrinsically linked to women's identity and self-esteem.
“Hair is very important to a woman's self-image, and of course the culture that we are in does place great emphasis on hair,” says medical internist Dr Samantha Nicholson-Spence, who treats women who sometimes lose their hair due to illness or treatment.
“People tend to be insensitive so when they see a woman with hair loss they may associate it with her having a disease, which can result in ostracism and negative psychosocial effects.”
But heavy is the head that wears the crown, and many queens decided not to carry the excess weight around, for varying reasons.
Ten women shared with All Woman why they gave up their tresses, and how clearing their heads helped them to see themselves in a totally different light. Six of them share today, and the others will next week.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and I started chemotherapy. A week after my first chemo treatment I got my hair braided. Two weeks later I noticed it was fuzzy, so I started taking out the braids. As I was combing out my hair, I felt as if I was in a barber's chair. My hair just started falling out. When I was done I just went to the barber shop and told him to take off what was left for me. Many people didn't agree with my decision to just wear it bald, because I was a girl who loved my wigs. But knowing that I beat cancer I feel way cuter with my bald head. I used to wear a lot of wigs but now I just love my bald head! I can rock it anywhere, anytime. I am a natural beauty.
My reason for the big chop was a change in my lifestyle as a fitness enthusiast. Little did I know it was to become the easiest, most inexpensive decision I have ever made. In retrospect, I also wanted to do something different and risqué for my 45th and I thought, 'Let the risk be danger free'. It gave me a sense of rebirth and I honestly felt empowered. As it relates to femininity and how I thought I would be viewed, that was a shocker as, in my opinion, men have been more drawn to me. I have no regrets and can't even see myself growing it back.
I really wanted to try something different with my hair so I walked down bravery street and took the chance. I am in love with the end results — to be honest, this haircut has caused me to gain more confidence. #WomanPower!
I had my locs for 12 years. I was thinking of cutting it for some time. I loved it for the length, not the texture, because my hair was rough and my hairline was receding, so I kind of wanted to start from scratch. I always wanted to see what I would look like without my hair, and I no longer wanted to be identified as 'rasta' or 'the girl with the locs'. I made a conscious decision to accept all of myself, flaws and all, so I could no longer use my hair to hide features on my face that I was insecure about. I feel like a much more confident woman — accepting myself for all of what it is.
I cut my hair out of boredom. It made me realise that I'm still gorgeous AF regardless of how low my hair is.
I cut my hair because I wanted to feel free. I felt suffocated by everything around me, and keeping my hair low makes me feel light. Each time I cut it I feel like I'm easing off pressures and burdens.