It's 2020, and yet people are still surprised by short hair on women

20 March 2020

Shiri Avni

A New Look

A few months ago, I cut my hair short, and I’ve been surprised and impressed with how strong a reaction I’ve gotten. Perhaps I was naive, but I truly didn’t expect such strong responses.

Before cutting my hair, I tried to do a bit of research, including on sites such as Quora and Reddit. However, I discovered that there isn’t much info online on the topic of women with short hair. This surprised me because this isn’t at all a novel or groundbreaking phenomenon. As a consequence, I wanted to present a light account of my experience with it so far!

Shiri with short hair

Societal Reactions

  • So many people have called me brave! While it’s nice to get positive affirmation, I’d love to reach a day where a woman getting a shortcut isn’t considered an act of bravery.
  • (Pre-haircut) Relatives saying that I don’t have the face for it (though apparently all 3 of my brothers do…)
  • (Post-haircut) Female relatives saying that the haircut looks great on me, but they don’t have the face for it (they didn’t recall our earlier conversations about me not having the face for it)
  • Being taken more seriously by strangers in transactional interactions
  • Upon getting a second trim two months after the first one, receiving remarks such as: “You cut your hair again? We were sure it was a phase/one time thing”
  • (Pre-haircut) Relatives asking why I’m trying to be a feminist and go against society (That wasn’t the goal at all, I simply wanted a haircut for the convenience of it)
  • Lots of friendly inquiries by both friends and strangers into what prompted me to get my a short haircut

Brain Plasticity

  • Initially after the haircut, I’d automatically think ‘I look like a boy’ when catching glimpses of myself in the mirror. That inner voice went away after a few weeks.
  • Upon observing a short-haired, smaller person from behind, I’ll now unconsciously assume “she” is a woman (it’s usually a man, but it’s interesting to observe that that’s no longer my natural instinct)
  • Occasionally observing a woman with long hair, and unbiddenly think “she’ll look wonderful with a short crop!” (I definitely don’t mention that though)

Daily Technicalities

  • I really enjoy feeling the wind on the back of my head! Short-haired people (usually men) don’t advertise this advantage nearly enough!
  • I have about 10 minutes of time saved a day that I used to spend combing
  • If I’m not paying attention in the shower, then I will pour way too much shampoo into my hand (amounts appropriate for someone with much longer hair)

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