The next battlefield for the ongoing war against COVID-19 is long hair, proving yet again that the crisis is awash in contradictions. By introducing a situation where men and women cannot attend to their regular grooming routines because the hair-cutting places are forced to be closed (due to the perceived danger of spreading the virus)—resulting in more people having longer hair—and at the same time censuring those who do have long hair as a health risk, is perfectly emblematic of the current progressive era. Images of salons and barber shops that have been allowed to open are pure theater.
But what is behind the call for “bobs for all”? For a generation, there has been undeniable subtle pressure on women and girls to cut their hair. Any woman who has any length will be frequently approached by some misguided soul who will ask, “”re you going to donate your hair to Locks of Love?” or, more pointedly, “When will you be donating your hair to Locks of Love.”
Locks of Love is an organization that will take unwanted ponytails and fashion the strands into wigs for children who have cancer. If there is a donation in the vicinity, small town newspapers will often report on the hair cut, often accompanied by a photo of a happy girl and perhaps with the hairdresser, showing off a patch of lopped-off hair that soon will be whizzing off to do Good Works. If the long-haired person responds with a quiet “no”, then they they are cast as some kind of selfish lout who hates child cancer patients for wanting to keep their own hair that grows out of their very own head.
There is social pressure to cut hair. “You would look so cute with it cut short”—a well meaning short-haired friend or relative will say, brandishing an image of the latest celeb who went under the scissors. And the long-haired person will think, maybe I will be cute, forgetting that they are cute no matter what. There is an allowance for girls and teens to have long hair and braids that hang to their waist—but only as a stage. Sooner or later, they will have to get down to business and cut it short. Who is going to tell Greta Thunberg that she has to cut her hair for the greater good?
First of all, long hair is not only a symbol of beauty, the crowning glory, but also one of health. It takes a good diet to grow hair of any length. Hair that grows out of head with a bad diet will be prone to breakage and thinness. So, if all women are mandated to cut their hair short, what will easily differentiate the healthy from the unhealthy? There are degrees of short hair, from some kind curly fluff to intentionally masculine cuts that are done with a razor. Short hair ranges from the still-feminine “cute” to the androgynous. Will the experts weigh in on what type of haircut is most preferable?
Second, long hair is environmentally friendly. If there are trips to the salon, they are far and few between, and not the monthly check-ins that the short-haired gals need. Often short hair needs more pomade and other unguents to keep it from looking like a rat’s nest. If one wants to tally up the cost of products, the product bottles and packaging that will be headed to the recycler, hair salon visits, the short-haired woman will end up with a bigger hit to the pocketbook than the average long-haired lady.
Third, who are these experts and why do they care so much about someone else’s hair? Are they in the pocket of Big Salon? Are they getting secret payouts from the shampoo industry? Let’s see those conflict of interest forms!
Beyond COVID, this cry which even as late as last week would have seemed ridiculous, is another attempt at the Great Leveling. Most women have already stuffed their bodies into atheleisure garb, so they are indistinguishable from one another, broadly speaking, no pun intended. To have mandated short hair is to have Mao 2.0. This time, though, with the input of experts, we will avoid some of the Chairman’s errors.
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