PDA

View Full Version : "The Makeover Guy": long hair ok for older women, but must be put up?



Amara
September 21st, 2008, 03:57 PM
While shelving, I saw this book and opened it to the hair part to look at hair pics, like I always like to do, sometimes there are pretty updos in books!

This is a new spin on the "women over __ must cut their hair" thing, I guess. He says older women can have long hair "if they must" (!?) but they need to put it up or pull it back to look age appropriate and attractive.

I've heard lots of people say on the board that this attitude is pervasive. What's the root cause of it in our culture? Other cultures are different... but I don't think many cultural attitudes are without some sort of basis (not that the basis makes sense, or is good or right, mind you, but that there is some sort of basis i.e. they don't just appear out of nowhere). So what caused this?

lapushka
September 21st, 2008, 04:15 PM
Hey, think of it this way... it's obviously just his opinion. Who says there are hair-rules, anyway?

Amara
September 21st, 2008, 04:27 PM
Well, it's a lot of people's opinion, from all the people on this board that have run into it. I'm wondering what the root (haha) cause of it may have been, when in other cultures it's the opposite?

Anje
September 21st, 2008, 04:31 PM
I suspect that attitude goes way, way back.

I don't have any sources, but I've heard that even in the middle ages in Europe, loose hair was something associated with young girls and maidens. Married women normally wore their hair up, and often covered.

If nothing else, wearing hair up definitely helps keep damp infant hands from pulling it, which might be a practical explanation for the tendency.

lapushka
September 21st, 2008, 04:44 PM
I don't have any sources, but I've heard that even in the middle ages in Europe, loose hair was something associated with young girls and maidens. Married women normally wore their hair up, and often covered.

If nothing else, wearing hair up definitely helps keep damp infant hands from pulling it, which might be a practical explanation for the tendency.

Great explanation, Anje. Married women had lots of chores, a house to run, laundry to do (hard labor in those days). I imagine that would be hard to do with your hair down. Lots of tough responsibilities came with marriage then, for women at least. Nowadays snipping it is a lot simpler, apparently, for lots of women... or wearing it up.

I still don't get why a man should express himself over a woman's hair, not like that anyway. All those opinions... all those "hair-rules" that supposedly exist. I'm probably not aware of most, but I do know that it's MY hair, dammit!

Amara
September 21st, 2008, 04:45 PM
I was thinking maybe something like that, too... the older you get, the more you're able to do harder work, like more intensive physical labor where hair would get in the way or be dangerous, and taking care of kids certainly qualifies as intensive physical labor. :D

Do we see a tendency for older women past working/childbearing age to once again allow their hair to grow long, though? That would make sense...

lapushka
September 21st, 2008, 05:30 PM
My grandma on my mom's side had 10 children, 8 of which were live births. Only when her 10 grandchildren were bigger did she start to grow her hair long. By then she had whispy white hair, it was beautiful! Her eldest daughter (my mom) criticised her for it, she was the only one who hated the white bun she started to wear. It didn't last though, I felt my mom pressured her mother lots and in the end, I felt, grandma gave in. She was really sad not getting support from her daughter, I saw that pretty clearly. She'd also always worn it short and she wasn't used to longer hair... and mom didn't give her a chance, which I never understood. Thought it was harsh & cold of her not to support her mother. It's just hair, I thought back then. Now I understand how important it can be to some people, although I'll never understand my mom's side in this. She has long hair now herself (BSL).

Teazel
September 21st, 2008, 05:50 PM
Going away back to our roots.... Is it that long, luxuriant hair is a sign of robust health in a fertile young woman? Perhaps once you are past the childbearing years it's seen as more appropriate to put your "peacock tail" away and appear more dignified and hardworking. Just a thought.

I know that when I played with Taaz all the flowing locks looked absolutely ridiculous on me - like I was in drag, as I said at the time. This was not always the case. :(

spidermom
September 21st, 2008, 05:56 PM
Friends tell me that in Mexican traditional culture, only young children can wear their hair long and loose. At 15 it must be braided or bunned or cut.

Lady Godiva
September 21st, 2008, 05:57 PM
I think mainstream western society is threatened when older women - however that gets defined - are actually comfortable in their skin and enjoy exerting their feminine sensuality, especially when that includes letting their hair grow long and leaving it down and loose in public, all shiny and healthy in its glory. It's viewed as thumbing their noses at convention and refusing to conform. Tut tut, that's not allowed. I mean, what's next then? They might disrobe then!! OMG!!!1!1!! We must control them!!11!!1 :hatchet:

It's part of a larger discomfort society has when older women refuse to be less sexual than they were as younger women (regardless of hair length, but hair can be such a visible demonstration of physical health). There's a huge, enormous expectation for older women to "age graciously," meaning curb their various types of personal appeal, quiet down, and take a back seat to the next generation. Hence, criticism and judgmentalism and criticism fly, and often they get admonished for "trying to look younger than they are" or "trying to recapture their lost youths" or "trying to be a teenager again" or "more blah blah crap" - as if any of that is 1) wrong at all with or 2) anyone else's business in the first place. :rolleyes:

MadHatter
September 21st, 2008, 06:42 PM
I think LG put it perfectly.
And you know, when I'm "older" I'm most likely going to keep my hair long (I will cut ONLY if my tastes change). I'll swish my locks in the face of convention, lol, and turn heads.

lynnala
September 21st, 2008, 06:53 PM
That's why it's up to all of us to change the outlook of "society"! Perhaps one day in the future the pervasive opinion will be that short hair on "mature" women makes them look old!:D

Teazel
September 21st, 2008, 06:57 PM
Yeah, what LG said. :rockerdud

At 43 I'm finally at home in my body, I know what to do with it and enjoy... errr... doing it. Ain't no way I'm ready for my rocking chair. And if I want to let my hair down, I will.

darkwaves
September 21st, 2008, 06:59 PM
Is this mainly a North American thing?

I remember someone on the boards saying that (in Italy?) women of all ages enjoy and wear their lovely long hair loose.

FrannyG
September 21st, 2008, 07:02 PM
That's why it's up to all of us to change the outlook of "society"! Perhaps one day in the future the pervasive opinion will be that short hair on "mature" women makes them look old!:D

That's my philosophy in a nutshell, Lynnala! :)

spidermom
September 21st, 2008, 07:12 PM
Is this mainly a North American thing?

I remember someone on the boards saying that (in Italy?) women of all ages enjoy and wear their lovely long hair loose.

Not just North America. It's all over, I think. Older women in India wear their hair contained, don't they? And Mexico, as I mentioned earlier. Thailand. Japan. It seems to me there are a number of countries/cultures where older women are expected to bind their hair or cut it.

renarok
September 21st, 2008, 07:17 PM
I sometimes feel the prejudice myself, and it has come most often from a friend. She recently cut her lovely APL length to about 2 to 3 inches all over. I liked it better longer, but it is her hair and IMHO whatever makes you happy is fine with me. So when she went on and on about how much easier it was, and how she no longer has to fight the dreaded 16/60..........The what????? She explained; you know...."when you look 16 from the back and 60 from the front."

I was offended. My hair is significantly longer than hers ever was, so was she hinting that I am somehow trying to portray myself as younger than I am? I love my age. Wouldn't want to go back in time for anything.

I hope I haven't ranted too much off topic here, but I really don't like these so called rules of proper hair lengths for age length. If the rule is the older you are the shorter you should wear your hair, then we would have a lot of old ladies with buzz cuts running around.

dorothea-brooke
September 21st, 2008, 07:31 PM
<snip> So when she went on and on about how much easier it was, and how she no longer has to fight the dreaded 16/60..........The what????? She explained; you know...."when you look 16 from the back and 60 from the front."
<snip>

Wow, I don't understand your friend's logic at all! First and most importantly, what the heck is wrong with looking 60???

But given that she seems to think that looking 60 is undesirable, why would she want to look 60 from both directions?

:ponder:

Lamb
September 21st, 2008, 09:00 PM
But given that she seems to think that looking 60 is undesirable, why would she want to look 60 from both directions?

:ponder:

:rollin: Very good question, dorothea!

Joking aside, I kinda understand why middle-aged (or older) women feel the need to wear more put-together, contained hairstyles. I don't think it's only societal pressure. Updos and short styles carry an air of maturity and a settled, organized mind and sense of style, which many women are trying to assume at a certain age, some sooner, some later. It's like the "wear-your-hair-up-in-the-office" mentality. Not a bad thing in itself, if it is in harmony with the woman's personality.
However, it is obvious that nobody should cut their hair or start wearing it up when they don't feel like it, just to please some fashion-guru.

Dolly
September 21st, 2008, 09:15 PM
I'm going to wear mine as long as I darned well please until I'm not happy with it anymore! The same goes for the color (which I have received NUMEROUS comments about) and whatever style I decide to wear it in!

The other day when I was running errands around town with that mass of curls in my avatar, I had an older friend of mine tell me that she thinks I look better with straight hair, because the curls just look too wild (she's not fond of the messy look). So, what did I do? I made it a point to go over to her house 2 more times that day, tossing my curls around in her face. I know, it's kind of childish, but it's a respect thing. I did NOT ask her opinion or permission to curl my hair, and unsolicited opinions are one of my big pet peeves.

Slug Yoga
September 21st, 2008, 09:16 PM
Wow, I don't understand your friend's logic at all! First and most importantly, what the heck is wrong with looking 60???

But given that she seems to think that looking 60 is undesirable, why would she want to look 60 from both directions?

:ponder:

LOL! Good point.

I don't think she necessarily meant it as a dig at you, renarok, although I can certainly see why you'd be offended... I think sometimes people get self-conscious about how certain things would look or reflect on them, without necessarily passing the same judgment on someone else, if that makes sense. Or at least, I know that I judge myself more critically than I would another person, and while certain things are "not for me" fashion-wise, I might not mind it at all on another person.

Amara
September 21st, 2008, 09:56 PM
You know, this makes me think of some awesome nonfiction articles by Ursula K LeGuin - specifically, an article from "Dancing at the Edge of the World" about menopause. Good stuff, should anyone wish to read about a very opinionated woman's thoughts on menopause and it's meaning and acknowledgement (or lack thereof) in society.

IE If aliens come somebody and wish to speak to one human to better understand our race and circumstance, she says we'd probably want to send some young male harvard grad. Really, she says we should go down to the local department store and find a grandma working at the perfume counter. Hee.

Carolyn
September 21st, 2008, 10:34 PM
Hey, think of it this way... it's obviously just his opinion. Who says there are hair-rules, anyway?Aren't rules made to be broken? :p

rapunzhell13
September 21st, 2008, 11:07 PM
This sort of thing makes me want to grow my hair super long in preparation for when I'm supposedly 'old'. Not sure I'll wear it down a whole lot, but there are a lot of funky toys for up-dos to be had. :p I'm always drawn to going against the grain, so I'm actually sort of glad most people have the opinion that it should be cut or contained. :cool:

DMARTINEZ
September 21st, 2008, 11:32 PM
I think you should wear your hair in the way that makes you happy. I myself never wear
mine loose. I just dont feel attractive with it loose. I feel more pulled together this way.
Each to their own! ;)


Deb

ilovelonghair
September 22nd, 2008, 12:01 AM
Is this mainly a North American thing?



It's kind of a western thing, I've seen it in Europe (but it's changing) and I heard that it was the case here in Australia as well, but that's changing too.
Another thing I heard is that when short hair cuts came into fashion, the 'putting hair up after marriage' became 'cutting off hair'. And later it some sort of morphed into cutting it off at 30 or when people got kids.

I don't know if anyone noticed, but in many cultures women did not wear their hair down, it always had to be put up.
I don't think men had these restrictions with their hair (before men all over the world started wearing it short)

AJO8
September 22nd, 2008, 02:36 AM
I think this topic should be seen as the live and let live category.
I personally would rather see long well cared for and perhaps intricately styled hair on an older woman than short, coloured, permed hair-thats just my opinion though.

Arctic_Mama
September 22nd, 2008, 02:52 AM
Going away back to our roots.... Is it that long, luxuriant hair is a sign of robust health in a fertile young woman? Perhaps once you are past the childbearing years it's seen as more appropriate to put your "peacock tail" away and appear more dignified and hardworking. Just a thought.

I know that when I played with Taaz all the flowing locks looked absolutely ridiculous on me - like I was in drag, as I said at the time. This was not always the case. :(

Yeah, in a lot of cultures hair is seen as powerfully feminine and sexual, a sign of fertility and youth. In fine puritanical tradition when one becomes married such displays are only for the private enjoyment of the couple, it is untoward for 'a woman's glory' to be let loose around strangers or other men, and is generally seen as vanity.




Or that's been my understanding of it, anyway! As a fundamentalist Christian I can say pretty confidently some of these principles are still alive and well today in 'modest dress' principles. I figure as long as it works for the individual or couple it's all good, but when random stylists and strangers start imposing their ideas on the subject on another that is when I start taking exception.

Curlsgirl
September 22nd, 2008, 07:08 AM
I am 49 and I get a lot of compliments when I wear my hair down as opposed to updos. I don't have any intention of ever stopping either. Rules are MADE to be broken hmmmppphfffff!!! 16/60 rule? :rant:

liseling
September 22nd, 2008, 08:02 AM
Yeah, in a lot of cultures hair is seen as powerfully feminine and sexual, a sign of fertility and youth. In fine puritanical tradition when one becomes married such displays are only for the private enjoyment of the couple, it is untoward for 'a woman's glory' to be let loose around strangers or other men, and is generally seen as vanity.

Yes, this symbolism is what was behind the medieval scenario that Anje mentioned near the beginning of this thread. Women were expected to put their hair up and cover it once they were married, and never show it in public. Young 'maidens' (i.e unmarried and most importantly, virgins) were allowed to show their hair, but I think that they still rarely had it actually down, unless they were very young girls that hadnt hit puberty yet.
The idea had nothing to do with practicality - long hair (women never cut their hair back then unless they were in mourning) was symbolic of the woman's sexuality, and a woman's sexuality became the property of her husband when she was married. So young maidens could leave theirs uncovered as long as they avoided flaunting it and giving her (and more importantly her father, as her guardian until marriage) a bad name, whereas a married woman showing her hair in public was dishonoring her husband by uncovering a very private thing that belonged to him.
It was a very gender-divided world back then and very patriarchal - at least in western societies. Women were always seen as being associated with - if not owned by - one man or another throughout their lives. By their fathers before they were married and later by their husbands after they were married. They could not exist on their own. I cant remember the exact dates, but it wasnt till maybe 150 or 200 years ago that women were allowed to own or inherit property, and then only in the absense of a surviving male reletive. If a man died his property would go to another man in his family and then that man had the responsibility of taking care of the dead man's widow.
These ideas of ownership and patriarchy in western societies (with the symbolism of hair equaling womens' sexuality included) have their roots in judeo-christianity and were well established several hundred centuries BC. So any culture that has its roots in that religious tradition will probably show remains of these beliefs even today.
It's slow going, even thousands of years after the inception of these ideas, eh?

Miss Hidley
September 22nd, 2008, 08:55 AM
I figure as long as it works for the individual or couple it's all good, but when random stylists and strangers start imposing their ideas on the subject on another that is when I start taking exception.
Yes that attitutde in general is one of my pet peeves actually and it brings out the stubborn rebel in me! Its my hair and I'll wear it as I please!! Its not doing anyone else any harm!:p


Yeah, what LG said. :rockerdud

At 43 I'm finally at home in my body, I know what to do with it and enjoy... errr... doing it. Ain't no way I'm ready for my rocking chair. And if I want to let my hair down, I will.

Actually I once had a neighbour with extremely long hair- she was at least 90 and had long white hair down to her hips which stayed that way til the day she died. She used to wear it up mostly, but even having long hair at all is so unusual for older women in Australia that me and my sister were fascinated with her. I dont think it seemed indecent or sexual on her though, it just made her seem like a grandmotherly figure from a fairytale...

Lamb
September 22nd, 2008, 10:33 AM
Just remembered something. The Hungarian word for "bareheaded", hajadonfőtt/hajadonfővel, means something like "maidenheaded" or "with head like a maiden's". :) Quite neat, isn't it? And they actually use it for the uncovered heads of both men and women.

Katze
September 22nd, 2008, 10:35 AM
Was just talking with a longhaired friend about this yesterday. A. is 43, doesn't look it, dresses like a bikeriding scientist (which she is), in other words very casually, and has tailbone-length, straight, fine, shiny brown hair. She also wears it down at least half the time, the rest of the time she has it in a ponytail. The overall look is of health and youth, though she is over 40.

We were at an event where there were a lot of freaks, and were checking out hair. A. mentioned that a colleague asked her if she'll cut her hair soon, and that her mom is constantly nagging her to cut it off so it's 'age appropriate'. So I started teasing her about a 'poodle cut', or bleaching and spiking it. We discussed the tendency of women 'of a certain age' here to dye their hair magenta and wear it short and spiky with lots of product - a look I still haven't gotten used to.

Anyway A. and I are both committed to being 'age inappropriate' - she with her 'freakishly long' hair and me with my messy, two-toned, not-bleached hair colored hair. Some day, I hope, it will be silver and down past my waist. I want to look like a witch.

(Capitalist) Society loves taking womens' power away - it makes it easier for them to sell us things. Hair dye, gel, salon visits are just part of that.

Kayleena
October 22nd, 2008, 02:48 AM
Quote from renarok: "…she no longer has to fight the dreaded 16/60..........The what????? She explained; ‘you know....when you look 16 from the back and 60 from the front.’ "
Quote from dorothea-brooke: “…given that she seems to think that looking 60 is undesirable, why would she want to look 60 from both directions?”
:rollin:

Quote from lynnala: “…it's up to all of us to change the outlook of ‘society’ "!...”
Quote from Miss Hidley: “…Its my hair and I'll wear it as I please!! Its not doing anyone else any harm!”
To both quotes -- "Hear, hear!" :bottomsup:

Amara, I have always understood the “over -- age” rule to mean that long hair had to be worn up *or* cut. In fact, I’ve often wondered if the trend in the 1920’s started because some women were looking for a “shortcut” (please pardon the pun) to putting up their hair. When I was still in my 20’s and seeking hairstyle directions, I had come across a book that said something very similar to what you read. I always knew that I did *not* want to follow that directive, because I feel prettier when my hair is down, even though I sometimes have to work to get it to look good.

I often get confused with two conflicting opinions in society: some people think long hair is plain while others think it is vain. The only difference I see is in how the hair is styled. Isn’t there both plain and styled shorter hair, too? After reasoning through this, I think now that the “rule” in society today is now more for fashion {which I see as optional, not required, to follow} than anything else. I don’t want to be perceived as a rebel, but OTOH, I don’t want people to think they can control me, either. I guess having long hair is one way for me to show that.

Áine
October 22nd, 2008, 01:54 PM
Women do not stop being sexual/sensuous beings when menopause hits, therefore I support the notion that women of any older age should be able to enjoy the beauty of having long hair. Afterall, well-groomed hair is one of the natural adornments that we humans have, it isn't fair to coerce people into set rules about what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

CryssieWillow
October 22nd, 2008, 01:59 PM
I think short hair makes you look older.
Look at Audrey Tatou. She is 30 and now she cut her hair she looks 40. But best example is my mom who has long hair and looks about 20 years younger then her sisters.

Nothing wrong with looking 40 btw. Or any age.

Fencai
October 22nd, 2008, 02:17 PM
I dont get it either.
I havent spoken to my mother in about 4 years, so Im not sure what her current state of hair is, but i know that when she was younger, in her early 20's she had waist length hair. She got really sick and went into the hospital. While she was in there, her mother chopped it to a pixie.
She kept it relatively short for about the next 20 years.
then she started to let it grow, and grew it waist length again, but it was unhealthy. She wore it up in different buns.
Then she and my dad split and met a different guy and had it chopped into the over-permed over processed colored just above the shoulders do.
her long hair suited her much more.

Men shouldnt impose their hair ideas on women. Fortunatley, my DH likes both short and long hair. He says its cool that I change my style to what I want and never ask his opinion. :)

ravenreed
October 23rd, 2008, 07:24 AM
I intend to keep doing crazy stuff to my hair 'til the day I die. If I can't keep it long, it will still be freaky colors. I am noticing that as my hair gets more greys peaking in that the dye is brighter and more intense. Should be fun later on.

My mom is 60+ and to her great sadness, her hair is short and thin. If she had her way it would be long and full like mine!

I know several women over 50 with long flowing hair, they wear it down for the most part and they look awesome. The one exception is my girlfriend who is a "handy person." I am fairly sure she puts hers up at work. =P

ktani
October 23rd, 2008, 10:09 AM
From what I have read, a woman wearing her hair up is a cultural imperative that is about the fashion of a particular era. It has been seen as a right of passage, from girl to woman, from woman to older woman. It is part of the social acceptance of a specific society.

I rememmber reading author Germaine Greer, writing about travelling through Europe alone. She was viewed with suspicion in places, until she started to put her hair up, then she was seen differently, more respectfully. She was I believe in her late 30's, early 40's when this happened.

arylkin
October 23rd, 2008, 10:31 AM
A. mentioned that a colleague asked her if she'll cut her hair soon, and that her mom is constantly nagging her to cut it off so it's 'age appropriate'. So I started teasing her about a 'poodle cut', or bleaching and spiking it. We discussed the tendency of women 'of a certain age' here to dye their hair magenta and wear it short and spiky with lots of product - a look I still haven't gotten used to.



I know- my stepmother has that exact cut (magenta and spiky). It is not flattering.

baobhan sith
October 23rd, 2008, 01:07 PM
Whaaat?
Logically to me, that makes no sense...
I want to have loooonnng long hair when i'm old! I think it looks amazing!
And incidentally, on the 16/60 thing... i think the japanese have a word for something similar. Looks great from the back but the fronts a disapointment.. or something to that effect!

If you're older, a lot of your beauty tends to fade. The main bit's left are your eyes and your hair, so why on earth would you not want to make the most of them?! If your hair thins with age.. surely there would be some updo that if it was long would make it still look great, or just have it down!

It makes more sense to me for kids to have short hair - no more arguments over combing/brushing, them not, tangles and it getting dirty from them playing with it constantly!

Why should anyone care if you're not "appropriate" for your age group? A lot of people think i'm not, just because most teenage girls are dying and frying and just generally destroying their hair regularly, with lots of products and frequent cuts into new styles. heh, cheaper my way :)

There seems to be a common trend towards people thinking only the young can be beautiful, and so, if long hair's so beautiful and sexy (admit it, we all think it's gorgeous!) older wo(men) shouldn't have it.

People should be allowed to follow their own style and not care what others think, without being criticised for it!