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OleanderTime
November 13th, 2009, 12:16 PM
For a little background, I did my undergraduate work in Sociology and Women's Studies, and I currently work as a social science researcher. I'm going to start working toward a PhD in Sociology specializing in gender and sexuality in about a year and a half. So I hope these come across as legitimate questions.

How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

My sexuality is on the queer spectrum (my current partner is a woman) and I've always felt my hair was very much related to that. First of all, when I started thinking I might be gay many years ago, one of the first things I thought about was the fact that I'd had boy-short hair growing up. Did that mean something? (I don't think so anymore, but interesting that was instantly the first thing I thought about.) When I started dating my first girlfriend at age 14, I cut my (already short) hair even shorter because she had short hair, too. I thought that's just what queer girls did, after all, we'd seen Ani DiFranco's early 1990s album covers. Only years later do I look back and realize my girlfriend's short hair was part of who she was overall: sort of gender androgynous and not really stereotypically feminine. I have always felt I was pretty gender normatively presenting, but for some reason I've felt that long hair would eclipse some of the important parts of my identity to the world, and I didn't want that. Through college, I'd had hair around shoulder length.

My current partner buzzed her hair off when she came out at 21. Her hair grows insanely fast, and now at 24, she has thick red curls that reach the middle of her back. It's so interesting to me that women would hit on her when she had a buzzed head--it was announcing her sexuality to the world, in a way. That's what she wanted. Now, people (mostly men) stop her in the grocery store and even street to tell her how much they love her hair. It's changed how people perceive her gender and her sexuality.

This is sort of rambly, but what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

feralnature
November 13th, 2009, 12:21 PM
Did you really just use the word "queer"? Sorry, I just couldn't get past that. Maybe it is just regional, but we don't say that down here. :)

Pear Martini
November 13th, 2009, 12:24 PM
:(

There should at least be something in your post about Oleanders topic.

feralnature
November 13th, 2009, 12:29 PM
I'll post an example later :)

OleanderTime
November 13th, 2009, 12:29 PM
I live in Ann Arbor, the college town where the University of Michigan is located. Yea, people definitely use "queer" to describe sexualities on the spectrum between gay and straight. For me personally, it describes the fluidity (meaning, how I feel changes over time and depending on who I'm with) without the baggage that I feel comes with "bisexual." I understand that "queer" sounds odd--after all, it's a reclaimed term, meaning something that was once used to hurt, now (in theory, at least) used to empower.

But this topic definitely applies (I think, I hope) to all women, not just gay women!

kdaniels8811
November 13th, 2009, 12:31 PM
For me, wearing my hair long reflects my femininity. Of course, I LOVE long hair on guys and they are not feminine! So ... I guess it is just a matter of personal choice. I love the looks of long hair and have as long as I can remember. Oh, by the way, hi, neighbor! Ann Arbor is not too far from Toledo!

Pear Martini
November 13th, 2009, 12:38 PM
For me, my hair is strongly linked to my sexuality. Growing up, I was always forced to get regular chops. My mom never liked when my hair was below or even *at* shoulder length.

Now as an adult, I have an image of women with long hair in an updo as being sophisticated. Also, long hair down to me reminds me of godesses from dif kind of mythology. I want to grow my hair long for a while, a friend of mine had BSL blonde hair and when she graduated from college cut it to above shoulder legnth to look more profesional. I may do this to but I'm not sure yet.

I think my hair refelects my femeninity. Altho I am not overtly fem, I love feeling womanly and even better is the "protected" feeling I can get from a man I trust.


I think subconciously, I may prefer long hair because:

A. It is something that makes me feel more womanly

B. I was never allowed to have long hair growing up

Hair definatly ties into identity. I definatly perceive short haired women to be more professional, no-nonsense women. Long hairs seem more fem and may not shine as much professionally but more socially maybe?

I really dont judge people based on hair but if I did those would be my oppinions.

Also I'm 21.

From Boston, currently living in Miami and "queer" is a word I hear daily :D

feralnature
November 13th, 2009, 12:38 PM
I live in Ann Arbor, the college town where the University of Michigan is located. Yea, people definitely use "queer" to describe sexualities on the spectrum between gay and straight. For me personally, it describes the fluidity (meaning, how I feel changes over time and depending on who I'm with) without the baggage that I feel comes with "bisexual." I understand that "queer" sounds odd--after all, it's a reclaimed term, meaning something that was once used to hurt, now (in theory, at least) used to empower.

But this topic definitely applies (I think, I hope) to all women, not just gay women!

Thanks Olean, I guess the word "queer" has simply not been a term that has been reclaimed here in Texas, or at least not commonly. Here, it is still an old word, a derogatory word full of disgust and ignorance.

Toadstool
November 13th, 2009, 12:44 PM
This is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately. Thank you for bringing it up.

feralnature
November 13th, 2009, 12:59 PM
Ok, back on topic...sorry.

I have always been a longhair whether on real life or in my minds eye. The inner me, my earliest memories as a child, are on me running outside in the sun with my long mane flowing. I always felt like a horse running and later then an "Indian princess". As a child, I was always the one in class with the long hair. And my cousins still refer to me as the cousin with the long hair. It was way down my back. I would run free on my grandparents ranch, long hair flowing...all through the woods I would go.

I went through a spell in the 80s with Punk and New Wave music where my 70s straight long hair went bye bye and I had all sorts of flat tops and punk styles and colors and also perms and big hair and all you can imagine. I have done it all. Dreads even.

I think it all goes to my free spirit. I do feel MUCH sexier with long hair than short though. Night and day. It is hard for me to feel sexy when I look in the mirror and feel scalped. I need the long locks to feel complete and not somehow chopped up. I have a c-section scar (4 c-sections and a hysterectomy) and momma mammaries so I already have issues. I don't need my hair butchered up too.

Long hair rocks :)

smilinjenn71
November 13th, 2009, 01:18 PM
This is an interesting post and I'll look forward seeing what everyone has to say.

Do I perceive peoples sexuality to be one way or another based on their hairstyle? Hmmm, the question is: Is it just the hairstyle or other things that also go into that perception? I'm going to say that I don't automatically think someone is straight or gay solely based on their hairstyle. If they also have clothing that is, for women more masculine, or for men more feminine, then Yes, I tend to make that assumption. Usually I make my decision based more on the conversation with the person. And let me tell ya, there have been plenty of "straight" men (inparticular -sorry) that I have questioned being at the very least Bi if not gay. Again, it's usually after a conversation.

My own personal experience is that when I cut my hair to a spikey pixie cut, it was incredibly freeing!!! I felt liberated and perhaps even a bit rebellious. Maybe it's my own perception but I felt like people noticed me more then as well. As my hair gets longer, I feel as if I'm blending into society more and more. I *did* get hit on once or twice by women when it was short...hehe. Also, I had a coworker that had a very similar haircut and when we would go to lunch together we would see/hear others speculating whether we were a couple or not. Which always made us laugh!

So maybe there *is* something to hair length and sexual perception of others.:p

ChrissieM
November 13th, 2009, 01:19 PM
Interesting topic.

Well, I grew up in a house with a bunch of brothers, and I wore the same clothes they wore, and had the same haircuts. I never really learned how to be "girly". That said, I wanted long hair with a passion. I remember sitting behind a Swedish girl in 4th grade with classic length straight blond hair, and her mother braided it into a different hairstyle every day. My mother finally let me grow my hair long when I was 12, and it was the first time I actually felt "feminine". Eventually, that morphed into feeling pretty and sexy, with the right person. Today, I just don't feel "right" or at peace with myself with short hair. When my hair is long, I feel good about myself and confident.

Topaz
November 13th, 2009, 01:30 PM
Thank you for bringing this subject up, as it isn't something I've ever really thought about. For me, my long hair is so much a part of who I am that cutting it would be like cutting off an arm or a leg, I just wouldn't be complete without it. I've had long, mostly BSL and slightly longer hair since high school. My hair IS me in a way I can't really define.

I think for me it represents femininity, but also wildness and ferocity. I love seeing fantasy pictures of faerie maidens with their long flowing hair, but also warriors with their long hair swinging in battle, etc. It is romantic, but also wild and free and fierce, and maybe that's what my own hair represents in my mind.

At work all the profession women have 'helmet head' haircuts, and I've certainly been told that to advance and be 'successful' I should cut my hair to be more professional, to be taken more seriously. Every time they tell me that, or imply it, it just makes me all the more determined to finally grow it out very very long. I'm almost at waist now, with tailbone as my goal. But all that professional blather and my personal reaction to it just harkens straight back to the romantic, wild, free, and fierce ideal I hold about hair.

Good topic. I hope to read many more responses!

Topaz
November 13th, 2009, 01:41 PM
Ooops, I forgot to mention that I don't really assign gender tags according to hair style or length. To me, long hair on women makes them look more feminine, but long hair on men make me perceive them as more masculine, more wild I guess. Shorter hair on women as less feminine, short hair on men as less masculine. Like I said, that's just me, and I guess it plays into that whole romantic, wild, free, and fierce mindset I have about long hair.

Eden Iris
November 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Not sure if this applies to your research or not, but I cut my hair recently for inner-reflecting purposes, so here goes.

As background, I have always identified as straight and have always, since I could stand up to my mother who wanted me in pageboy cuts, had hair chin length or (usually much) longer. Very feminine. Both men and women flirted with me with longish hair.

I had my first child in February 2005. Second child in December 2006. Between fall of 2004 and now I have had three professional hair cuts, and up until the most recent one, they were just trims as I let my hair grow longer. It reached waist earlier this year. I had been in the habit of wearing it up every day from about December of 2007 on.

Late this summer I decided I really wanted a change. My hair was full of layers from the post partum shed and regrowth, and it looked, in my opinion, ugly and sad. So, for a birthday gift this month, I had it cut to collarbone length, the shortest I've had it since graduating college. And suddenly I felt like myself again, even though I hadn't noticed that I'd been feeling not like myself.

I think I needed to let go of that hair, the "baby" hair, to say goodbye to that part of my life that I dedicated to caring for baby humans. So in my mind, long hair in updos signifies mother of babies and very young children. Now I am a parent of bigger kids, almost school-age kids, and maybe I want a different sort of femininity now, or maybe I miss (part of) who I was before children.

Most emphatically I do not believe that women over a certain age or women with kids ought to wear their hair short. It just so happens that I chose to cut now. I may grow it back, now that I have a nice blunt hemline to work with. I may not. I hope to stick around here either way.

Hope all that makes sense. And for linguistic research purposes, we use queer in a non-pejorative way here in NorCal. I find it to be a very useful word, more succinct and, as the OP put it, fluid, than homosexual/bisexual/bicurious/gay/lesbian/whatever.

Katurday
November 13th, 2009, 01:57 PM
I am a true blue straight female. As a child, I didn't have "long" hair, I had LONG hair. My sister, whose hair varied from shoulder to BSL was still a feminine child, my mother always had shoulder length hair, my grandmother a permanent pixie...and I tailbone and longer.

I got a variety of haircuts in childhood, yet managed to always reach long lengths fast. Then, at the start of puberty, I cut off all my hair to a pixie. It was perhaps to suit my metamorphosis, or maybe it was just my idea of a warrior going off to battle. Right now, when the battle has quieted down and is ending, my hair is growing. Why? Not as a reflection of my femininity or sexuality, but as a representation of me finding inner piece and going back to where I came from. Its like, I've been on both sides and chose the path nature chose for me.

While I had short hair, I did have my sexuality questioned, got flirted with by girls, and boys showed little to no interest in me. But there were always the boys who found you more interesting as a shorty, and the girls who turned their nose up at someone who didn't "look" like a girl. Ultimately, I discovered that my hair does not define me, and being confident enough helps you rock ANY look.

On a related note, my friend who recently came out as bisexual went from APL hair to a pixie. She looks better and more like "herself", somehow. I just thought that was interesting.

amoulixes
November 13th, 2009, 02:02 PM
As a Women's Studies minor and a wild deconstructionist, I feel my hair has nothing to do with my gender or sexuality. More often than not I imagine myself to be void of gender and sexuality; I don't use these to identify myself.

My hair is something that makes me feel beautiful, not necessarily womanly, and long hair in my own eyes is just one symbol of beauty (be it on a man or woman). I think my decision to grow my hair, keep it long, and care for it correctly is more of a spiritual expression.

MsBubbles
November 13th, 2009, 02:05 PM
Great questions, but I am completely stumped! Also I wouldn't have the first clue if a girl were hitting on me unless she did or asked something obvious.

About as far as I have given this topic thought, I have usually ended after a couple of seconds, thinking "I sure am glad I'm female. I'm not sure I'd have the balls to grow my hair long if I were a man". Long hair is one of the few things I enjoy about being female.

I have other family/nurture issues regarding gender, but they don't ever really get mixed up in my choice of hair length. My long hair project is more of a hobby than an identity at this point.

Vanya
November 13th, 2009, 02:17 PM
I tie my hair to my sexuality and gender very strongly. Semi-consciously I started growing my hair because I believed that my features/body were not feminine enough. I don't think that about my features anymore, nor do I consider long-haired males feminine in the least. If anything, it only increases their appeal (personal preference). The more people with long hair, the better. But I digress. So yes, for me there is a connection between sexuality and hair length.

Besides, if I were to imagine myself with my mind's eye, the image would be that of a girl with very long hair. It has become part of my intrinsic identity and personality. I'd feel naked without it after all these years.

Yozhik
November 13th, 2009, 02:28 PM
I never thought that long hair made me feel more feminine, particularly, but then again I've only had decently long hair (BSL to waist) when I was a teen, and not really completely come to grips with my sexual identity.
I have noticed, however, that it definitely changes the way other people view me: when I had a chin-length bob, I got hit on by many more women. Now, not at all. Personally, I agree with the sentiment that having shoulder lengthish hair is pretty "typical" -- I do feel like I blend in.
Before I joined LHC, I was waffling between chopping it all off to be "different" or growing it out longer than the average. I was leaning toward cutting just because it's a much simpler and less time consuming operation, but LHC convinced me otherwise :)
Hope that answers some of the OP's questions :D

Spike
November 13th, 2009, 02:33 PM
For me, long hair was always witchy etheral fey rather than feminine girly sweet. I wanted long hair as a tadlet, but Mother wisely said "Not until you can and will take care of it."

I was five when I announced I was growing it out, darn it!

Wore it long long for about five years, cut back to shoulder to fit in. REGRETTED IT IMMEDIATELY. I fit in for about a week, then had "short" hair and the same status as before.

Wore it long till I was 18, and my best friend died. I cut it as short as the hairdersser would--think short pixie. Only regret was not grabbing the clippers and buzzing it. It felt like I had undergone a complete and total change, that the old me no longer existed, and by making this drastic change in appearance, my outside matched my inside.

Kept it short for a year and a day, grew it back.

Late thirties I cut it off when I bought a convertible so I could let it blow in the wind without tangling. Wore a pixie for three years--and decided I missed my hair.

Currently hovering around APL--should hit there by the end of the year, early 2010. Should be about TBL by 2012-2013. Planning to grow to terminal and keep it there in honor and rememberance of another fallen friend who died this summer.

Edited to add--I identify as straight, somewhat androgynous ("Ambisexual walnut," anyone??). I haven't noticed any difference in approaches by either sex with long hair vs. short--but I get called "Sir" on the PHONE more often when my hair is short.

Sheltie_Momma
November 13th, 2009, 02:46 PM
I feel out of my depth trying to answer this question but I'm going to try.
My hair is part of my identity. My true inner self has long hair. Of that part I am certain.
But do I think it is part of my sexual identity? No. My experience of gender is not influenced by length of hair. Hair is just not a strong sexual cue for me, on myself or others.

Hiriel
November 13th, 2009, 02:50 PM
Hm. I'm not sure. I do feel that my hair is part of my identity, for sure, because I've had hair at least APL all the time since I was 12-13, and I just wouldn't look like me with completely different hair. Which is perhaps why I've never dyed it either. I'm not really sure about gender and sexuality though. But that might be because I tend to write both off as not that important for me. I'm not one of those who prefer not to use gender labels or anything like that, but I just don't see how me being female is a very important part of my personality. And I'm not a very sexual person (not asexual by any means, just not very sexual). I would however feel less beautiful without my hair. Partly because, like I already said, it just wouldn't look right on me, and partly because I do like my hair, and partly because my boyfriend also likes it, and his opinion is the only one I really care about when it comes to my looks :)

JamieLeigh
November 13th, 2009, 03:03 PM
Interesting question! I've never really been a very feminine type of girl. I was raised with a brother and boy cousins and boy neighbors, and never played with Barbies or dress-up clothes. To this day, I hardly ever wear a skirt and hate makeup (unless it's heavy black eyeliner, goth-ish). Yet, I've always had my hair long. As long as I can remember, I've never been completely satisfied with my length and always ready to grow longer.

My first experiences of a sexual nature were with females. I don't know if this was a product of being raised with males and just not being attracted to them, or of seeing who the people I was raised with were attracted to. Or it might just be me, lol. I do have 5 kids, so obviously I like males too. :p

I have no idea what my hair says about me...I just know I love it, and I'm always attracted to longer-haired individuals, male or female. :flower:

The Drood
November 13th, 2009, 03:08 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?


Couldn't tell you how my hair is related to my gender or sexuality, other than to say that both genders can grow long hair and I don't think any style is gender specific.

I've never understood the reasons why men tend to have short hair. It's only very recently in the scheme of human existence that this has been the case. In respect to that, I like to think it project that I don't really care what the social norm is at the moment. I'm going to be myself.



This is sort of rambly, but what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

Your stories made me think about my own hair and sexuality. However, your stories were about hair and sexuality (mostly) so that train of thought seems appropriate.

I very much think my hair is tied to my identity. I happen to enjoy my long hair and think I will enjoy it further the longer it grows. That's just the person I am, I like my hair long.

The only way I think hair can be related to a sexual orientation is if it's either stigma or a current fad. I don't see how it could be connected genetically or other such ways.

I'd love to think I never judge people on they way they look. It however would be a lie to say I don't judge on first glance. This is something we all do, whether we admit it or not. It's whether we accept that quick analysis or try to find out what is really there that is the difference.

More to the point, yes , I think I do judge people differently on their hair. I'm far more likely to strike up a conversation with another long hair, simply because we have something obvious in common.

Hydrilus
November 13th, 2009, 03:09 PM
This is an interesting topic and can probably work as a decent study for you Oleander since the large majority here take pride in their hair, whether it's long or short.

For me, I've only been letting my hair grow out since just over a year ago. For my most of my life before then though, I had a typical guys hair cut that was of course, short in length. I think the reason for always keeping it short was just because, that's what the parents always told or did for me. So obviously I grew up continuing that routine.

Why then, did I suddenly want to let my hair grow? I really don't think it has anything to do with my own sexual identity at all, in fact, I know it doesn't. It's not a blurry line for me. What did change for me though...was I took up snowboarding. It kind of became my obsession over the past few years. Now, I know we're not in the stone age and we have very warm clothing options for being in the snow, but longer hair does help with warmth! This was partially a reason for letting my hair grow... But probably the main reason is just because I've never had long hair before, so I wanted to experience what that's like. Of course it has a lot to do with looks too - I look a lot older with longer hair and that's something I like. It's also something that I feel has increased my confidence greatly...can't say exactly why...

As far as inner image...I don't think I've discovered what my inner image is...if it's someone with long hair or short hair or a beard or whatever... I honestly haven't thought much about that but, maybe as I keep crossing these things I've never done before off my list (i.e. having long hair) I'll be able to figure that out ;)

Rivanariko
November 13th, 2009, 03:10 PM
I've had long hair pretty much as long as I can remember. It was short for a while when I was a small child, but I don't remember what it was like. For the longest time, I never really thought about it. I had long hair because, well, I just did!

I played with the idea of cutting it boy-short for years. It was a hassle to deal with, and the women that I trained with seemed so much freer with their short hair cuts. Something held me back though, something in me was afraid to cut it.

It's only been in the last year or two that I've realized how much I associate my hair with my femininity, and I think I only realized that after a friend of mine who had gorgeous tailbone length hair cut it to about APL and later told me about the problems it caused in her relationship. Not because he was upset that she cut her hair, he still loved her, but she was constantly seeking affirmation from him. She didn't feel pretty or feminine with shorter hair and she hated it. I think that's when I realized that this is why I've never been able to cut my hair. I don't lead a very "feminine" lifestyle. I work outside in the barns, I've never worn make-up except on very special occasions, I might wear a skirt to church on Sunday, but most of the time I wear slacks, I hate clothes shopping and most of my wardrobe is pretty androgenous, and jewelry is dangerous in my workplace because of the risk of it getting caught on something. My hair, in many ways, is the only feminine, pampered aspect of my life. It's my own vanity, and allows me to feel a little more of a connection to my gender, or at least to the stereotype of female.
ETA - I identify as a straight female, by the way. Realized I might not have made that clear.

As for perceptions based on hair, I don't really think about it. I've known so many straight women with short cropped hair, buzzed heads, or even shaved bald, that it doesn't occur to me that that would be associated with the gay culture. I've also known a lot of gay women with long hair who were very "girly" and not at all the typical butch stereotype. I guess just because I see my hair as an expression of my feminine side doesn't mean that I expect it to be the same for anyone else.

rach
November 13th, 2009, 03:10 PM
hair i think on a phycological level expresses healthiness to another individual which works for both genders . And when you have long hair or you let you hair down you expressing what you possess and it shows "i look after myself and genetically i'm healthy " which all of us fall for on a sexual level .

Carolyn
November 13th, 2009, 03:11 PM
Interesting topic. I may not be understanding what you are going for but here goes. I'm a straight female who has always been on the "girly" side. I've always seen my true self with long hair. Even as a small child I would "see" an image of me with long hair. I've known for years that long hair is part of what makes me feel womanly and feminine. Feeling that way is important to me. Is that sexual? I don't really know. I've never thought about it. I do know that the times when I cut my hair up to shoulder length lessened my already low sex drive. I don't know that I've considered gender and hair length on other people. It's never really occurred to me. I know I've never been mistaken for a male or hit on by a female.

Rivanariko
November 13th, 2009, 03:14 PM
This is an interesting topic and can probably work as a decent study for you Oleander since the large majority here take pride in their hair, whether it's long or short.

For me, I've only been letting my hair grow out since just over a year ago. For my most of my life before then though, I had a typical guys hair cut that was of course, short in length. I think the reason for always keeping it short was just because, that's what the parents always told or did for me. So obviously I grew up continuing that routine.

Why then, did I suddenly want to let my hair grow? I really don't think it has anything to do with my own sexual identity at all, in fact, I know it doesn't. It's not a blurry line for me. What did change for me though...was I took up snowboarding. It kind of became my obsession over the past few years. Now, I know we're not in the stone age and we have very warm clothing options for being in the snow, but longer hair does help with warmth! This was partially a reason for letting my hair grow... But probably the main reason is just because I've never had long hair before, so I wanted to experience what that's like. Of course it has a lot to do with looks too - I look a lot older with longer hair and that's something I like. It's also something that I feel has increased my confidence greatly...can't say exactly why...

As far as inner image...I don't think I've discovered what my inner image is...if it's someone with long hair or short hair or a beard or whatever... I honestly haven't thought much about that but, maybe as I keep crossing these things I've never done before off my list (i.e. having long hair) I'll be able to figure that out ;)
I have been using the "my long hair keeps me warm" excuse for YEARS! That has always been my go-to when people want me to cut my hair. I grew up in a fairly cold climate, so it made sense, and it really DOES work like a built-in scarf if I leave it down, even with very fine hair. :)

longhairdream
November 13th, 2009, 03:22 PM
I just love long hair ! Ironically, i have'nt been able to grow my hair out until now - because of discouraging remarks (being a boy) and hence due to the fear of attracting attention - thats right - i have basically been a very shy person - and my hair reflects that. Everytime i used to get it chopped off at the barbers shop with a heavy heart ! Though people complemented me on my short hair, little did they know that was'nt what I wanted. I have however, gone through positive changes in my personality lately, and this is also affecting my hair - its definitely longer than it has ever been in my life !!
I am a very simple person and i so my hair is also simple - i havent used any chemical treatments, no gels, hairsprays, dies, bleaches on my hair yet, and hope to keep it that way !

Laululintu
November 13th, 2009, 05:50 PM
I've had long hair since I was old enough to insist on it as a child. The shortest my hair's been since I can remember was between shoulder and APL when I was 18. Having long hair is a part of my identity, but more out of a sense of aesthetics than anything else (which came from my love of historical novels etc. no doubt). I'm a romantic, a history nerd and a bookworm, so I like having something pretty with me all the time, even when I'm feeling otherwise clumsy, or ungainly.

I've always seen myself as female, but even now at 25 I'm still not sure I'm a proper grown up woman yet :p

aprilmay
November 13th, 2009, 05:57 PM
I am not sure what my long hair says about me, but I like the way long hair makes me feel. I think it accents my femininity and helps me feel young. I don't know how that would be sociologically be interpreted? Our appearances reflect things about us, but I don't know exactly what. I have often misread appearances and made conclusions that were later proven incorrect.

pepperminttea
November 13th, 2009, 07:41 PM
I definitely feel more feminine with longer hair. For me, feeling like a girl doesn't come all that naturally. I have two older brothers, and I never did the girly girl thing; I had trouble connecting to other girls my own age (I learnt how to use make-up in the past year from youtube videos, I'll be twenty-two next month). I did, however, relate more to old-fashioned femininity, probably due to a lot of time spent around my grandmothers and great aunts - late Victorian and Edwardian elegance always seemed like something I wanted to be able to exude myself. And I don't, really, but my hair generally being a private thing; for it to be something only people whom I choose see down, makes me feel as if I have some of that private mystique. People who see me the vast majority of the time see a stereotypically unattractive woman with a bun; I'm fairly quiet, and bookish, which doesn't help. I feel as if what beauty I have is a secret - and I like that. The world can see or think what it likes, I will always be exactly who I'd like to be. On the rare occasions when I wear it down, men tend to double-take when they look at me, though women rarely treat me any differently. For the record, I am bisexual.

As for reading people differently, I have to admit, with first impressions it does, though once I know the person it's never a deciding factor. I know a guy with MBL naturally red hair, and it is beautiful, but he never brushes it to my knowledge, and never wears it up (apart from when his girlfriend is bored). At first, that did make me type-cast him a little purely on lack of information, but now I've known him for a good few years, I don't see it as anything except one of his many characteristics. In terms of how I perceive others' sexuality, I usually base my guesses on mannerisms and the way they act, rarely on their hair; some of the most stereotypically masculine (straight and gay) men I've met have had longer hair than I do.

ilovelonghair
November 13th, 2009, 07:57 PM
Ooops, I forgot to mention that I don't really assign gender tags according to hair style or length. To me, long hair on women makes them look more feminine, but long hair on men make me perceive them as more masculine, more wild I guess. Shorter hair on women as less feminine, short hair on men as less masculine. Like I said, that's just me, and I guess it plays into that whole romantic, wild, free, and fierce mindset I have about long hair.



I've never understood the reasons why men tend to have short hair. It's only very recently in the scheme of human existence that this has been the case.


I see long hair the same way: it's neighter male or female, it adjusts to someone's gender and looks good on both sexes.

I percieve long hair as a sign of health, people with shiny long hair look healthier to me than people with blowfried, dyed dried out short hair. And since that type of hair can't grow very long anyway, you'd never see many people with really long hair that's unhealthy.
This probably need some explanation: I am chronically ill (chronic fatigue) so health is a very important issue to me. Long hair looks healthy on me and in order to feel more healthy I try to look more healthy and it works!


Of course, I LOVE long hair on guys and they are not feminine! So ... I guess it is just a matter of personal choice. I love the looks of long hair and have as long as I can remember.

I only fall for men with long hair. Long hair on a man definitely is more eye catching than short hair.

Armelle
November 13th, 2009, 07:57 PM
Hm, I've had to 'battle' the opinion of others that I looked too 'boyish' most of my life. Once I was an adult, I decided to let my hair grow out. I thought it would clear up the whole gender confusion issue. LOL. Nope, not really. I view my hair more as the only 'decoration' I use rather than as a sign of my sexuality. When I look at other women, I am attracted to those with very long hair. I'm attracted to guys with long hair.

Culturally speaking, hasn't long flowing hair been associated with sexuality and/or anger? I think in modern society it is unfortunately often viewed as unprofessional or unclean.

ladycatpurrs
November 13th, 2009, 07:57 PM
Since my 16 year old son and my husband both have long hair (DH- APL, son- waist) my long hair is just part of my body and not a conscious part of my gender or sexuality. It is a manifestation of my sensuality though. If I trust and love someone I love to be petted--sound like a cat there, hmm, anyway! I love to have my hair brushed and I like the way it looks long so it is there for my enjoyment and personal aesthetic. I have a friend who LOVES her breasts, wears low cut shirts and push up bras. That is kinda like how I see my hair except I usually look a little warmer than she does, LOL!!!

teela1978
November 13th, 2009, 08:04 PM
I generally go with the "it's just hair" attitude. When my hair is shorter I find ways to make it be me, it doesn't need to be long. I find long hair easier to maintain, when its shorter I need pretty regular haircuts for it to look good. And I think it looks better long...

I guess I tend to think of it as an accessory. It doesn't say anything more about me than my shoes.

ravenreed
November 13th, 2009, 08:09 PM
I am bisexual and lived with a female partner for 5 years. When I met her my hair was chin length and I let it grow during that period. She had BSL hair at the time, even though she self-identified as butch. I have had all lengths of hair and have not really tied my sexuality into my hair length. I feel feminine all the time, regardless of how long my hair is...

DBBramble
November 13th, 2009, 08:19 PM
I love my long hair. My goal is to get it to tailbone. The reason mainly is just to see if it can. My aunt had hers down to her tailbone when she was in her teens. As far as how it makes me feel on an inner level, it makes me feel like I'm worthy of life, if that makes sense. I've always pictured myself with long silver/white hair, when I get older. I think long hair on guys is wonderful. My boyfriend's is driving him nuts because it curls and he can't tuck it behind his ears. Also the most beautiful head of hair I've seen is my best friend's fiance's before he went into the Marines. Man I miss his hair, but he doesn't look bad with the buzz either.

I find it funny how a hairstyle can pin a profession. Buzz-Military Short- Public Service (police, firefighter)

Paliele
November 13th, 2009, 08:25 PM
I cut all my hair off to pixie length for my 18th birthday and loved it. Before that it was at APL for years. I wore it short for about a year, then started growing it out again. Now that it's back to APL (well, the longer layers, anyway), I love it again. That middle stage is so hard to get through :) . I feel more accepting of my femininity now that my hair has been short and I've chosen to grow it out again.

BranwenWolf
November 13th, 2009, 08:42 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

It's sort of just taking something my body has and letting it go out to it's full glory. I'm short, I don't have a decent bust or particularly interesting features, but the hair has always been nice.
I really don't do "girly" things. I don't think dresses flatter me at all. 95% of the time I'm in jeans and shirts and work boots, because I'm in the horse/livestock biz.
On to the vanity parts: in lots of western artwork you'll see women riding with black western hats and long blonde hair flying out the back. Or there will be some outlaw chick with two long braids. Matching a fantasy picture is alright by me!

I cut to APL when I was 17 and enjoyed short hair for a bit...until it started really getting on my nerves, because it's unmanagable when short.
I had some very dark times that followed that had nothing to do with my hair- I had some physical and emotional trauma and my mental illness really hit its worst.
Now that I'm growing out again, it's sort of like getting back to who I was at a more stable time in my life. I am ME, not who the world would like me to be.

I don't have a partner at the moment but when I do I would like it to be something they would enjoy, and they would be one of the few people that get to touch my hair and run their fingers through it and all.



what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.


I don't have a partner yet (working on that) but it is hard to find some people that will treat me for ME.
Cruel and stupid blonde jokes are still alive and well in the world. When I can get someone to stop looking at my hair and start noticing me, then I can interact with them.

I'm sort of nodding along with pepperminttea's comment that it's sort of a "secret" beauty. I don't fry or dye (anymore:D) or clip my hair, I just let it do it's thing, and that's my crowning glory. I love it and I don't care what others think.

Also, taking care of my hair from the inside out has helped me better my health in general. I've read a LOT of great health tips here.

Nat242
November 13th, 2009, 08:45 PM
I'll admit that there's a touch of irony to my love of long hair on myself.

I always had short hair growing up - it was usually shorter than the other women and girls around me, and I wore a pixie for most of high school. My hair is far longer now than it's ever been.

I identified as a "feminist" from a very young age, and I found the rules about gender and behaviour arbitrary and stupid, and I took pleasure in being contrary. I took on many traditionally "boy" behaviours and past times, and to this day I couldn't tell exactly how much of that was because I really wanted to say, play Aussie rules footy, or because I didn't like the stereotype that I *shouldn't* play footy.

Although I identify as a woman, I have many traits that traditionally belong to men in our culture, and I have been described as "masculine", "manly", and "the other Alpha Male", by friends and family because of those traits. I'm an activist, which seemed to cement the idea that was some sort of militant lesbian in people's minds, and many confused "feminist" with "misandrist".

My mum and I started taking belly dance classes, and we both decided to grow out our hair. I keep growing it not only because I enjoy the aesthetic, because I find it fun and beautiful, but because I enjoy the juxtaposition of a traditionally feminine marker with a personality that many characterise as unfeminine. I dress myself in a similar way - long, flowing skirts and dresses with big, practical, stompy, "I'll kick your butt" boots (see my profile picture for an example). I enjoy the aesthetic of both elements individually, and I enjoy the juxtaposition of them together.

In that sense, my "look", long hair included, is a projection of my sense of self. I feel like I'm reclaiming the right to call myself feminine, or call myself Woman with my long hair, skirts and dresses, even though I possess many traditionally "masculine" personality traits. Those traits do not belong to men alone, or to masculinity. Femininity and strength are not mutually exclusive. Softness and hardness can coexist in one person. Prettiness and fierceness can go together. I am a woman, hear me roar. ;) :eyebrows:

So that's my incredibly pretentious and over-thought answer to your question. :p :o

Vianka
November 13th, 2009, 09:04 PM
My hair is a huge part of who I am. I'm practical and I want to be taken seriously in the workplace and my shorter haircut conveys that. I also like a very neat, no fuss appearance, not just in my physical appearance but my environment, too. Truth be told, I'm a total control freak. So, for my personality traits short hair always worked for me.

Anyway, about the sexuality part ... I despise being objectified and stared at, so I think short hair was my way of saying "hey I'm not here for your personal enjoyment. I'm not here to serve you in any way shape of form, unless of course I work for you and then you better treat me appropriately."

Honestly, I've always loved beautiful long hair and knew that my hair would look good long, but I never wanted to attract that kind of attention, especially in the workplace. But, now that I'm an older, married woman, I feel secure enough that I can finally grow my hair long.



http://lh5.ggpht.com/_QGWytrS1tHU/SukOseeKkkI/AAAAAAAAALw/PhcVj0sutog/sw_2007.jpg

Alun
November 13th, 2009, 09:28 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

I'm male and heterosexual, and I don't see my hair as part of my gender identity, or at least it has nothing to do with whom I'm attracted to, but perhaps gender is a wider concept than that. OTOH, I think I do get a certain kick out of some things that are perceived as feminine, and maybe even partly because they are, which even includes just having long hair, but I'm unlikely to put my hair in a french twist and don a tutu anytime soon! (a kilt, yes, but not a tutu!).

I do find it interesting that you give examples where women were suddenly thought to be gay when they chopped their hair. I don't think straight men perceive it that way, although sometimes we may find a woman less attractive with short hair, but not even that always.

Gay men that I know from the Men's Long Hair Hyperboard all say that long hair makes them less attractive to other gay men, which seems directly opposite to your experiences with gay women. Perhaps you should ask them? They also have their own board just for gay men with long hair, quite separate from MLHH. Be aware that some of them make fun of lesbians, though. I don't know how they get away with it.

I do feel that my hair is tied very closely to my inner sense of self, to the extent that I would feel as if I wasn't me if I cut off my hair, but see the answer to the other question.

I feel that long hair definitely projects how I wish to be perceived, but I'm also aware that often other people perceive something very different than what I want to project (although I don't really care). For example, I tend to think of long haired people as more intellectual, but there are (short-haired) people out there who, unsurprisingly, disagree. I also think it fits with a liberal political PoV, but I know there are right wing long haired people out there too (Hello, Big George!).


what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

Your stories don't make me think anything about myself. Perhaps that's because I'm not a woman?

My hair is very definitely tied to my identity in other ways. I embrace hippie, rocker and biker stereotypes of long haired males, and don't think of any of these as negative. I'm surprised to the extent that others sometimes do. What's more, each of these stereotypes is either unisex and/or masculine, in varying degrees. I used to ride a motorcycle and I used to sing in a band. As for the hippie aspect, I think freak is a more accurate term to describe me, but I don't quibble with being called a hippie, as I don't expect people to know the difference.

I do read people differently based upon their hair, and based on how they dress, which I think are usually more reliable indicators than anything they were born with, although nothing is completely reliable. Most of the time I beleive in giving people the benefit of the doubt, except when I get a vibe that they might be dangerous, which is hard to pin down. IMHO you can find harmless gangbangers and dangerous stockbrokers out there.

turtlelover
November 13th, 2009, 09:38 PM
I've had my hair ALL sorts of different ways. However, I do feel more feminine when my hair is a certain length or longer. Though I still feel feminine w/ my hair the length that it is in my avatar photo (bob length), I would NOT feel feminine w/ a pixie cut! I think some women can pull off really short hair and look great, but it just isn't me. However, once my hair reaches a certain length, I don't necessarily equate my hair getting longer and longer w/ feeling more and more feminine. After a certain "critical length", it just seems to be a style change to me and I have fun playing with it. I cut and re-grow and have fun w/ the occasional change, but don't like my hair TOO short or I just don't feel like ME.

Hydrilus
November 13th, 2009, 10:04 PM
Culturally speaking, hasn't long flowing hair been associated with sexuality and/or anger? I think in modern society it is unfortunately often viewed as unprofessional or unclean.

I think it can come off as intimidating because with your long hair, you're less exposed to people that interact with you. Your hair is almost like a shield in some ways...it can cover your body, fall down in front of your face, cover your eyes...and people aren't able to tell what you're thinking as easily. So much of communication between humans and many animals is through body language. If you can't see someone's face clearly, you can't see their reactions or their emotions, and that makes them vulnerable. That vulnerability, whether it's realized consciously or subconsciously, can possibly make that person nervous around you...

That's just what I think anyway...I'm no anthropology major :P

terryn
November 13th, 2009, 11:33 PM
Ah, yes, this has been on my mind as well recently. Here's my thoughts:

I have been identifying as a lesbian since I was 14, I'm 21 now. I started questioning my sexuality when I was 12, but I have kept my hair short since LONG before that. My hair has only ever been shoulder length, never longer. I cut it into a "wedge" style when I was 5 after about a year of begging my mother and never grew it out past that. Since then, my hair has gotten progressively shorter.


I have always identified with my short hair. It was, and is a part of me. I love the way it looks, I love the way it feels, and I love that in a way I am showing a more masculine side of me. (I've never had the feminine pixie, I always get boy cuts.) When I first came out, having very short hair was very connected to my sexuality -- it was a way for me to express with my body who I was and how I felt I was. I was very masculine as a child, and to this day I identify as gender queer.

So, why did I decide to grow it out? Well, first to answer the question of sexuality... I still identify as a lesbian, or sometimes as pansexual, or as a 5 on the Kinsey scale, but recently my personality has made the shift from being dominated by the masculine aspects to being dominated by the feminine. My appearance in all aspects has reflected this... except for my hair. I have always loved the way women look with longer hair, I personally find it very attractive and basically, I love touching other people's hair. With this combination of attraction and switch in personality, I finally feel like it is a good time for me to try growing my hair out. I will be able to experiment with something completely new to me, while embracing my femininity as well.

I am not sure how long this will last, but currently, even just the thought of wearing my hair longer feels more feminine and beautiful to me, so I am excited to actually get there!!

Wind Dragon
November 13th, 2009, 11:40 PM
II think freak is a more accurate term to describe me, but I don't quibble with being called a hippie, as I don't expect people to know the difference.
Ooo! Ooo! I know! :gabigrin:


I live in Ann Arbor, the college town where the University of Michigan is located. Yea, people definitely use "queer" to describe sexualities on the spectrum between gay and straight. [...] I understand that "queer" sounds odd--after all, it's a reclaimed term, meaning something that was once used to hurt, now (in theory, at least) used to empower.


Thanks Olean, I guess the word "queer" has simply not been a term that has been reclaimed here in Texas, or at least not commonly. Here, it is still an old word, a derogatory word full of disgust and ignorance.

Huh. Of my two guy friends in their forties who aren't even remotely attracted to women in "that way," one regularly refers to himself as queer (and not at all derogatorily.) The other I don't recall labeling his sexuality at all. So it appears that it's been re-reclaimed, surfacing not only with pride, but with a new definition. Interesting. ETA: I'm in the Dallas, Texas area.


How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?
I've never felt my hair to be related to either my gender or my sexuality at all. It's sometimes been oddly wrapped up in my sense of sensuality, but unrelated to length. I felt incredibly sexy wearing a pixie cut and feminine clothes (or not) for years, and can feel the same way in long hair and jeans now. It seems to have affected some other people's perception of me, though. I found out later that between DH#s 1 & 2, during my short, sweet single life (I had the pixie then,) a great many men did assume just from the boy-short hair that I was a lesbian. But not one single woman hit on me, and despite my very definitely being attracted to women, I've never actually had a physical relationship with one.


what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.
They don't, no, and -- sometimes. With long hair, it has more to do with a certain look and way of carrying oneself that harks back to the "freak" thing. I married two of them after all, but when I first laid eyes on and shortly thereafter fell for DH #2, he had just cut his hair short -- as I found out later, for the first time in sixteen years.

Xanthippe
November 14th, 2009, 12:52 AM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

Hm. I've never really put my hair choices together with my gender or sexuality. Thinking back on how those things affected my personal hair choices, I'd say it has always been my default to avoid displaying my hair too ornately at school or at work (I'm a grad student in physics) because of the male-dominated environment in the upper level sciences. I guess I was trying to fit in more with my stereotypical idea of the sloppy male scientist. Nowadays, I wear hairsticks and colorful beaded clips because I feel like it and I try to not worry too much. I haven't noticed much difference in how I am treated so that's a good sign. Although one of my coworkers asked how I got a bun to stay up with just a stick but those types of questions are fun!

As far as my judging others - if I see someone with long hair I feel a kinship with them since I had tailbone length hair not too long ago.


Thanks Olean, I guess the word "queer" has simply not been a term that has been reclaimed here in Texas, or at least not commonly.

I've actually heard it used quite commonly here in the 'reclaimed' sense and I was born and raised in Houston and I've lived in Austin for almost two years. Texas is a big place :)

inspiral
November 14th, 2009, 03:05 AM
I believe that hair and sexuality are very connected. The plant and animal kingdoms give us endless examples of this. One is the peacock, with his extravagant plumage, which serves the purpose of attracting a mate. Thick, healthy, lucious feathers mean a healthy and fertile mate. Someone with long hair, I think, is accepting their sexuality fully, whatever it may be. This said, I believe that hair and sexual gender preference are related only within the cultural stereotypes that many people emulate.

What does my hair say to the world?
I think that my hair says that I love and accept my natural self.

I believe that hair is intrinsically connected to every part of oneself, within and without. I believe that our hair is an extension of ourselves, of our thoughts and dreams and feelings, and that it actually contains every thought and feeling you have ever had during the individual hairs growth. Cutting it is the severing of past thoughts from future deeds, which can be beneficial when mourning the loss of a loved one, after traumatic or negative events, or during a period of growth and transformation to wipe the slate clean and start anew.

From my experience, allowing my hair to grow is directly related to my complete love and acceptance of myself. I had very long hair as a child, past tailbone at its longest, and I cut it short in fifth grade, anxiously awaiting puberty, desperately trying to duplicate the images I saw in the pages of my Teen magazine. I was trying to be something other than my natural self, something new and different and "cool". This makes me think of a peacock, who shaves off his glorious feathers to look cool. I do think of my hair as my feathers, as my petals, as my divine decoration, and after having cut, bleached, permed, and dyed it trying out the different looks, I know for certain that NOTHING could even compare to what God gave me, my hair is most beautiful when I just let it be itself! The sad thing is that our world is full of peacocks who have been shaved from birth and don't even know what their own feathers look like.

I also believe that our hair serves as thousands of tiny antennae, which pick up the subtle energy surrounding us, increasing physic awareness. And the bigger the antennae, the better the reception! I think this is one reason (of the many!) that wizards and mystics around the world throughout time allow their hair to grow as long as possible, because they discovered its secret function...

:heartbeat:heartbeat:heartbeat

rogue_psyche
November 14th, 2009, 03:42 AM
I'm a straight female with bicurious tendencies and for most of my life my hair has been at least APL. When I was a kid I'd grow past BSL and then chop in a cycle. After I turned 14 the cycle would be grow to almost BSL then chop to a few inches below shoulders. I always thought of myself as a longhair, even when I didn't deserve to. In other words I view longhair as part of my identity. However, I don't view it as being related to my sexual preference other then thinking that women look more attractive with long hair with a few exceptions.

If I were to date a woman, I'd probably indentify as butch, or at least as "wearing the pants," but without any visual cues signaling that status in my appearance. I think that this scenario is extremely farfetched in my case as I am both in a longterm relationship and have yet to have more than slight crushes on women.

The men I have found most attractive had hair between ears and shoulder. Past shoulder and it becomes not necessarily a "not attractive" issue with me, but a "not compatiable" issue with me. There's something about how growing long hair requires more attention to be directed to oneself that subconsiously makes me feel that longhaired me would be unwilling or unable to be a fulfill me in a relationship. I mean no offense by this; even as I see gorgeous manes on the longhaired men around me I rule them out as partners. (I count this as another reason for lesbianism being unlikely for me, as this type of self-interest is regarded as not only normal but encouraged in females). I do also realize that making this statement outs me as a high-maitenance lover myself, which is something I've been working on for the last seven years with my short-haired, selfless boyfriend.

I hope I haven't offended anyone with this post, the last thing I want to do is add to all the discouragement our longhaired males already deal with. :flower:

ericthegreat
November 14th, 2009, 04:12 AM
In my opinion, we really overanalyze too many things. Nowadays, your choice of hairstyle, the clothes you wear and the kind of foods you like are glimpses into your subconscious mind so say all the therapists. Anything and everything you do simply must have political or religious or cultural significance.

Its almost as if you can't like something simply because you like it. There must be some sort of hidden meaning, there simply must be something behind the curtain. The danger in going with this kind of thinking is that in your quest to read between the lines, often you will read into something that isn't actually there.

Since I'm training to be a hairstylist, I have indeed met literally all kinds of people from all walks of life and also all ethnic backgrounds(NYC is the most diverse city in the world) and have worked on their hair and I of course have gotten a feel about how they personally see themselves and their hair. And what I've learned is that our hair itself has no significance. Its just hair. However, if the owner of that hair wants to place his or her feelings about their hair into their personal belief system, they naturally will of course.

But in itself, our hair is just that. Our hair. A collection of dead cells, like our outer layer of skin. In it and of itself, hair doesn't signify one's masculinity or one's femininity, our culture does that.

Melisande
November 14th, 2009, 04:22 AM
I'm a straight female, and I always liked being a woman. Probably because I come from a family of strong women who all enjoyed femininity as empowering and interesting and challenging. I was never made to feel "less" than my brothers and I never wanted to be anything but a woman. And I always saw myself with long hair, as a girl, I was always "the one with the long hair", and when I cut back my hair (around shoulderblade length), I never kept it short but always let it grow again.

Being feminine means for me being myself - for every woman, feminine is different, just like every man defines what masculine means. I don't believe in gender stereotypes, but I believe in shaping our own lives. So for me, feminine means strong, intellectual, caring, maternal, emotional, trying to be the anchor of my family, giving love and fulfilling the duties life gave me, being a good and competent teacher to my students and being open to the point of view of others.

My hair is a tool of expression for myself. It reflects how I feel about myself, and I project an image with it. Outside the house, it's bunned and nobody knows how long it is. I love my hair jewellery (especially since I started making my own, together with fitting earrings) and use my hair to project my image of a dignified matron ;-)

At home, I may open it, let the rain fall on it or let the wind play with it. Opening my hair is for my husband and me the transition from "daytime parents and working adults" to "evening playful dreamers and lovers ".

My hair has also a spiritual role - it connects me to the women in the past and to their beliefs about themselves. I see my hair as symbol of the spiritual being that accompanies and protects us, like the ancient Romans believed that every woman has her Juno who protects, guards and leads her (and men have their genius).

3azza
November 14th, 2009, 05:39 AM
I have 3 main features that represent my morphological identity, one of which is my hair. When my hair is tied back or short, people don't find me as young and attractive as when it's long and loose. Yet more importantly, my hair always reminds me of who i am, not only of being a woman, but of my ancesters and my roots.

toaster
November 14th, 2009, 07:31 AM
When I first read this question, my first thoughts were that people on this forum read way too much into their hair, and that people's personality and how they dress weigh far more heavily than hair or hairstyle.
But as I thought about it more, I realized that as a teenager I always wore my hair in a way that wouldn't attract attention. Kept it short, didn't get too outlandish.
I'm a very different person now, and I really could care less about what people think about me, and I'll wear my hair they way I want and I'll dress the way I want. I don't have to look "professional" because I don't have, or want, a job that requires it. I'm doing quite well, professionally speaking, thank you very much because I am a professional, so I don't need to try and look the part (which is an interesting little epiphany that is way off topic).
What does that project about me? Well, people who don't know me well call me names (hippie, Jesus) and tell me to cut my hair. People that know me well tell me that it really suits me.
I don't know what it says about my sexuality. I'm a heterosexual male and after being ignored by the opposite sex for 40 years, now I have women talking to me every day, so it must project something. I do know that if people close to me who know my inner self tell me the long hair suits me, first of all it must say something, but also it must be reflecting my inner self because I'm wearing my hair the way I want to, not in a way to masquerade an outward appearance.
That makes me ask myself why I want my hair long. Well, actually, I'm not sure I "want" it, it just behaves better, so I fuss with it less, so it's more natural looking. It's just easier that way. Huh, sure looks to me like it's what God intended for me.

noelgirl
November 14th, 2009, 07:33 AM
For me, there's a duality to very long hair, both a femininity and a rejection of feminine rituals (i.e. going to the salon regularly). As a child, I was a girly girl, but I didn't have the patience to fuss about it. That kid who goes out to play with her princess costume all skewed? That was me. But I liked pretty things and sparkly things, and I wanted long princess hair, which my mom let me start growing around age 4.

However, I didn't really get far in that until I got older and found that I was nothing like the girly girls at school. They had trendy clothes and trendy haircuts and spent their lunch hours gossiping, and while I wasn't exactly masculine, I was one of very few girls who took on "masculine" interests like math and science, and even with my more stereotypically feminine interests outside of school, like ballet, I didn't feel like I was properly part of Girl World. So I started to realize that some things that were regarded as necessary in Girl World weren't so - like going to the salon just because it's what you do. Without that ritual, that's when I first started to seriously gain length - it was rather unkempt, but it was an outward rejection of the status quo.

Then when I got to college, the status quo wasn't nearly so overarching. I still loved long hair, but I felt like that thing I was rebelling against wasn't there anymore. So I played around with more fashionable long hair styles and while I know I wouldn't have felt like myself if I had gone short, that's probably the one time in my life when if I had, I wouldn't have felt as though I were playing into the hands of a culture that would have chewed me up and spit me out anyway. I started to appreciate aesthetic beauty more even-handedly. Yes, long hair is more "me," but I could see the beauty in someone else's shorter style and not presume that the wearer has an agenda counter to my interests. I began to enjoy being a girl once I discovered that I was free to take the parts of femininity that I liked without conforming wholesale.

Now, I keep my hair long just because I like it, and it's kind of my thing. And in the working world I've found it to be a litmus test - with my personality, I seem to do better in environments that are a little more casual and accepting of appearances outside the norm. Interestingly, even though I do usually wear my hair up for interviews, when I interviewed for my current job I arrived with it half-up, because my updo had come down. And it's one of the best workplaces I've worked in in a long time, certainly one of the most creative. I like to think it was a sign that my updo came down, sort of a sign that I could let my hair down and be myself around these people.

Laululintu
November 14th, 2009, 08:14 AM
Femininity and strength are not mutually exclusive. Softness and hardness can coexist in one person. Prettiness and fierceness can go together. I am a woman, hear me roar. ;) :eyebrows:


I understand this sentiment totally, as it was something I grew up with. Most of the women in my family are very strong, so it was always natural for me to embrace both sides of my personality.

Ravenwaves 88
November 14th, 2009, 08:17 AM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

This is sort of rambly, but what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

I don't think it's wrong for any gender to wear their hair however they like. It just depends on how they care for it.

I traveled alot as a child and my parents were very strict and sheltering. I didn't have many options for self expression as a child and early teen. The only thing I was allowed to change consistantly was my hair length. So even though as I child I dreamed of long hair.....I always had it above APLish lengths due to the frequent trims. I was supported in my first pixie chop....but it really didn't end up how I wanted it....it looked like an old lady hair cut. A shorter bowl hair cut with tapered ends. If I wasn't odd enough as a pre-teen I had to grow out what looked like a beatles hair cut. I definitely did not feel feminine. Kids are cruel.

After I left the rule of my parents I grew to about BSL and dyed it black. I was into a gothic/punk type look. My first boyfriend mentioned a few times how he liked super short hair....so I chopped it. (You can see this in my album) I felt just as sexy with or without my hair. I guess I never attributed my sexuality to my length. I loved all the funky styles I could do. I never maintained it and it grew into a cute short bob. (Also in my album) I can really make any length work for me. I never stopped growing after that. Frequent trims made it long to grow. A few dye jobs and chopped off damage, here I am almost Waist.

My short hair was a sort of fun rebellion. Very liberating. Now my longer hair is more of a challenge and goal for superhuman and mystical hair lengths. I can finally be a mermaid or fairy for halloween and for the rest of the year!

When I was younger I was always curious about both sides of my sexuality. Even though I really wanted the experience, to my knowledge I was never hit on by a female. I flirted but I don't feel like there was ever clear evidence of interest in me. Long or short hair. I even went to a gay club for a drag show and it's like I projected straight vibes or something.

I'm happily married for 5 years this february with a beautiful little girl almost 4. I guess I'll never know....lol.

OleanderTime
November 14th, 2009, 10:45 AM
VERY INTERESTING comments, everyone. Thanks for sharing so many personal opinions and stories. As a newbie, I feel like this was a really fun way to learn about a lot of you. I also think it's super interesting how different a lot of your comments and experiences have been: it's a great testament to the diversity and tolerance of this community. We're all here for the same thing, in a lot of ways: finding support to have long and healthy hair. I love that even on this one post, I've met men, women, straight people, gay people, grad students, Texans, mothers.... <3 thanks all!

Tangles
November 14th, 2009, 11:21 AM
Honestly, I feel just as feminine with my hair at shoulder length and curly, as I do with almost waist length hair. It's different types of feminine. I also think volume, health and fullness signifies sexiness more than length.

RecklessCharlie
November 14th, 2009, 12:25 PM
Interesting topic!
I have never felt that the length or style of my hair had any sway on how feminine or un-feminine I've seemed. That being said I have never been what society may consider a very feminine girl. Being androgynous isn't something I cultivate, its just the way I am. When I was between the ages of 5-10 I often was mistaken for my brother's twin brother. Even thought my hair was past my waist. I believe this was partly because of my physicality, being slim and muscular and considerably lacking in 'curves', and also because I was often partaking in activities that were considered 'guy things'. I didn't (and still don't) do 'guy things' because I'm trying to prove a point or trying to break the mold or compete with guys. They are just the things I like to do.
I love men and respect them, and I find that if a woman is just natural and comfortable within herself, it matters little what type of hairstyle she may have when it comes to being 'attractive'.
I almost hate to say it but it is just hair, obviously we all love it, but there are things that are far more important.


Newbie btw, so hello to you all :)

Tinose
November 14th, 2009, 12:27 PM
I'm queer, and admittedly I thought about chopping off my hair and going very short when I realized I was mostly attracted to women because, well, that's the stereotype and looking lesbian would probably make it easier to find dates. But in the end I love long hair for reasons that have nothing to do with my sexuality. I find it beautiful, I like the way it feels on my back when I let it loose, I like its low-fuss nature and ability to pull it back and not have to worry about its appearance, and I like the fact that I don't have to deal with going into salons and paying ridiculous sums of money for a haircut.

Lamb
November 14th, 2009, 12:53 PM
Honestly, I feel just as feminine with my hair at shoulder length and curly, as I do with almost waist length hair. It's different types of feminine. I also think volume, health and fullness signifies sexiness more than length.

I think I am the same way. My hair has always been short (longest was just shy of APL), and somehow I don't feel less of a woman or anything with any length of hair.
Long hair, for me, is something that would be nice to have. Kinda like a nice item of clothing. It does not define me in any way.

Toadstool
November 14th, 2009, 01:10 PM
I'm queer, and admittedly I thought about chopping off my hair and going very short when I realized I was mostly attracted to women because, well, that's the stereotype and looking lesbian would probably make it easier to find dates.
May I ask if this is actually the case? i mean does typical "gaydar" automatically reject someone with long hair? Or is that too simplistic?

Backliteyes
November 14th, 2009, 02:17 PM
I think I use my hair to express my identity, to tell other people something about me. My hair represents something about myself to me. A few examples to illustrate:

Ever since I've been old enough to manage it, I've been coloring my hair in some way. I've highlighted it, I've dyed it dark brown and black and red. In fact I have a lot of henna dye-releasing in my kitchen right now I can keep up this scheme of changing my natural color.

I do this because I don't think my dull medium brown hair suits my personality. I don't feel dull medium brown (or what that color represents for me) on the inside. I feel like a rich and vibrant color, so I make my hair conform. When it does conform, I feel somehow more harmonized. It's a little weird. Also weirdly, I've never wanted to go blond. I guess I don't consider that rich or vibrant (or that it wouldn't be on me), so it would feel as little like "me" as my natural color does. I'm sure what colors represent to me is socialized, but that doesn't bother me. Dying my hair is a fun process for me.

I've noticed if I grow out my hair during a relationship, if the relationship ends I have an overpowering urge to change the style. Perhaps I resort to changing my hair because it's something I can control during a stressful time, I don't know. I've just noticed that pattern. I also cut off a lot of my hair in the transition between high school and college, so I think that big, stressful transition also made me want to exert control on something, or make my hair represent the change I was undergoing.

I've noticed wearing my hair in different styles make me feel different ways, so I pick a style depending on my mood that day or how I want to feel. When I wear my hair up I feel very "put together", in control, professional, polished, etc. When I wear my hair down I feel more sexy and free-spirited. When my hair is long I feel more feminine and luxurious, when my hair is short, particularly in a currently in-style cut I feel more trendy, hip, etc. I particularly enjoy when my boyfriend likes my hairstyle, but it doesn't determine it for me.

karenpetal
November 14th, 2009, 02:56 PM
Interesting thread - and I feel like my hair potrays to a great extent my identity - though I feel this only personally for myself - long hair brings out the feminine side in me. As little boy I always felt slightly out of place with the rest of the boys around and was always more comfortable playing with girls. As I grew up I realised all my friends were girls and I was always interested in activities whihc were "considered by people around me" to me girly.
I always wanted to have my hair long but as a kid was never allowed to - later as I moved to high school I started growing my hair out and realised I was much more comfortable that way. Being houemates with girls I was able to easily blend in - having similar hobbies and tastes.
I felt really happy when I could tie my first ponytail and would feel much happier the day I did my hair. I always wanted to get myself dress up, use makeup and feel like a woman !!!
Hair did and will always make me feel good and keep me in touch with my feminie side.
Thanks for sharing all your stories !

adiapalic
November 14th, 2009, 03:15 PM
Growing up, I was a tomboy with long hair who spent time playing in the creek in our woods. The only time I've ever had short hair was when it was cut back to my shoulders at age 7, which I immediately regretted. I just felt I had to have long hair to be myself. I guess initially I wanted to be more of a rebel by growing my hair out because all the girly-girls at school had chopped hair.

I did play with barbies when I was little, but as I reached age 12 I didn't like identifying as a girl anymore because it meant I had to become a "woman". I despised the onset of puberty because I loved the freedom of being flat chested and shirtless outside, and I didn't wear a real bra until I was 15--before then it was always a tight sports bra designed to flatten. I still kept my hair long and natural.

I've only been intimate with men and identify as being predominately sexually attracted to them, but I've come to realize I have a little side fascination with androgynous looking women and men. I also have a crush on Kelly McDonald.

As far as my hair being a conventional display of my gender, it's unintentional really. I prefer long hair on myself because I just enjoy the way it looks and feels and it has become a part of who I am and how I see myself. I have an androgynous personality--with no longer battling the inevitable thing that was womanhood (I gave in at around 15, al la wearing that bra), I have since embraced the more effeminate personality traits and have a somewhat balance between those and the more masculine traits I exhibit.

ETA: Here in upstate South Carolina, queer seems to still be used in its pejorative context among a less favorable crowd. But I was unaware of its use in the LGBTIQ community until I went to a small Drag Show at an arts showroom followed by a Q & A between various people. One girl with a short haircut, who appeared to identify with more with masculine characteristics (clothing, speech, gestures) identified herself as queer. I had not heard this term used by anyone from the community until then.

I immediately liked the appeal of vagueness with the term, to avoid labeling and such. So here in upstate SC, it is reclaimed in small pockets of the community... but not used mainstream (yet) :)

Bellona
November 14th, 2009, 03:26 PM
I definitely use my hair to express myself and what I'm going through internally at any given time in my life. However, I don't find it at all tied to my gender or sexuality. My ex boyfriend always said that hair is gender neutral because men and women can grow long hair or cut short hair. I think styling can make a person look more feminine or less feminine, but the hair length itself, not really. I am a straight woman, by the way.

I had my hair very long all through childhood, from waist to tailbone. When I was 13, I cut it to above shoulder, partly to stand out from the crowd and partly to negate the fact that I was getting a bit curvier than the other girls my age. I loved it at the time, and some girls even cut theirs after I cut mine. I've had all kinds of hair from really short to waist length to bright colors since then, usually trying to find something that fits. Now that I'm at the age where I'm growing up, I just decided that the color and length I was given is what fits.

I'm a very logic-based person, so I'm not very spiritual or in-tune with emotions. I envy how some of you seem to feel a strong connection to your hair! I don't feel that hair makes me any more or less sexy, as I've felt good about myself at different lengths. I actually feel very put together in shoulder length hair. Part of me growing my hair now is aesthetics, really. I have surveyed all the hairstyles and colors I have worn over the years, and long hair makes me look prettier, in my opinion. It's one of my good features, being thick and wavy and strong. I don't feel any more or less beautiful because of my hair, but logically, it makes sense to me to have the style and color I look better in.

To the OP: This thread was so interesting to read! Thank you for starting it!

Mutinous
November 14th, 2009, 03:27 PM
Good thread :)

I have never really connected my hair to my gender or sexuality. I don't feel any less masculine (or any more feminine) by having longer hair.

I go out on the gay scene quite a lot, and its very rare to see a guy with long hair (or, thinking about it, a girl with long hair). I have a lot of guys compliment me on my hair (one the other night lamented that he couldn't grow his long like mine because of the bleach he used) but there seems to be a distaste towards natural long hair. My flatmate and his boyfriend see my wear my naturally all the time, and don't really say much about it, but when I straightened it the other night, they were quick to tell me how much better it looked.

What I think I am trying to say is that my long hair ever only seems to be acceptable (as a gay male I mean) when it has been straightened and styled, which is a bit strange, but there you go!

I'm doing my dissertation on gender and technology, and topics of sexuality have always fascinated me! I'm glad I'm not alone :)

bte
November 14th, 2009, 11:47 PM
Fascinating thread - thanks for starting it! I am a straight male who has always wanted or had long hair because it feels right for me. It always seems strange to me that gender is defined as being male or female, since most people display aspects of both - whether they are genuinely aspects of both or merely things attributed to a particular gender is hard to say. I know that I am attracted to women who are fairly androgynous, which may be significant.

ravenreed
November 15th, 2009, 12:27 PM
Hmm... gaydar. Gaydar picks up someone who is interested in someone else of the same gender, regardless of how they look. There are very feminine lesbians, there are us bi's running around with no stereotypes on how we should look... You get the picture. It used to be that to be a lesbian meant you had to be butch or you were doing something wrong. Now that is not the case.

FWIW, my male gaydar is spot on. I have picked it up on men who haven't even realized yet that they had that tendency... My gaydar towards women is not so perfect.


May I ask if this is actually the case? i mean does typical "gaydar" automatically reject someone with long hair? Or is that too simplistic?

GeoJ
November 15th, 2009, 06:22 PM
When I was a kid I used my hair (and clothes and behavior) to try to get others to perceive me as a boy. I tried my hardest to look like a boy because I felt like girls were treated as lesser beings. Of course, I was still treated in way that upset me in school, because the teachers all knew I was a girl. The kids were surprisingly better- treating me as a boy like I wanted. Secretly, I did admire long hair. I remember hiding up in my room, rocking on my stool (pretending I was riding a horse) while imagining I had long flowing hair and a beautiful dress...but I didn't dare tell anyone about that back then.

I started to change at puberty, and starting to grow my hair long was the third thing I changed. It was preceded by wearing girls clothing and getting my ears pierced. This was followed by developing an interest in boys. That aside, I don't think I fully accepted being a girl until my late teens, at which point I went overboard and became obsessed with my physical appearance for a few years.

Now I simply keep my hair long because I love long hair, and it feels right for me. I like the way it looks and feels.

I like long hair on both genders, and generally I don't assume much about other's sexual preferences based on their hair.

:)

RecklessCharlie
November 15th, 2009, 06:55 PM
I find it very interesting that quite a few women seem to have identified themselves with more masculine things.

I am definitely what in some people's opinion is called a tomboy or androgynous. But I never wanted to be anything other than a girl.
I wasn't a tomboy because I felt being a girl was somehow inferior. That is probably because I had parents that were very much the alfa of their genders. My father was very commanding and masculine and confident without being overbearing and my mother was supremely strong and creative, not a 'girly girl' but very womanly. My father never told me I couldn't for example, ride horses or play rugby or football(soccer) or love vintage cars because those were typically 'guy' things. He encouraged me to do what I liked. And my mother did the same, she taught me that a true woman can put on mascara and a beautiful gown one day, and go out and change a tire or free-climb a rock face the next.

I didn't even realize that I may be what people categorize as 'androgynous' until in my teens I had several people tell me that that's how they viewed me - even with hair down to my tail-bone! In my case my hair had little effect on how I was viewed or how I felt.

It is great reading everyone's thought's on this subject!

Fiferstone
November 15th, 2009, 06:58 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

I'm another one who is going to say that it's less about gender/sexuality identification than it is about aesthetics. I too had a mother who kept me in short hair most of my childhood (except for a very brief period from the time I was about five until I was about eight. Other than that, when it was long enough to wear in braided pigtails, I had exactly the same haircut as my brothers. We even went to the same barber :). I also dressed exactly like them, and mostly played outside with them doing typically "boy" things. To this day I see home movies of myself with my brothers as young children, and at first I think, "who is the little boy with L.J.?" Then I remember it's me :). I used to get very annoyed at people who asked me what did I want "young man" and I would retort "I'm a GIRL!" Interestingly enough even though I wore jeans and t-shirts and happily caught tadpoles and frogs in the pond with my brothers, I was very clear in my own head that I was female, and was very surprised when other people didn't immediately see that I was female as well. I didn't start do do more traditionally "girly" thinks (like play with dolls) until I was older (around 10).

My hair has mostly been long as an adult. In high school I had the Dorothy Hammill style wedge (which to me still is a "long" short hair style). In college I grew my hair to APL. I found it more attractive on me and was much less hassle in terms of cost to maintain. It's only gotten longer since then. I just like how it looks and how it feels. Now I'm just curious to see how long it can be. It's now hip-length and is the longest it's ever been.



what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

My hair is tied to my identity in that it's part of my aesthetic expression. I'm wearing it more up than down these days (in part because of what I've learned here about protecting it so it can be longer), so it's a bit of a "secret." When it's up, no one else knows just how long it is and it's fine so it doesn't look like there's a large volume of it. I think of it sometimes as the curtain from behind which I observe the world. It's also a visible sign that I can stick to something for a long time, that I can have a long-term committment. The last time my hair was shoulder length was in 1987. It's taken 22 years to get to hip length, and I'm somewhat proud of having achieved that milestone. I have to confess that being a member here has made me notice other people's hair more. It's also made me more aware of the pressures exerted on all of us to conform to conventional standards of beauty. As a woman whom society will view as older rather than younger (I'll be 48 in January), I am more aware of the pressure to have hair no longer than a certain length because longer hair will make you look "older" -- with the attendant value judgement that looking younger is somehow better than looking "older." That's something I don't understand and never will, really.

GlennaGirl
November 15th, 2009, 07:02 PM
I do think of my longer hair as making me look feminine. I feel I look extremely masculine with short hair. I definitely don't think everyone looks this way and I have seen a gazillion women with adorable short cuts.

I'm pretty sure it's wrapped up in being young and my mother constantly giving me boy cuts and people thinking I was a boy. Then because of that, my mother said I "couldn't" dress like a girl because obviously I must be "more boyish" since people said I looked like a boy...so I had to dress and wear my hair like a boy. At the same time she'd always tell my sister (who looks virtually identical to me) that she "looked like a girl" and therefore my sister got to wear pink, etc. Once in a blue moon my mother would "allow" me something almost girlish, like a hair ribbon or a fancy shirt, and then she'd tease me mercilessly every time I had it on: "What's that boy doing wearing girl's clothes? That just doesn't WORK on you, Glenna." It felt pretty horrible to me.

Now I just can't even look at myself in the mirror if I have short hair. People say, "But that's such a crutch. What would happen if you lost all your hair, then?" Well, I'd get a wig.

Stephichan
November 15th, 2009, 07:09 PM
I've always identified myself as a tomboy, but there's been a corner of my mind that wants to be somewhat 'cute', and to me, short hair is cute, long hair is beautiful or sexy (on girls). Of course, I'm finding that there are plenty of long hair styles that still say 'cute' to the world (which I'm loving). I don't have any opinions about long hair on men. It is what it is. I don't assume anything about length and sexuality, because I've known too many people straight and gay people who all had a wide range of lengths.

While I may not see hair as linked to sexuality, I definitely find it useful when conveying personal identity. Lately, my personal identity has shifted. I'm still tomboyish (long hair is easier to put away :)), but lately I feel more nature-based, I guess you could say. I see myself as water, finding the path of least resistance, both when traveling somewhere, and in dealing with personal issues or future plans (I don't mean to say that I give up for whatever is easiest, I just find the easiest way to fulfill my goals and to do what feels "right"). For that reason, I feel that to have long, flowing hair fits with how I see myself. I also have a fiery personality, so I express that by hennaing my hair red.

In the real world, I am a very timid person (I even have mousy hair naturally). I find it hard to speak in class or to start a conversation with someone I do not already know. I use my hair to say what I cannot. That I am flowing, warm, vibrant, and not afraid to make a commitment.

klcqtee
November 16th, 2009, 07:28 PM
I definitely judge people based on their hair. My views (based on their hair)dictate if I'd like to get to know them, not to determine their sexuality. I know it goes with the "don't judge a book by it's cover" business, but stereotypes exist for a reason, and in highschool, that's especially prevalent.

Sexuality wise, I generally only judge on how they dress and act, though hair is a contributing factor.

I've had short hair and I've had long hair, and both are a part of my identity. The thing I hate having is "normal" hair. I like it really short, or really long. The inbetween stages drive me craaaaazy!

nowxisxforever
November 16th, 2009, 07:31 PM
Did you really just use the word "queer"? Sorry, I just couldn't get past that. Maybe it is just regional, but we don't say that down here. :)

Reclaiming the word, baby. I use it too, and have since I was really into queer (!) activism in HS.

nowxisxforever
November 16th, 2009, 07:54 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

I don't feel it relates to my sexuality, although I suppose it does relate to my gender. It reflects the inner self that I have worked very hard to cultivate and enhance. Years ago, when I was much younger, I was not who I wanted to be. I consciously set about to begin being who I saw myself as ideally being.

I wanted to be patient, kind, loving, forgiving, empathetic, calm, serene, feeling, supportive, cheerful, accepting, slow to anger but quick to love. I wanted to be strong and willful, but at the same time laid-back and be able to let things go where they will go and be where they will be. I wanted to have the sort of personality that made people want to be around me, and not on a fake level-- on a true, honest-to-God "this is ME" level.

So when I was about 15 I consciously decided to grow my hair long. It was the beginning in a long trip to being who I am today. The longer my hair has become, the more time has passed and the more work I have put into becoming who I want to be. It's an outward sign of my perseverance and patience in being this person I have become... an outward sign of my willingness to let things be what they will be and not try to control every aspect of myself and the reality around me. An outward sign of this journey.

It projects to others that I am patient, will stick things out for the long haul, am not apt to make drastic changes without much thought, and am not easily torn from the path I want to be on. It shows that I am grounded, yet free. It shows that I am feminine and relish that fact. It shows that I am different of mind and personality.

nowxisxforever
November 17th, 2009, 07:37 AM
Did I kill the thread? Whoopsie...

halo_tightens
November 17th, 2009, 10:11 AM
I began to enjoy being a girl once I discovered that I was free to take the parts of femininity that I liked without conforming wholesale.

This...

This is what it's taken me so very long to learn.

I have Borderline Personality Disorder, though I've recently come a very long way in recovery from where I once was. Anyone who knows a lot about BPD knows that one of its handicapping traits can be an inability to see the "middle ground" in situations. I spent much of my life miserably playing stereotypes-- either trying too hard to conform to a standard I could never reach, or trying to figure out another "type" of person that I could manage to be, maybe more successfully. And I wonder why I was miserable... sheesh.

I'm finally grasping the concept that there are no hard and fast rules on this! I don't HAVE to choose one from the list (hippie, preppie, goth, Christian, punk, housewife, etc.) and then play that role to the best of my ability. Can you believe it-- mix-and-match IS an option!! I think that's probably something that would come more easily to others than it did to me. It took so much time and work for me... but slowly opening my eyes for the first time is a blessed experience that I would never trade for the standard.

So for me, the decision to grow my hair long is one of the first decisions of that sort that I have made since making so much progress against my illness over the past couple of years. I'm doing it for several reasons, none of which have anything to do with fitting the character that I've chosen to play this month. It's nice not to have to do that anymore.

Toadstool
November 17th, 2009, 02:48 PM
I'm finally grasping the concept that there are no hard and fast rules on this! I don't HAVE to choose one from the list (hippie, preppie, goth, Christian, punk, housewife, etc.) and then play that role to the best of my ability. Can you believe it-- mix-and-match IS an option!!.
Took me years to get this too.


Glennagirl[/B]]I'm pretty sure it's wrapped up in being young and my mother constantly giving me boy cuts and people thinking I was a boy. Then because of that, my mother said I "couldn't" dress like a girl because obviously I must be "more boyish" since people said I looked like a boy...so I had to dress and wear my hair like a boy. At the same time she'd always tell my sister (who looks virtually identical to me) that she "looked like a girl" and therefore my sister got to wear pink, etc. Once in a blue moon my mother would "allow" me something almost girlish, like a hair ribbon or a fancy shirt, and then she'd tease me mercilessly every time I had it on: "What's that boy doing wearing girl's clothes? That just doesn't WORK on you, Glenna." It felt pretty horrible to me.

This is immeasurably cruel.:grouphug:

I recently pixied my hair because I wanted to look asexual, to stop men hitting on me. Strangely it gave me the confidence to be assertive because I felt I now looked assertive.
But now I am reclaiming my sexuality I feel an urge to grow my hair long and flowing. I have no idea where this comes from, something to do with being wild and free I think.
And I always question am I the same person when my hair is different?

frodolaughs
November 17th, 2009, 04:40 PM
When I was in college and an active member of the Queer Student Union (we were reclaiming the word Queer and looking for a name which would be inclusive of a broad spectrum of people without sounding like a golf tournament), I got my hair cut in a very short boyish style. It was an experiment and I realized that the haircut wasn't me. As I've gotten older I've realized that hairstyle and outward appearance do not make me more myself--I like having long hair and think of myself as a long haired person. I always have long hair in my dreams and found it very confusing to have short hair awake and long hair asleep.

Freija
November 17th, 2009, 05:07 PM
My story seems quite similar to yours in some ways, OleanderTime!

I pretty much grew up with my sexuality (never really wanted to/too difficult to label myself, though I can't say I don't sometimes wonder; I quite like the term 'queer' too :)), and started becoming aware of it and exploring it along with everything else from my early teens. I was really lucky with family and friends, I think! When I was thirteen, I cut my then-longish hair into short, punky spikes, and I'm sure it was part of that: in my middle-class all-girls' school, nobody really did anything to their hair beyond straightening or a few highlights, so cutting it off was me, going against the grain and taking on an identity of my own. I felt different, I was different, I looked different, and I revelled in it.

I kept my hair short in one style or another for a few years after that, but as my peers grew up and fashions changed, short hair stopped being a statement - and as I grew up, it stopped feeling like 'me'. For a time, I dressed in reasonably unfeminine clothes with odd delves into grunge, but now - though I don't wear much makeup - I love skirts and feminine, boho things. I decided to grow my hair out on a whim, but have slowly fallen in love with it. As others have noted, my hair has come to stand as a big part of my femininity - which actually took me longer to embrace than my sexual identity. It makes me feel beautiful.

Colour has always been very, very important to me, though - the most important part of my appearance, clothes included. I started dyeing my hair red when I was nine and have always adored it; even when I cut my hair off, the red stayed. It is the most 'me' part of me there is, physically, and it's long been how people recognise me. I love looking bright - and thinking about it, perhaps some of that comes from being bullied: I'm not a loud person, but colour gave me presence, stopped me being sidelined and ignored and fading away when everyone else got bored. It's a good way to fight back! But, likewise, when I've been at my lowest I've got rid of it and dyed it dark brown/plum/blue-black (I truly can't remember the conscious association being there at the time, but looking back - there's a correlation).

Long hair - and bright hair (through colour or shine) - really, really does rock. :)

JCFantasy23
November 18th, 2009, 01:19 AM
I also tie my long hair to my gender and sexuality. Long hair makes me feel more feminine. Sometimes when I am in an erotic mood and am planning special moments with my significant other, I like to brush my hair and put on perfume and it helps get me in the right mode. Too much information aside...

Darkhorse1
November 18th, 2009, 08:46 AM
For me, I always felt having long hair made me unique. I liked being different in that respect because I hated when I saw girls follow trends. I wanted to stand out in regards to my own identity and having super long hair was something I'd wanted as a little kid. My parents sent me to a barber as a kid because my hair was so thick, it knotted easily and they kept it super short. I ached to have Crystal Gayle length hair and Jane Seymour's hair. When I was old enough to care for it myself, I started to grow it. I refused to let anyone cut it. A trim took off 2 inches of precsious length and I refused to have anyone touch it after that.

Over the years, my hair has gone from shoulder length to mid back to waist. i'm currently trying to grow it to my thighs, as it's been many years since it was that long.

My hair grows unusually fast, so it's also a very practical style for me, plus, working with horses, it's the easiest style to have. Tie back and god. I do have bangs though and LOVE hair accessories.

Sexually? I do feel , for ME, that my long hair makes me femenine, but also it makes me feel powerful--strong---because I'm doing what I want, and ignore all those who say I should cut my hair. In fact, when I hear those comments, I just want to grow my hair longer :D

I have family in Michigan--my dad works at Wayne State :)

RavennaNight
November 18th, 2009, 12:33 PM
OK, I've got an odd one for y'all. I knew I would eventually post in this thread but lately I've been busy and energy for extra words had escaped me completely...

But... I always loved long hair. I always wanted to have long hair because I liked how it looked on... Guys with long hair! I was never crazy about having long curled, styled, fancy sprayed and done up long hair. Even as a teen, I just wanted long hair like the guys in the scene I frequented. Isn't that odd? I didn't want long hair to be feminine and girly at all. :shrug:

But... This never really tied into my sexuality/preferences because I am as straight as they get.

I used to also dream of having hair like Sean Yseault of White Zombie (bleached till it glowed in the dark and 3A) and the blazing nuclear red long hair of the girl from the now defunct band Pist.on.

Now I have long hair, almost getting to where it is "really long" according to the normal world, and I don't feel like it is either masculine or feminine. I feel like in many ways I am stereotypically a guy, as in I can have a very crude sense of humor and say VERY unfeminine things, I like nice mean looking cars, and many tell me my musical taste is guyish. I tend to display my femininity from a guy's perspective, some have told me. But I am stereotypically feminine because I am obsessed with hair, I like jewelry, and will also sometimes wear a skirt. But I never look "soft and feminine" and rarely wear pink.

Short hair never made me feel less feminine than long hair, but I never had a pixie since I was a small child and Mom kept my "unruly" hair pixied. I grew it and would cut to chin every now and then.

InTheCity
November 18th, 2009, 06:09 PM
Definitely!
I've always had short or medium hair and have also always been told (okay, convinced) I have a pretty face. And since I'm very short I've had to deal with being the "cute" one my whole life.

Maybe it's nice to be cute and smiley but in my early 20's, I started to have a desire to be "sexy." I have a nice body and a nice face, but for some reason I could never graduate from "cute."

So for me, growing hair was definitely about trying to look sexy. I'm going for Victoria's Secret model hair.

ooo
November 18th, 2009, 06:34 PM
Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your identity in these or other ways?
Yes, but definitely not to my sexual identity.


This is sort of rambly, but what do my stories make you think of about yourself?
I see myself as the girl with shoulder long curls, although my hair is wavy and shorter at the moment. I'm trying to grow my hair to waist length, so I'm wondering, if I can ever change the image of myself being the girl with the shoulder length curls. I had my hair like that for the past ten years, maybe not all the time, but most of the time. It is also the look, I got most complements for. Many other people don't see me as the girl with curls. People are very often surprised by my curly hair. Even if they know me already for a quite long time. Even if they have seen me with curls before, there is always a moment, when people would come to me and talk about my hair. Every time I'm shocked, because people obviously see me as the girl with straight brown hair. That's not me! I wear my hair as curly as possible almost every day!


Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.
No, it's more about how people act and also about there style. Strangely femininity does not have much to do with hair. When I try to imagine a very feminine woman, I'd first think of someone with short hair, a tight dress, red lipstick and nice makeup. It's more the body and the face, that expresses femininity. Maybe it is also how you act?

RecklessCharlie
November 18th, 2009, 07:05 PM
Even as a teen, I just wanted long hair like the guys in the scene I frequented. Isn't that odd? I didn't want long hair to be feminine and girly at all.

I don't find it odd, I was completely the same. I think it was because I admired the way the guys didn't 'fuss' over their hair, it just looked awesome without them even trying.
One thing I can't abide is prissy vanity and I saw that as a going hand in hand with a lot of the more 'girly' styles.

Btw, reading your post I was like listening to my own brain :p

Tyrinaniel
November 18th, 2009, 07:22 PM
I can't say that my hair reflects my sexuality, but it does reflect my gothic/medieval personality. Many misunderstand what "gothic" is, and think it means you must cut and be suicidal. Instead, I've loved the Gothic Era. Phantom of the Opera is a favourite book of mine, and I do love a good medieval-renn. story. For me, long hair is a sign of nobility and honor. If she cuts it off, it's to prove a point. If someone else chops it off negatively, it's a slap in the face.

I'm a straight woman, though I've always seen that short hair can be just as beautiful as long hair, but it needs the right features to pull it off. I must be honest; not all women can pull off short hair.

Anyway, on to the topic once more. I believe that hairstyle represents the individual. If that individual wants to reflect their sexuality, it will show; if she wants to reflect wisdom or power, that will show too. Whether gay/lesbian or straight, each is an individual and can represent what they wish with their hair. So, to limit it based on sexuality, I can't do that. But, I believe that's one of the many reflections. For instance, I find a pixie haircut to be cute, sexy, and even artistic. But it's all in how the person works it. ; )

So that's my ramble. People are into customizing so much, I feel hair is the biggest form of customizing besides clothing. And nails, lol.

Emichiee
November 18th, 2009, 08:42 PM
This is a tough question to answer, because for the most part - I simply don't know why, I just know I like it.

You could say my hair reflects my personality, but not my sexuality. No matter if gay or straight..that would not change how I wear my hair.

As far as my personality goes...there is not many people like me..with the same interests, kind of humor, taste...so I am sure subconciously I match the way I look to my personality.
Now: everyone can be short haired ^^, but not the other way, so I choose the other way.

Furthermore..I admire like the LHCer above said, Gothic beauty...or beauty of the past, especially the middleages. When I started reenactment I was also inspired to grow my hair thinking it would look so great with my garb.

And you could say there is some curiousity involved..."how far can I push it?", I'm not out for terminal length but something that would make people gasp because its so much longer then what they know would be fun ^^...and I feel like I just reached that point.

Now that I am having ery long hair I know a few things I did not know when I was aspiring to grow it and it makes me like it even more...just that feel of having all that soft hair to style and comb and throw over my shoulder is nice.

Tyrinaniel
November 18th, 2009, 08:55 PM
You know, Emichiee, I've been called on for dressing Victorian (in a good way). Maybe some feel they can reflect their sexual preference along with their hair? The only way I would feel it would be combated is with men who are straight and like their hair long. I've seen some men go for a viking look, having long hair and a long beard. I guess it depends on what you're wanting the long hair for, then how the hair is presented.

Emichiee
November 18th, 2009, 09:17 PM
I think viking guys are not the only exception.
Metallers tend to like their hair long and can be 'dead straight'..(is that a word?^^).
So I do think sexuality plays a small part when it comes to the hairs length. Long hair does not make a man feminin automatically.

PS: Victorian style is nice, my gothic wardrobe is influenced by it ;)

Tyrinaniel
November 18th, 2009, 11:23 PM
I can agree to that. My dad was a metal head back in the day, and his hair was waist length. He actually gave me some tips, because both of us tend to have an oily scalp, which I now think is the result of a dry scalp, lol. (Glands are working too hard).

There are some men I feel look better with long hair. I guess, from the opposite direction, I feel that at times longer hair can make a man look more manly, or a woman more.. womanly. But in the end, I feel that it's the individual, not a generalization.

shadowclaw
November 18th, 2009, 11:58 PM
I am straight and a female, but I have always been somewhat tomboyish, wearing jeans and t-shirts most of the time and playing in the dirt :D I did, however, play with Barbies and My Little Ponies growing up, but I also played with Transformers and Ninja Turtles and played video games. I suppose I'm really a little of both the masculine and feminine worlds. I often dress boyish, but I do like to dress up and skirts and dresses now and then, and I believe I look much better in makeup (but I am usually too lazy to put it on). I do girly things like try on all different kinds of makeup and go shopping, but I also like activities associated with men, like camping and fishing.

Moving on to hair, I do not feel that the actual length of hair has anything to do with sexuality. I've almost always had my hair long (and only had two big chops which I regretted both times), and while I do think I look more feminine and prettier with it long than short, it doesn't really relate to my sexuality or gender. I simply find long hair to be beautiful, and since I don't find the rest of me to be beautiful, I treasure having long, beautiful hair.

I think many women looks beautiful, feminine, and sexy with pixies and bobs, and I don't think the short hair makes them masculine at all. Likewise, long hair on a man does not make him feminine. In fact, while I am not at all attracted to women, I am really attracted to men with long hair, which I think implies that I don't associate length with sexuality or gender. I simply like long hair.

However, I do think the way hair is styled can be linked to sexuality and gender. If a woman takes time to put her hair into fancy buns and braids or uses feminine hair toys, I tend to think of her as being girly and feminine. But a woman who just wears a pony tail or puts it up in a basic bun with plain hairsticks appears less feminine to me. She's not necessarily gay, but just not girly. As for men, I perceive a man who wears his hair down or in a plain pony tail or braid as being very masculine. When he starts bunning his hair or doing fancy hair styles, I begin to perceive him as being more feminine and possibly gay.

I'm not 100% sure what I hope to project with my long hair. Sometimes I want to appear elegant and feminine, like when I wear it nice updos. Sometimes when it's down, I want to say, "Hey, look at how well I've taken care of my hair. I feel proud of my accomplishment." Other times I want to say, "Hey! I'm different from all of you!" and flaunt my length amongst the short hairs. Other times I don't want to project anything and keep my hair low key.

drquartz1970
December 4th, 2009, 04:32 PM
I am a straight guy who with long hair feels more whole and complete inside then when I had short hair. I personally don't think long hair has the same sexual messages as does short hair. I simply just love having long hair for no other reason other then I feel more myself with it then without it. And I enjoy the sensuality of wearing loose hair as it blows every which way, and how it moves and bounces along when I walk downtown.

Clarisse
December 4th, 2009, 04:41 PM
I feel very feminine with long hair, but it looks sexy and masculine on the guys :D
To me, long hair is sexy and beautiful, no matter who wears it.

Shicurls
December 4th, 2009, 07:28 PM
When I chopped my hair to a very short pixie I felt free. I felt free to explore the fierce parts of my being. I am growing my hair again because part of my heritage, my soul, the sensual woman within is truncated. The fierce parts, I have discovered, are growing along with my hair!

I get hit on by men and women regardless of my hair length. So, although I am heterosexual, my hair length obviously does not broadcast my sexuality.

Bene
December 4th, 2009, 07:40 PM
When I was younger, I chopped my hair off into a lengthy pixie. I didn't think anything of it at the time, it wasn't a big deal, but I found people related differently to me. I've never been girly, but people more more likely to question my sexuality. I've had several conversations with different people in which they've hinted at me being a lesbian, in some cases they've openly asked me. This had never happened to me with longer hair. I didn't take offense to it, although from their tone of voice, they meant it as something bad. In one instance when I happened to mention my boyfriend, someone said "Boyfriend? I'm sorry, I thought you were gay".

I've also noticed that with short hair, if I asserted myself, I got accusations of being a feminist. I say "accusations" because it was always meant as a sort of pejorative.

Lia_Vaumont
December 4th, 2009, 11:09 PM
Well, when I was growing up (5-13) I was never allowed to grow my hair. Elders, school, society in general demanded that it be cut short. I started to grow my hair when I was fourteen, (knowing full well I was breaking school regulations) both as an act of rebellion, and as an expression of what I know my true self to be, which my father and the society I walk around in wanted to suppress so badly. So, now that I'm not longer in the clutches of those fiends (lol), and now that I have the freedom to grow it as long as I want to, it would be safe to say that I would equate my hair not only with my sexuality and self-image, but also my well being, or rather, on the well being of my self-perception. I feel really bad seeing myself with short hair, and I cannot even bear to think about having to cut it off (by choice or by force) or having to lose it. It also signifies freedom for me, from the restrictions of society. Psychologically speaking, long hair signifies a person's surrender to her anima, an act of surrender to nature per se. In Asian cultures, it is also said that a lady's greatest mark of beauty is her hair, so I guess it would also signify femininity. It has a lot of meanings for various cultures really, but it is that personal sense of beauty it gives us that really makes it worth keeping and caring for. Can I get an amen? Lol. ^_^ :D

Shicurls
December 5th, 2009, 06:35 PM
:cheese:Amen!:cheese:

jel
December 6th, 2009, 03:55 AM
What does my hair say to the world?
I think that my hair says that I love and accept my natural self.


This. At this stage, I feel more "me" with long hair. I used to have BSL-ish hair worn loose throughout my teens and university, and chopped it off into a short, sharp style when I got my first job. I wore it between ear and shoulder length for over 10 years, and then got bored with the image and decided that it's OK to have long hair and be a professional.

I think I was hiding a bit behind my long hair in my youth. I felt more exposed, and therefore had to become more assertive, with short hair. Now, with hair longer than ever, I wear it up 99% of the time in work situations, and have the same assertiveness - but also a warm feeling of hiding a beautiful secret :)

I have never thought of my hair, short or long, as important to my sexuality- maybe because I was never unsure of it or having to define it.


May I ask if this is actually the case? i mean does typical "gaydar" automatically reject someone with long hair? Or is that too simplistic?

Funnily enough, I had exactly 3 women come on to me in my life, every time when my hair was longer than BSL!

Bonkers57
December 6th, 2009, 07:02 AM
Amateur history geek checking in :-) Men have always worn their hair (both head and facial) in a variety of lengths until WWI/The Great War. Because of head lice and disease (by-products of living in filthy trenches), the military started shearing the heads of the recruits (and have done so ever since.) After the War, men just carried this practice into their civilian lives and it became the fashion. It is perceived as being "clean" and "well-groomed."


I've never understood the reasons why men tend to have short hair. It's only very recently in the scheme of human existence that this has been the case. In respect to that, I like to think it project that I don't really care what the social norm is at the moment. I'm going to be myself.

Upside Down
December 6th, 2009, 10:34 AM
Great topic, and some wonderful reflections in the replys :D

The topic has many layers, and I really want to give my experience and view of this, so this will be a longish post...

For me long hair is definetly exepting my femininge sexuality and myself alltogether (it is not really that long now, but I am growing determinatly :) ).

I've had all kinds of hairstyles throughout my life, partly because I liked to experiment, partly out of rebellion (7mm of hair on a girl...? that has to say something!) but partly (and I see this now, from a distance) because I was never very confident in my self immage. As i grew older and more confident I began to just grow it.
Another fact is that I always thought (and so did others) that my hair is the most beautiful thing about me. It just shaded my other physical aspects. It (was, before freaking Yasmine) very pretty thick curly hair and when I had it long people DID notice it. So I cut it short or streightened it because I wanted people to notice other things about me but partly I guess it was sabotage of myself, afraid to be noticed and wanting to be noticed all at the same time (ah, puberty).

When I had very short (very being the 7mm of hair, almost shaved) hair, I was hit on by girls. That is the only time in my life when girls hit on me. It was also about 10 yrs ago when homosexual people were not so present in the open as they are now. So, I do think that very short hair says for something. Probably it is rejecting that part of your femininity that makes you more attractive to women. I however never found myself attracted to women, and I still did wear my hair like that.

And now, I do have regrets. I regret not enjoying my hair more back when it was very curly. Because I do think it was more beautiful then than it is now.

So now I am enjoying it and loving it more than ever, even though I wish my curls came back. But I am exepting it as it is, or learning to anyway. :cheese:

As for men with long hair, I never thought of that as being feminine, because I always connected it with alternative/rock/metal subculture that I was a part of. I still do love men with long hair :D I find it a bit rough and that it makes a statement of rebelion which I find attractive.

Strongnlong
December 6th, 2009, 11:13 AM
No matter how long or short my hair is I feel womanly. Ample breasts, booty & hips ensure that :) I get approached by men & women...I think it's just the confidence I project & not something that is necessarily linked to my hair.

theboredelf
December 6th, 2009, 12:21 PM
My views on hair are a little skewed because of past experience, but I do very much associate sexuality/sensuality with hair.

The shortest my hair has been was 1/4", (not of my own will, trust me), which was in 4th grade, so I wasn't exactly getting hit on by anybody at that point. I had APL hair in junior high, and I got a lot of boys coming up to me, but girls, too. Really, really short women's hair here where I live (in rural Western PA) is often a sign that you really don't care about your hair or looks, it's not a mark of sexuality. Most of the lesbians in my circle of friends have shoulder-length hair or longer, though they do maybe keep it up or pulled back more often than not.

My hair is deeply connected to my sexuality, but I think it would be if I were bisexual or homosexual, too. For one thing, my fiance is also long-haired; combing and braiding eachother's hair is practically a form of cuddling for us. I couldn't be in a relationship with someone who didn't care about their hair, or mine, for that matter.

I've always wondered if the typical lesbian image of very short hair might be a statement against society's woman ideal, like hardcore feminists not shaving their legs, not necessarily their own preference.

QueenMadge
December 6th, 2009, 12:53 PM
When I was ten I had a forced pixie cut. I hated it because even with earrings in I was routinely mistaken for a boy. My husband on the other hand had forced long hair and was mistaken for a girl.

I loved my long hair as a little girl. I cut it very very short by choice as a young adult and had a gender confused boyfriend tell me that I looked like a boy.....now mind you the only thing "masculine" about me was my hair.......somehow the makeup, boobs and butt and girly clothing didn't speak girl to him.lol

I cut my hair back then and died the hell out of it as part of my angry young punk self. I still get the urge to cut when well and truly pissed off about any comment about my person. It is something that seems to make me more anonymous in a weird way because my thick curly hair is distinctly a signature of me. When it is long, unless it is up in a bun, it is present.

My husband loves my hair long and wild. He would not say anything negative if I chose to have it short but I know his preference is for long and wild and curly;-).

Teakafrog
December 6th, 2009, 04:39 PM
I do think my long hair is a part of my expression of femininity. I just think women look way more sexy with long hair. But I have to say, I have ALWAYS been very very attracted to long-haired guys. To the point where, if I thought a guy was hot, and he cut his hair off, I then usually didn't find him attractive anymore. Although now that I'm older, I do tend to notice hair less and less on guys, and have no problem finding short haired guys attractive. The first thing I noticed about my husband (obviously) was his long hair. Strangely, I had just cut all my hair off and it was only about chin length when we met--he has told me since that he definitely prefers it long (I never had it cut that short again).

Bonkers57
December 6th, 2009, 05:20 PM
That's my take on it. It's an accessory like shoes or earrings. Maybe that's why I've changed it so many times over the years :D


I generally go with the "it's just hair" attitude. When my hair is shorter I find ways to make it be me, it doesn't need to be long. I find long hair easier to maintain, when its shorter I need pretty regular haircuts for it to look good. And I think it looks better long...

I guess I tend to think of it as an accessory. It doesn't say anything more about me than my shoes.

bubbles_87
December 6th, 2009, 06:44 PM
I have fairly short hair right now its chin length and I feel different in a negative way. I dont feel as beautiful, sexy, or confident like I used to. I only cut my hair because of damage by the way. So I do feel that part of my identity is lost which is my confidence. I've had long hair for about 10 years from shoulder length and down to my tailbone. When I did have long hair I felt feminine and pretty and now I just feel like a boy.

When I go out with my friend who has long hair she gets hit on the most. When I cut my hair short my bf was suprised and he said "noooo you cut your hair!" and I sort of feel unattractive now. So whenever I see a long haired girl i get inspired to be patient and take care of my hair so it will be healthy and long by the end of next year!

maddog_running
December 6th, 2009, 09:15 PM
This has been a fascinating thread to read, I think I registered just so I could respond a bit to the idea that short hair is masculine and all these stories from 'tomboy' girls.

I had long hair as a child, and I asked my mother to allow me to shave my hair off when I was 5 (I had 3 brothers and they did it) I must not have been enamoured with short hair because I grew it as long as it would go until I turned 13 and went to highschool where I cut it into 2 terrible pixies and gave up on the idea of short hair because I thought I looked ugly with it.

So at 18 I had about 30 inches of blond hair that I slowly started cutting off shorter and shorter till i finally got into Uni and shortly thereafter shaved it all off, and grew a mohawk, and in 3 months shaved it off, and grew another, lather, rince, repeat, for 3 years.

Now throughout, I knew I was only lightly bisexual but really felt the need to associate myself with the queer girls who look strong and assertive and powerful in their style. I thought they looked sexy and badass and I wanted to stand out. And I did. The boys thought I was gay with my septum piercing or didn't. It didn't matter to me, I was just projecting some delight in doing something so wild and out there with my hair.

I don't think my hair is a projection of sexual or gender identity so much as another way of projecting an image that I can control just as my clothes, my posture, demeanor (and makeup although I don't know how to play with that). I wanted to be allied with the queer girls with their short androgynous hair because I thought they looked like rockstars not because I felt it made me more or less feminine. My bfs while I had long hair REALLY liked the long hair, the current one REALLY liked the Mohawk, but I felt it was time for a change and nobody kicked up too much of a fuss either way.

Juneii
December 6th, 2009, 09:54 PM
ah stereotypes. one of my friends had super long hair but she was interested in women so I never thought of short hair as a warning flag as "gay". though I look back on it, she cut her hair once she got into high school.

I think hair is more like your style, not exactly how we should judge each other on our femininity or sexuality.

I might be hypocritical, part of the reason why I want to grow my hair really long is because some old man thought I was a boy when I had my bsl hair in a pony tail. and after that I got side swept bangs.

I am rambling.

meowmeow
December 6th, 2009, 11:32 PM
I'm not sure what my hair says about my sexuality or whatnot. I mean I definitely feel sexier now that it's long. One thing I can say is that I can't imagine myself not having black curly hair. Of the times I straightened it, I didn't like it at all. It just doesn't look right.

Alun
December 7th, 2009, 11:50 PM
Amateur history geek checking in :-) Men have always worn their hair (both head and facial) in a variety of lengths until WWI/The Great War. Because of head lice and disease (by-products of living in filthy trenches), the military started shearing the heads of the recruits (and have done so ever since.) After the War, men just carried this practice into their civilian lives and it became the fashion. It is perceived as being "clean" and "well-groomed."

There is a lot of truth in this statement, but there is more. The first army to enforce male short hair was that of ancient Rome, which is quite a bit before WW1. This lead directly into Paul's letters to the Corinthians in the Bible, because he was a Roman. Roman society, like post-WW1 'Western' society, had internalised this military regulation into civilian life, and this was the direct cause of it getting into the Bible.

All the above also ties into hippie long hair, i.e. long hair as a statement of pacifism. If you have long hair as a man, it is a statement that you won't join the army and won't fight. Of course, many men have long hair for many reasons and don't see it this way.

Personally, I am not entirely a pacifist. However, I don't believe in uniformity, and would never have joined any military organisation because they are the ultimate in conformity and uniformity. Ironically, this wasn't always true. Before the Romans, being a warrior was usually linked to a wild appearance, to scare the enemy and to help the warrior get into the 'right' frame of mind, and long hair fit in well with this ethos.

Also, and this will upset some people, I don't believe in fighting on behalf of any nation state, except to defend it from imminent invasion, and for no other reason, ever. My belief is not compatible with modern concepts of military service, which require you to kill who you are told to kill, for any reason or no reason. Such a belief is also not compatible with invading any country that has not already attacked anyone else, obviously. I regard that as a deep moral wrong.

So there you have it. Male hair length and views on war and peace are inextricably linked. That may not stop the odd 'hawk' from liking long hair and growing it, but there's still a very strong subtext.

hmmm
December 8th, 2009, 01:15 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

I've had short hair all my life. I'm straight, although I've 'experimented' with women; I've also tended to have a lack of commitment in my relationships with people - not just sexual partners, also friends. I live in a country where the norm is to have longer hair, usually in a braid (not in elaborate styles or loose). I used to get really annoyed when men would tell me to grow my hair out, and the last time I cut it, I got a very short pixie because I was sick of that.
I think that I also wanted/still want to assert that it's my body/hair. I hate the way women are treated where I am, but I also hate the way they let themselves be treated that way. I hated that I was once open to those kinds of influences - people telling me how much better I look with longer hair, for instance. I wouldn't say that to a male friend, would I? Or even a female, because I just don't care that much.
The pixie was to create some sort of reaction to me (which definitely happened, in lots of less than pleasant ways), to get people to feel that their ideas about female beauty were misplaced, or at least think about it. Even if they didn't think about it, I wanted them to be made aware of it, perhaps by making them uncomfortable even. I found it interesting that the more 'modern', younger women liked my hair and thought it was 'gutsy' (their words). But the more conventional and apologetic (albeit trying to pull off the 'modern' tag) were outraged and told me that I looked like a boy and that they didn't know why I would do such a thing. They were even threatened and kept telling me that they loved their hair (eh?).

I'm growing it out now because I think I did what I could, hair-wise, to say what I wanted. Plus I'd like to make my peace with my hair and finally grow it beyond collarbone length.
My present bf hasn't been unsupportive in the least; I think he's been equally enthusiastic about the pixie as well as the longer hair I've had. However my last two bfs wanted me to grow it, and it caused a lot of resentment (which I think built up to the final chop).

Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

Definitely. I think everyone does it, although it depends on the context. Where I live, it would mean something else for a woman to have long hair (traditional, very probably from a patriarchal family), while in a society where the norm is to have shorter hair it might be different - although I'm not sure how.

angelakeats
December 8th, 2009, 01:31 PM
Feralnature
re: Queer
I'm not sure it is a regional thing.
I live in the arctic and am aware of terminology which people prefer to use to represent themselves, if they choose to use a term at all (not everyone wants to be classified by gender or sexuality).
It's ok if you have never heard the term used in a positive way.
Simply send an email to the poster and ask, it's how we learn, from each other :)

Kind regards,
Me

oops, need to post something relevant.

I feel less sexy with my hair growing out. I am used to having a sleek and updated look all the time. Now I have this nest of hair that I am eager to tidy up but am afraid to cut. I have no idea how to style it and I feel gross. I felt sexier with my hair shorter.
I had super short hair for a long time but got bored, now I am bored again but I do want longer hair for the ease of throwing up in a bun or something.

I don't feel more 'womanly' because of hair length. Whatever womanly is supposed to be anyway, i dunno.....

lapushka
December 8th, 2009, 02:43 PM
How do you feel your hair is related to your gender or your sexuality? How does your hair REFLECT your INNER sense of self? How does it PROJECT what you want to say to the world (or just your partner)?

To me, from a gender standpoint, it shouldn't have to matter whether or not my hair is short or long, blond, brown, red, black, curly, straight,... whatever. In that respect, to me, it's only hair. Why does it have to matter? Why should the two be related? Do I feel differently with long hair than I would with a buzz-cut? No. I have had both and many styles in between. I have never attached that much importance to it. My hair doesn't define me. It never has. Other people, sadly, think that it does and that appearance is something you control on purpose (sometimes, for example in times of sickness... you don't or can't). They think it's all part of the way you present yourself to others, to the outside world. Reality check. Some people just don't attach that much importance to hair or looks. I'm not talking about basic hygiene and basic presentability here. Maybe better said: I feel that my hair, the way it's styled or looks, or my appearance shouldn't have to define me. Why can't people look beyond these things? Some can, others can't. I suppose that says a lot about other people too.


My sexuality is on the queer spectrum (my current partner is a woman) and I've always felt my hair was very much related to that. First of all, when I started thinking I might be gay many years ago, one of the first things I thought about was the fact that I'd had boy-short hair growing up. Did that mean something? (I don't think so anymore, but interesting that was instantly the first thing I thought about.) When I started dating my first girlfriend at age 14, I cut my (already short) hair even shorter because she had short hair, too. I thought that's just what queer girls did, after all, we'd seen Ani DiFranco's early 1990s album covers. Only years later do I look back and realize my girlfriend's short hair was part of who she was overall: sort of gender androgynous and not really stereotypically feminine. I have always felt I was pretty gender normatively presenting, but for some reason I've felt that long hair would eclipse some of the important parts of my identity to the world, and I didn't want that. Through college, I'd had hair around shoulder length.

My current partner buzzed her hair off when she came out at 21. Her hair grows insanely fast, and now at 24, she has thick red curls that reach the middle of her back. It's so interesting to me that women would hit on her when she had a buzzed head--it was announcing her sexuality to the world, in a way. That's what she wanted. Now, people (mostly men) stop her in the grocery store and even street to tell her how much they love her hair. It's changed how people perceive her gender and her sexuality.

This is sort of rambly, but what do my stories make you think of about yourself? Have you ever felt that your hair was tied to your idenity in these or other ways? Do you think that you read people differently based on their hair? Tell, tell.

Other people seem to attach more importance to hair than I do. Yes, of course, it matters to me whether it looks nice or not. That's not the key issue. Other people seem to attach more importance to hair as far as personality, identity, gender and sexuality go. I hate that. That's why at various points in my life, I have shocked people by changing hairstyles drastically, taking this discovery about the world out on my hair and looks (mostly during puberty), experimenting to see if people would start treating me differently. They invariably did. I have had long hair and the sudden attention of men (when my hair grew up to a certain length there they were). I have had short hair and the attention of women. This has been my experience too. Is hair that much of a statement? I have at times felt so angry that people would only look at the outer shell and reach quick conclusions about me.

wackyredtangles
December 8th, 2009, 02:56 PM
This is such an interesting topic!

For me hair is very related to sexuality (straight) and my inner sense of femininity. I've had long hair off and on through life, but rarely shorter than BSL. I don't consider myself particularly attractive, except for my hair. Its long, wavy, thick, and I'm a natural redhead (well, its gotten darker as I've gotten older, but its still red!). Whenever I wear it down I receive compliments. Its almost as if I have this arsenal of beauty around just for me. I don't wear it down often, but even when its up its just right there, and I know I could take it down. Also, I like that not many people see me with my hair down since I wear it up or in a braid most days. It makes it special.

Also, interesting story. After my first serious boyfriend broke up with me I decided to cut my hair. Not alot, just a few inches, but lots of layers. Because my hair is so thick and heavy it gave me a different look. Fast forward about a year, and boyfriend and I had a bit of a fling. (I didn't know it was just a fling, but that's a different story.) I specifically remember thinking right then "I wish I'd kept my hair long".

Another slightly funny hair story. The last few months I've been doing substitute teaching in Sudan. Usually its for a teacher who will be out for a week or so for professional development, and I sit in on the class for a few periods. I was in a middle school class where girls were passing notes. I confiscated their note and read it. It said something along the lines of "her face is not beautiful, but her hair is very beautiful. So soft and shiny like a princess".

I also love having my hair touched and played with, by certain people. I keep on trying to get BF to learn to braid, and its a no go. =)

alys
December 9th, 2009, 10:42 AM
Awesome thread here! Some intereting replies too :) What a buncha smarties we have here!!

Personally, I don't let the minutia of physicalities become reasons or indicators for self-worth or inner-self identification. Yes, great hair is beautiful long or short, and caring for yourself in any way is certainly healthy and productive. But, (in my opinion of course), why should I let anything on the outside of my body affect how I feel about my personality, my morale and self-worth? Eventually we all die. I favor actions over appearance for self-worth determination factors. Will the homeless kids like me all the better this X-mas when I drop off presents at the mission if my hair is longer? Shorter? Red? Blue? Healthy or damaged? Will my DH benefit from my hairstyle or my listening skills? But alas, I typically don't provide the normal or status quo answers to these types of questions. BUT - if you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover why would you want others doing that very thing to you, based on your hair, weight, or whatever else...