What Does A Woman's Hair Length Say About Her Sexuality?

8 years ago

When I cut my hair short almost three years ago, I didn't mean to send any messages; I just wanted to look nice. Since then, however, I seem to be radiating some signal that I am a lesbian. If I am confusing people, I do not mean to, so apologies for any mix ups. However, I certainly hope that I am projecting that I am a dried up prune. An anonymous letter writer posed the following question to therapist Pamela Stephenson Connolly in The Guardian: Is it true that a woman with a short hairstyle is subconsciously indicating that she does not want sex?

Dr. Connolly's wise answer ("Cutting one's hair does not necessarily point to an avoidance of sex, although deliberately reducing one's attractiveness in a spouse's eyes may well signal some desire to push them away") set off a flurry of media attention to the "issue." In The Daily Mail, five out of six people interviewed confirmed that long hair is sexy and feminine, although some admitted that short hair is liberating because it shows that the woman doesn't only style herself to please men. (The one dissenter is a male celebrity hair stylist who said that men who don't like short hair on women are "unimaginative beast[s].") My friend Mara sent me a link to an interview on BBC with two fashion historians regarding this topic:

Hair has great social significance for human beings, and acts as an important indicator. It can denote power and status. While long hair has suggested sex, short hair has often been seen as a mark of revolution. So, what do our hairstyles really say about us? Jane is joined by the fashion historian, Caroline Cox, and Professor Stella Bruzzi.

My cousin and I could barely sit still as the three women had a completely serious discussion about the length of Tom Cruise's hair among other celebrity hair analysis. However, we were glad that the "experts" debunked Dr. Connolly's ridiculous theory.

Casey Fiano points out that:

The [Mail] article phrases it as if short hair means that not only is the woman completely shunning her sexuality, but it means that men will likewise shun her because it’s such a turn-off. I’m just having a hard time buying that. But hey, apparently cutting your long hair off means you’re making a statement, ladies.

Miss Banshee at Mama Pop tells the "experts" who warn women that short hair will destroy their chances for romance with to buzz off (pun all mine!):

But what if the opposite is true? What if cutting off your hair is a sign of strength, of power, of control and celebration of one's sexuality and self-image? Could THAT be why a short cut could be shunned? Because it is a symbol of a woman bucking the system, of deciding what SHE thinks is beautiful? Or can it just be...a really cute and easy haircut? Does it have to mean anything at ALL?

I think a woman confident enough to cut off all her hair is probably pretty sexually confident as well, and could very well be a TIGER in the bedroom, without all that hair getting tangled all over the place. And by the way, DOCTOR, what woman DOES want to be seen as a sex OBJECT? No woman I know.

Amen! I am compelled to interject with my personal hair story again and share that in mid-November, a random preppy finance guy (just the type I like!) approached me at a bar with the following line, "I'm sure that you hear this all the time, but did anyone ever tell you that you look exactly like Jane Wiedland from the Go Gos? I told him that no one had ever said this to me before, and that I assumed it was a compliment, but I didn't know what she looked like. He then pulled up a picture of her on his iPhone thingy and dear lord, I confess that if I were not happily married and wanted to remain that way, I would have gone home with him right away and thanked him for his generous compliment because that woman is smoking hot. Her short hair in no way, shape or form signals that she is abstaining from sex of any kind.

Speaking of sexuality, in a livejournal community forum, tigerlilli pointed out another insulting flaw in the short-hair-no-sex argument:

How heterosexist. It's all about how women grow their hair long to attract men, and nothing about lesbians at all. Oh wait, to most of the world lesbians don't have sex now do they /sarcasm.

And that hits the nail right on the head. Most of the arguments against short hair on women were presented by evolutionary psychologists for whom lesbians don't exist because they can't in a world in which surviving is all about how to reproduce, and that seems to only involve heterosexuals looking for the best (i.e. - most stereotypical) traits in the opposite sex. So when I get my hair trimmed next month, I will hold my head extra high, knowing that I am doing my part to subvert the dominant culture, one hair at a time.

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants. Her first book, Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, is about unusual things to see and do in NYC.

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