September 14, 2016

"Before, it was more punk.... Now, people are starting to think maybe a shaved head is actually really chic and elegant."

"It’s not just for skinheads."

Women shaving their heads is a big new thing now, according to the NYT.
“Individuality and androgyny are certainly not a new thing in fashion, but the trend has swung back around due to a larger gender conversation,” said Alastair McKimm, the fashion director at i-D....

“A girl with a buzz cut is like Jaden Smith wearing a skirt,” [said shaved-headed model  Tamy Glauser], referring to Will Smith’s son, who has publicly challenged gender norms through fashion. Ms. Glauser says that people often make assumptions about sexual orientation based on appearances, “but the two have nothing to do with each other. I think it’s good for society to see people going against what we’ve all been taught is the way we’re supposed to dress for our sex and our orientation,” she said. “You realize there’s no right or wrong.”
It's funny that something like this can be made to seem new. I've heard remarks like Glauser's for half a century. And here's a book from a quarter century ago — "Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle," by Elaine Showalter  — about breaking the gender norms over 100 years ago. Excellent book, by the way. I read it when it came out. What I remember as Showalter's message is — and I might be misremembering — that the most intelligent and sophisticated people find themselves in the middle, within gender ambiguity. It's the cruder, dumber people at the poles of gender differentiation.

Back to the NYT article:
“The first time [I shaved my head], it was an impulsive decision,” said Mackenzie Jones, 20, who has kept a shaved head since she was 15, when a bad breakup inspired the act. “But when I look back now, I think I did it — without knowing it at the time — because it was the ultimate rejection of the male gaze.”

Besides the obvious convenience and the aesthetic appeal, Ms. Jones said, she has stuck to the shorn style because, particularly when she was younger, it helped filter out potential suitors who weren’t “on my level.” (Plenty of guys, she adds, are into the look.)
Suitors! I love the notion that within this supposedly new way of living, there are still characters called "suitors."
Dressing for one’s self, not one’s paramour, has been a theme in fashion for several seasons now....
Dressing for yourself has been the theme in fashion writing for as long as I can remember, and I have read a lot of fashion writing. (I had a job once — in the 1970s — that required me to read all the fashion magazines.)

And add "paramour" that picture of life as we live it now, along with those "suitors." Paramour and the Suitors — it could be the name of your band.

Practical advice from the article: You'd better make sure you have a good-shaped head before you shave off your hair. It is one way to set yourself apart: I have a well-formed head, and you don't know what hideous form those other ladies are hiding under all that hair.
“A lot of women are very attached to their hair,” Ms. Jones said. “When I was in a bad relationship, my hair was like this mask. Once it’s all gone, you don’t have anything left to change. You have to look yourself in the face and deal with it. It’s really transformative.”
ADDED: From the 60s:

60 comments:

David Begley said...

What an incredibly stupid, stupid idea.

People! Hair has many purposes. One is to protect your head from sunburn. It also looks good. Especially on women.

More of today's nihilism and neo-mutilation.

damikesc said...

Women tend to be quite unattractive bald. It might work for a few, but for most, It is jarring, at best. I love that the guys who are still interested are the ones worthy of her time. "on her level". She doesn't express how they qualify as such outside of "they still find me attractive". Having a smaller pool of men who find you attractive doesn't make you a better woman. Doesn't make you worse, but it definitely doesn't make you better any more than "man children who live in the basement of their mom's house" are simply filtering out women who aren't on their level.

And Jaden Smith cannot "challenge gender norms through fashion" because nobody gives a shit what Jaden Smith does and the few who know who he is view him as an imbecile. The best thing he's involved with is the show Impractical Jokers, where one of the Jokers, for a punishment, had a tattoo of him put on his thigh (a legit tattoo that is still there).

traditionalguy said...

It's new. Barren rebel Women disguised as prisoners of AI Robot Overlords.

Or is it all a conspiracy by Gillette.

MayBee said...

I've noticed a big push this season for fashion to be described as gender-something. Macy's has an ad calling the fashion "gender-bending". But it's just pants for women.
We are all supposed to be on the gender fluid bandwagon, I guess.

damikesc said...

We are all supposed to be on the gender fluid bandwagon, I guess.

You will be made to care.

Pop culture is all into "gender bending" --- unless something makes women look good. Then it's "yay girls".

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Plenty of guys, she adds, are into the look

It's the ultimate rejection of the male gaze AND a great way to meet dudes.
Obviously it's a win - win for everyone!

caplight45 said...

Black women, yes. White women, hell, no.
Since women are almost always colder than men, and since about thirty percent of body heat is lost from the area around the throat and from the scalp, this trend does not bode well for setting the thermostats in offices and classrooms. I see savage Thermo Wars in our future.

Curious George said...

"...that the most intelligent and sophisticated people find themselves in the middle, within gender ambiguity. It's the cruder, dumber people at the poles of gender differentiation."

LOL Sure.

Curious George said...

"“The first time [I shaved my head], it was an impulsive decision,” said Mackenzie Jones, 20, who has kept a shaved head since she was 15, when a bad breakup inspired the act."

God, how pathetically sad.

tim in vermont said...

Hot women can do anything fashion-wise, from wearing ugly glasses that would make an ordinary woman look pathetic, to shaving their head. It's not good advice for 95% of women. I had a friend who went all Joey Heatherton for a while, and she got plenty of looks, and the lesbian owner of a restaurant we frequent was drooling over her, but she is sort of a one percenter in that area.

Having a smaller pool of men who find you attractive doesn't make you a better woman. Doesn't make you worse

Lots of hot women would consider this a blessing, I think. Though once it actually happened, they might feel differently, IDK. They have to have some way to filter them out. Men are pathetically into looks. I hate myself for it sometimes, and try hard to overcome it, but it goes pretty deep.

GAHCindy said...

I've known a couple of girls who shaved their heads, also after bad breakups. I viewed it as akin to cutting or other forms of self-harm. My cousin who did that was punishing herself and her boyfriend for thir behavior and told me as much. I think it's nice of these girls to let us all know they're unstable in such visible ways so we can avoid getting sucked into their drama. It's a helpful marker.

Beth B said...

I'm strong but I first did this because my boyfriend broke up with me. I am cock-blocking the male gaze in the most eye-catching way possible. You're obviously a binary gender square if this shocks you. But NOTICE ME!!!!11eleventy!!!

damikesc said...

Lots of hot women would consider this a blessing, I think. Though once it actually happened, they might feel differently, IDK. They have to have some way to filter them out. Men are pathetically into looks. I hate myself for it sometimes, and try hard to overcome it, but it goes pretty deep.

Women tend to be pathetically into status. It's the way it is. No need to hate oneself for liking pretty women. Don't see why that is less shallow than liking rich men, but apparently it is in some circles.

And the women pictured in the article wouldn't be hot without some sort of an infection raising their body temperature.

I've known a couple of girls who shaved their heads, also after bad breakups. I viewed it as akin to cutting or other forms of self-harm. My cousin who did that was punishing herself and her boyfriend for thir behavior and told me as much. I think it's nice of these girls to let us all know they're unstable in such visible ways so we can avoid getting sucked into their drama. It's a helpful marker.

The women in the article scream "crazy" something fierce.

Ann Althouse said...

"Women tend to be quite unattractive bald..."

That's a reason to do it. Or rather it's the 2 reasons to do it:

1. You don't want to be attractive. You're trying to say: I am not here for you. Go find someone who cares. It ain't me, babe.

2. Other women look like nothing without their hair, but not me. I am so beautiful that removing the hair magnifies how extraordinary I am. It's undeniable. Look!!!

Anglelyne said...

Ms. Glauser says that people often make assumptions about sexual orientation based on appearances, “but the two have nothing to do with each other.

Nothing!

Sure lady, whatever you say.

I still think most fashion "trends" being pushed now are just a way to convince women to spend money on shabbily constructed clothes made of very low quality fabric.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

While a very small number may enjoy the edginess of appearing gender neutral I think most of us women prefer NOT to be mistaken for male. To carry off a shaved head not only does a woman need to have a nicely shaped head, she would need very feminine exceptionally beautiful features. Then starkness of no hair emphasizes her beauty.

I have wondered if "some" of the male to female transitioning is not about fashion, the urge to play dress up carried to the extreme. In previous times and other cultures male dress was just as fussy and elaborate as female dress. Not saying there are not people born without unclear sex organs/identity. However, cases like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, men claiming to be woman who still want women - make me suspicious that for them it is about something else - like fashion. Just have a hard time believing that many men are lesbians trapped in male bodies.

Mike said...

Androgynous from the Replacements' "Let It Be"

rehajm said...

You probably missed it, but it's Eleven Chic.

rhhardin said...

It's a brazilian for burkinis.

tim in vermont said...

Without the golf shirt, she would still be hot, but with it, she wanders into Pat territory, which is fine. If it helps her find sympatico guys, more power to her.

Amy said...

I was patchy-bald during chemo - which is actually uglier than totally bald. I didn't mind it much because I didn't have great hair before that. It was amazingly easy - just shower and go. I had no idea the advantage men have. I've kept my hair very short ever since.
So when I see a shaved headed woman, I figure she is in treatment.

But what I wanted to say was - at that time, MANY people commented on what a nicely shaped head I had. I had no idea heads were either nicely or (presumably) not-nicely shaped. I was around a fair amount of other bald women - all their heads looks more or less the same to me.
I guess I am not a head-shape connoisseur. But then again, who is?

And yes, I was cold ALL the time - and it was in the summer. I slept in a beanie.

CJinPA said...

"I'm so beautiful I need to uglify myself just to keep men from constantly gazing at me."

That's always been the vibe I've gotten from shaved women. And they do tend to have symmetrical domes and attractive faces. I don't think I've ever seen a bald woman who didn't first meet the typical standards of beauty.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ladies, if you're looking to get sodomized, why don't you just carry around a mattress like Emma Sulkowicz? Much less commitment.

Tarrou said...

I fully support women shaving their heads. It's great to have so visual a depiction of what lunatics these women are. Helps a guy spot (and avoid) them from long range. In fact, I think it should be mandatory for womyn's stydies* majors and the like.


*"Studies" is patriarchal because it contains the series "Stud", a sexist term which confers positive connotations to a rapist.

William said...

Then there's Sinead O'Connor. When she was young and pretty, her baldness drew your attention and you couldn't help but notice how pretty she was. The baldness underlined her beauty. She was pretty in a disturbing way. Now the years have passed. The baldness (and the tattoos) still draw your attention, but the gaze doesn't linger. The baldness underlines her homeliness,, and she looks more disturbed than disturbing...........There is very little a pretty young woman can do to subvert her beauty. If she leaves her hair unwashed and tangled and festoons it with vomit chunks, then that might work for a while. But if enough women take up the style, it won't be long before a subset of young men develop a fetish for vomit chunks.

Laslo Spatula said...

Socially Awkward Guy Who Makes No Eye Contact says:

When I was in high school I dated a girl who was bald. Of course, she was going through chemotherapy, so it wasn't like a feminist statement or anything.

We would mostly watch movies, because she didn't have much energy. We'd watch and eat candy, which she would then throw up sometimes. It wasn't any specific candy, just candy in general. Well, that and chemotherapy.

I remember we had dinner with my Mom one evening. Everything was going mostly OK until my girlfriend's nose started to bleed. It wasn't a big deal, my girlfriend was more embarrassed than anything.

But then my Mom says "That's okay, honey, my son has an affliction, too. He still wets the bed." Thanks, Mom. It's not like I was going to die from wetting the bed like my girlfriend was going to die from cancer.

After that we drifted apart. I guess even girls with cancer don't want a boyfriend that wets the bed; I don't know, I didn't really think that girls with cancer could still be that picky.

A few months later my girlfriend died, but not from cancer: she stepped off a curb without looking and got hit by a car. Maybe that was for the best: she was REALLY scared of dying from cancer.

And No, we never did had sex. I was scared that I would get cancer from her vagina.

Like no one else thinks these things.

I hope the Girl with the Blue Hair is working at McDonalds today.


I am Laslo.

jacksonjay said...

What David Begley said. After an Efudex treatment on my face and bald noggin, I would advice young ladies to find other ways to make themselves unattractive. See Lena Dunham for direction, if need be. Do not expose a bald scalp to UV rays!

Caroline Walker said...

"It's the cruder, dumber people at the poles of gender differentiation. "
the deplorables shall inherit the earth.

MadisonMan said...

Persis Khambatta looked awesome as a bald person from Delta IV.

Was surprised to read that she's dead!

Peter said...

Women should remove their eyebrows as well, if they want to have that chic "I'm on chemotherapy" cancer-patient look.

MayBee said...

Wow, Emma Sulkowicz sure dropped off the face of the earth.

Birches said...

I anxiously await a trans woman to shave her head to busts the norms of gender.

I think I'll be waiting for a long time.

Mike Sylwester said...

On Dancing with the Stars, one of the female contestants -- Amber Rose -- has shaved her head.

ABC's blurb about her is as follows:

Amber Rose is a proud mother, activist, entrepreneur, spokesperson, talk show host, model, actor and published author from Philadelphia, PA. MUVA, as she is affectionately known, has quickly become the unapologetic face of neo-feminism. Initially, accredited mostly to her striking appearance and keen fashion sense, the former Ford Model's rise to massive popularity is now largely attributed to her controversial yet impactful voice on women's issues. At the core of the Amber Rose brand is her non-profit, The Amber Rose Foundation, dedicated to women empowerment and equality.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

I have two words for people who can CHOOSE to live life without hair on their heads. And those two words rhyme with "buck" and "glue."

Kate said...

This article could've been written verbatim in the 80s when I shaved my head. I hate the laziness of this kind of writing.

Whatever reason a woman has for removing her hair, she will quickly realize, I can attest, that it is the easiest hairdo she will ever wear. Beauty and social norms (and heat concerns) may win out and the hair grows back, but I will always miss that wake-up-and-go feeling of being shorn.

rehajm said...

Hair serves a biological purpose, so we're lectured.

Laslo Spatula said...

A shorn head takes all the romance out of Bukkake.

I am Laslo.

damikesc said...

That's a reason to do it. Or rather it's the 2 reasons to do it:

1. You don't want to be attractive. You're trying to say: I am not here for you. Go find someone who cares. It ain't me, babe.

2. Other women look like nothing without their hair, but not me. I am so beautiful that removing the hair magnifies how extraordinary I am. It's undeniable. Look!!!


No doubt. But holding both opinions seems utterly contradictory, but the woman in the article quoted seemed to be doing so. It indicates, to me, muddled thinking about why she did what she did. If she had said "I just felt like doing it", that'd be fine. But if you're going to give a reason why, then your later justifications contradict that, it doesn't make one come across as a deep thinker.

Some styles just look better on men. Men look dramatically better with really short or no hair than women. Just like long hair, on average, looks way better on women than on men. The constant desire to "attack the patriarchy" just seems like childish pettiness.

mockturtle said...

Anything for attention.

David said...

Meanwhile, at Dachau . . .

madAsHell said...

Just have a hard time believing that many men are lesbians trapped in male bodies.

There are several jokes about that same idea, and why is it so difficult to believe?

Bill Peschel said...

A daily newspaper has to have something to write about, hence this article.

People asked to justify their behavior will latch onto anything. We're flexible that way.

I think this is why I find the comments much more interesting than the article. I learn more about people's true feelings, because they have less at stake than the "published author" who needs to establish her "neo-feminist" brand and those sad women who, years from now, will complain that they're "invisible" because no man looks at her anymore.

(As an aside, I worked with a copy editor who shaved his head, and I can attest that it did not make him Michael Jordan beautiful. First, he was white, and second, his bulbous shaved head made him look like Uncle Festus. Word of warning, ladies.)

holdfast said...

When women "dress for themselves" it's a powerful statement.

When guys do it, they're "slobs", "neckbeards", "a manchild", or even worse, a "man wearing shorts".

Paddy O said...

"Before, it was more punk.... Now, people are starting to think maybe a shaved head is actually really chic and elegant."


That's what Rachel told Bonnie in Friends! (back in 1997)

Paddy O said...

Next up, neo-feminists are going to tear a picture of the pope in half on national television.

mikee said...

Last March my daughter, just graduated from college and starting a four month trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, donated her curly locks to a charity that makes wigs for kids getting cancer treatments.

St. Baldrick's is the punnily-named charity. https://www.stbaldricks.org/

Daughter's hair is now about two inches long, regaining its curliness, and she is about to cross the Canadian border, having hiked 2600 miles.

Proud of her, you ask? Oh, yes.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...2. Other women look like nothing without their hair, but not me. I am so beautiful that removing the hair magnifies how extraordinary I am. It's undeniable. Look!!!"

Yes. The behavioral economics of the act are pretty straightforward if you're considering it signaling behavior.

Longer hair is a secondary sexual characteristic for women and having longer, good looking hair shows health and youth, and is therefore sexually attractive.
As a sexual signal, then, a woman who shaves her head is communicating that she's so attractive otherwise that even with the "penalty" she pays for not having long hair she's still attractive. Peacock tails, etc, but with intentional action and self-regard & social proof thrown in.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

At the core of the Amber Rose brand is her non-profit, The Amber Rose Foundation, dedicated to women empowerment and equality.

That...is not exactly what Amber Rose is know for in popular culture. I'm somewhat out of touch but I know enough to know that...isn't what the name "Amber Rose" conjures up in most people's minds.

mockturtle said...

Maybe people will just think she's getting chemotherapy.

Megaera said...

Mockturtle: Or seeking to avoid a lice infestation, which, as David noted above, was another reason for the unisex shaven-head look so favored by the Nazis for their involuntary guests. For some reason none of the detainees apparently considered the look particularly chic at the time -- at least none of them carried it over into civilian life post-release.

readering said...

Makes me think of the Sam Fuller flick from '64, Naked Kiss. Opens with beautiful hooker assaulting her pimp who had shaved her head in punishment. She then goes into hiding for two years until hair grows back in to her satisfaction. Then the main plot starts.

fivewheels said...

If you're going to shave your head and have bad tattoos, really the only thing to do is just permanently cosplay as Jack from Mass Effect. She was crazy too.

Kyzernick said...

Shaved heads on women are disgusting. End of story. If my wife decided that she wanted to shave her head, I'd take her to a therapist. If she actually did it, divorce papers would be in her hands the next day. If a girl has hair shorter than Tasha Yar from Star Trek, she is completely invisible to myself and my balls. Even the Tasha cut is pushing it - she better have the prettiest goddamn face in the world. Period. Full stop. And that's the way it is.

eddie willers said...

Not long after Sinead O'Connor appeared on her infamous SNL Pope Tribute, they (SNL) mentioned she had gotten an endorsement for a new shampoo: "Gee Your Skull Smells Terrific".

Joe said...

ANY fashion is going to be attractive to some segment of the population. If that segment are fashion designers or writers, it's meaningless.

jr565 said...

Buzz cuts on women can be hot if you can still see the hair. If they are totally bald its gross. But Natalie Portman shaved her head, as an example, and she looked pretty cute. It can work on some people. Usually, if they have darker hair. But its definitely tough to pull off

Paul Snively said...

"On my level"—i.e. with no normal sense of masculine/feminine aesthetics, and so self-confidence-challenged that this can't-get-past-the-years-ago-bad-breakup sad sack can walk all over you.

No, thank you.

Paul Snively said...

Caroline Walker: "It's the cruder, dumber people at the poles of gender differentiation. "
the deplorables shall inherit the earth.


"The future belongs to those who show up." — Regis Martin

Kyzernick said...

jr565,

Respectfully disagree. Natalie Portman is hot as hell. I used to date a girl who had a face just like hers (though she was good 100 pounds heavier - but that just meant she also came with big knockers and plenty of cushion). Natalie Portman with a shaved head (which I really hope was a bald cap or CGI) is disgusting. Obviously, others may disagree, but I truly think she looked hideous with no hair.

Kyzernick said...

One caveat I just thought of: if a woman is stricken with some horrible disease and loses her hair, that's another matter entirely. A person can have inner beauty while struggling with a disease, but still look entirely unappealing to my libido.