Wow, guess I never made an update on this, but I shaved my head in March. I took a little pair of sewing scissors, cut off my curls and then buzzed my head in my bathroom. I liked it so much, I reshaved my head April.
Shaving my head has been the most feminist action I’ve taken. I have never had such complete control of my appearance, and it is such a powerful feeling to own my body and defy gender norms of feminine beauty.
I want to look as queer as I feel and be proud of who I am.
When I first shaved my head, strangers asked me if I had cancer. My hair has grown out a bit since April and now strangers assume I am sick in a different way: they assume I am queer and the thought sickens them.
Yesterday a man yelled “Fag!” out his car window at me as I walked down the street.
For a few moments I thought I deserved the slur. I wanted to look queer, after all. What else should I expect? But I was victim blaming. If I deserve anything, it is to look how I want, cut my hair how I want, dress how I want and be respected as a human being. If I should expect anything, it is to be able to walk down the street (no matter the time of day, no matter the length of my hair) without being afraid.
We all deserve respect and dignity and we should expect nothing less.
The slur shouldn’t bother me, and I know I am hardly alone in this instance of homophobia and street harassment. But I can imagine my brother as the man in the car. He was the type of person to laugh with his friends at women he thought were dressed “slutty.” He believes women are “asking for it.”
He does not approve of women with short hair. He does not know I shaved my head and I will see him less than a month.
It’s disturbing that the man who shouted at me from his car hardly feels like a stranger. But the people who commit acts of bigotry and violence against any marginalized person or group, are people we know. They are our neighbors, our childhood friends, our friends’ parents, peers we went to high school with. They are our family.
But they are never right in what they do or say to us. We are never to blame.