View Full Version : Being Indian, Long Hair, diminished "wow" factor

June 9th, 2010, 02:58 PM
Hi all,

This is a weird thing for me to admit, please bear with me.

Part of what I love about having long hair is the *thud* or *wow* factor, that is, having something that is both unusual and luxurious in a sense. That being said, I'm Indian and long hair is pretty common or at least expected for girls. Granted, it is becoming much less prevalent, and more girls are straightening their hair and having it no longer than BSL, and many more are taking it up to bobs or even shorter. However, when one thinks of a "typical" Indian girl, the image is always that of long hair.

I was once chatting with a (non Indian) woman on a plane and told her that I was growing my hair down to my hips, and she asked if it was for cultural reasons. I told her it wasn't, and that is the truth. My mother has had short hair since she was quite young and unless you are a Sikh and refuse to cut for religious reasons, the cultural insistence on long hair isn't so prevalent anymore, at least among the Indians in the US. Yet, the expectation is still there.

What I am getting at is, since long hair is still expected of Indian girls, does this diminish how striking long hair is on me? I realize this is a silly thing to worry about, but sometimes I feel like having long hair makes me look a bit ordinary, even though compared to the general population, few people have hair like mine.

Feel free to give me a kick in the pants for worrying about something so inconsequential:p

Beatnik Guy
June 9th, 2010, 03:09 PM
No, the wow factor is not diminished. :)

June 9th, 2010, 03:14 PM
long hair is certainly a big WOOOOOOWWWWWW :) I'm a boy - and I'm growing my hair out - and I'm lovin it so far !:)

June 9th, 2010, 03:17 PM
Well I admit that most Indian girls I've seen had a very nice long thick black shiny braid, but it looks beautiful, even if I'd see 100 of those :D

June 9th, 2010, 03:26 PM
The wow factor is not diminished at all. The perceived cultural expectation for long hair makes it no less striking.

June 9th, 2010, 03:26 PM
Long hair on Indian women definitely doesn't diminish the "wow" for me. I've seen several Indian women with waist length hair, or longer, but far more that have it kept in a short trendy style. (I live in Canada, and I am referring to East Indian women) Anyone I see with tailbone length, or longer, hair is met with stares of wonder by me, I just can't help myself. I had a Indian friend with classic length hair and everytime I saw her all I could do was stare, admittedly trying to be the least obvious I could..LOL.

Another thing is that Indian hair is so gorgeous when it gets long that the WOW factor is even more obvious to me.

June 9th, 2010, 03:59 PM
I love spotting long hair, and the fact that it's on Indian women and possibly more common, that doesn't diminish the wow factor at all.

It's all beautiful :D

June 9th, 2010, 04:12 PM
For me, if there were 10 people in front of me, and 9 of them had long hair, I'd be more wow'ed by the long hair. I love long hair for itself, not because it's different or uncommon.

June 9th, 2010, 04:13 PM
Indian hair is my favourite kind of hair!

OK, I know that I'm generalising, but it does tend to be the most thick, glossy, shiny, strong-looking hair of all!

The fact that lots of Indian ladies have long hair just makes their long hair even more lovely, in my opinion. But I know what you mean about wanting to stand out.

June 9th, 2010, 04:43 PM
I only know one Indian girl my age around here, and she is beautiful and has hair about APL.

I know a couple Indian ladies who are doctors at the hospital where I work. They both have bobs.

June 9th, 2010, 04:47 PM
indian or not women with long hair look more beautiful than the ones with shorter hair!

June 9th, 2010, 05:38 PM
No, I personally think Indian hair is especially beautiful and the wow factor is certainly not diminished at all.

June 9th, 2010, 05:40 PM
I experience a major wow factor when I see an Indian woman with long hair.

I have several Indian women students, and most of them have shortish hair. The longest is BSL.

June 9th, 2010, 06:01 PM
I don't think so at all. My dad's from India, but where I live there aren't a whole lot of Indian girls around, and really a lot of them don't have very long hair. Maybe shoulder or APL. The women I do know with long hair are typically older, and it's almost always up so it's hard to tell how long it is, anyway. Now, it might be different if you're actually in India.

I think beautiful long hair is beautiful long hair, no matter how often you see it. :)

June 9th, 2010, 06:12 PM
I dont think your long beautiful hair could be diminished because it is expected. Obviously like you mentioned many people are keeping their hair shorter. I would just think it would make you stand out more among those because you are keeping it long because you like it that way.

June 10th, 2010, 09:00 AM
I always WOW at super-long hair on Indian girls and women. I knew a couple of girls back in junior college, one was Punjabi, another was Gujarati and I think there was also a Sindhi girl, and they all had classic-to-thigh-length, straight, thick and pale-black (I can't think of a word to describe their hair...black, yet light?). The other Indian girls used to tease those long-haired girls and called them village farm girls for keeping their hair so long and austerely braided, but I would infinitely prefer my friends' luxurious lengths than the 'trendier' cuts the other girls had.

June 10th, 2010, 09:05 AM
I don't think it is diminished at all. Even if you may feel like it's "expected" for Indian girls to have long hair, it doesn't make the hair any less thud-worthy! :flower:

June 10th, 2010, 09:09 AM
One of the things that I love about the area I live in is that there are many Indian women with beautiful long braids. I love seeing them and I never get tired of it, so the "wow" factor is definitely not diminished. Beautiful hair is beautiful hair. :flowers:

June 10th, 2010, 09:17 AM
I think Indian hair is beautiful, but I feel that, even more important, it needs to look healthy and well cared for.

It is so gorgeous to see :thud: worthy hair that is long, shiny, and healthy. I don't care if someone has hair 10 feet long; if it's not healthy looking, the wow factor goes down.

Just my opinion, though :shrug:

June 10th, 2010, 09:20 AM
I think it is perhaps slightly more expected even though I have never though of it before. But pretty hair is pretty hair and if somebody likes long black hair they would like yours regardless of how many other women had it.

If you mean wow factor as in REALLY standing out, that is going to depend a lot on where you live I'm sure.

June 10th, 2010, 09:28 AM
No, the wow factor will always be there, even if there is an element of expectation.

The only thing that is likely to change is the increased disappointment factor when seeing people one expects to have luxuriant hair who turn out not to!

June 10th, 2010, 09:34 AM
No, I personally think Indian hair is especially beautiful

I agree ! All my life I have been sooo envious of Indian hair.

June 10th, 2010, 09:44 AM
The wow factor is not dimished, even if it is common. Even when I go to India, I will still admire healthy long hair, even though I expect to see it more often than I do in the US.

June 10th, 2010, 10:03 AM
Indian long hair is amazingly gorgeous, and I can't wait to see you hair at hip length!

That said, I understand what you are saying. In a thread about "What is the longest hair you've ever seen IRL" I remember (with a bit of embarrassment about how ignorant it sounds) writing "Other than Indian ladies, the longest hair I've ever seen IRL is..." as if being Indian makes it not count or something.

I also want long hair in part for the "wow" factor. Not so much for other people to see it, but for myself to have a little 'secret' all my own.

June 10th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Even if it's more common, it's beautiful! :D

June 10th, 2010, 11:20 AM
Thanks so much for all of your support!

Joiekimochi: "pale black" what an apt way to put it! Those girls sound really rude though. I hate it when people talk about this divide between "traditional" and "western" or "white washed" Indian girls. There are such insulting stereotypes on both sides. The traditional ones are old fashioned, submissive, and closed-minded, and the western ones are rebellious, self-loathing, and promiscuous, especially with non-Indians. Ugh, but that's a whole other post.

Another thing that many of you seem to be emphasizing is the health, which definitely puts it in perspective. As long as it is well cared for and long, then there is no reason why it shouldn't be *thud*worthy. Thanks!

IcarusBride: don't worry about it, we all rely on stereotypes sometimes and the majority of the time it is not truly harmful. Hey, a lot of Indian women DO have long hair, and many keep it for their entire lives. Once I reach goal, I'll post a picture. I'm just so lazy to take them now, haha.

I guess one good thing about having long hair as an Indian is that maybe I wouldn't face the same pressure to cut my hair as I get older, particularly in the professional realm. I am assuming someone would be too worried about making some ethnic gaffe to say anything. I do wear my hair up in all work related situations. THAT BEING SAID, it sucks that this sort of respect isn't relegated to EVERYONE'S individual choices. I understand professionalism, but come on, there are people with curly hair who are told that having curly hair makes people think they are wild and free spirited. Um, no, curly hair does nothing but grow from your scalp just like straight hair. It says nothing about your character or work performance. In fact, I think it is deeply unprofessional to spend an extra hour in the morning on one's appearance when that time could be used for more productive purposes.

June 10th, 2010, 11:33 AM
No matter how many long haired Indian women I see, I will still go "wow" at each and every one of them! :)

June 10th, 2010, 12:56 PM
Actually, most Indians I see in my country have hair just like any other white person (except in dark colours). The Indians in my school have a range of hairstyles such as bobs, choppy layers, BSL and maybe some long styles. There are some with dyed hair, hair extensions, all sorts! I even see Indians with damaged hair (though saying that, let's face it, most people have some damage in their hair, and to be honest I don't go nit-picking at people's hair with mean comments like "oooh that girl has splits!" or anything).

All the Indians I see are just like everybody else.

June 10th, 2010, 01:04 PM
I don't think it is diminished at all. Even if you may feel like it's "expected" for Indian girls to have long hair, it doesn't make the hair any less thud-worthy! :flower:

My sister had classic-length in her early 20s, and still has hair that grows quite fast, but she cut it to just below shoulder-blades because she was fed up of people expecting her to have long hair just because of her ethnicity. None of her female British Asian friends have hair longer than shoulder-blades, or mid-back.

June 10th, 2010, 01:27 PM
I can honestly say that there is always a wow factor whenever I see long hair. I don't think your heritage takes away from that wow at all. Long hair is long hair is long hair. And long healthy hair is always a show-stopper. :blossom:

June 10th, 2010, 01:33 PM
hmm i was buying a christmas present for my little cousin last year and saw a couple of indian women with classic length braids and i can tell you i dropped my jaw and stared like an idiot.. i think the wow factor is definitely still there..

June 10th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Its there still...I could see lots of people with long hair that is well taken care of and in my family long hair is considered to be a an asset, atleast to the females. I have long hair. But they say i need a haircut...Infact I too had awed on girls who really take so much of care for a healthy hair

June 10th, 2010, 03:08 PM
Long hair is always amazing, no matter how common it is.
I see an Indian woman with a classic length braid near my school sometimes. I see her at least once a week and I still get that 'WOW moment' when I see her hair

June 10th, 2010, 06:16 PM
it is pretty common for an indian girl to have really long hair but I gotta admit, every time I see someone with really long hair, whether they be indian or not, short or tall, young or old - I get jealous :p so I still think its still special to be a long hair

June 10th, 2010, 06:33 PM
I agree with Taleon and others who are wowed by long hair no matter what the ethnic/cultural derivation of the wearer :).

HintofMint, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember reading in a sociology journal article (can't remember which journal), that there was some cultural pressure for asian women who consider themselves modern, educated, and professional to have western-style haircuts, and that wearing traditional styles or long hair was looked down on by educated people as seemingly provincial? Hence the increasing prevalence of pixie, shoulder or BSL hair cuts?

I'm glad that the "thou shalt not have long hair as an older woman" nonsense has not quite made inroads into India (yet). Most Indian people (of either biological sex/gender) whom I've seen who have long hair have gorgeous hair. I expecially recall the scene from "The English Patient" in which the sikh fellow shows the nurse a tomb of some kind (I think), and he has his hair unbound and loose.

THUD worthy, waist length waves. I can still picture it.

June 10th, 2010, 08:05 PM
I'll be honest : I live in Canada, near a very densly Indian area. The wow factor is a confusing one. The wow of "you're so different" is gone to me...Mostly cause I've seen SO MUCH long Indian hair. But, the wow of "YOU'VE GOT AMAZING HAIR" is certainly not gone. Just because I expect long hair, doesn't mean its not amazingly thick and awesome.

June 10th, 2010, 08:59 PM
I love everything about indian hair, the color, the shine, the texture. I can say for certain that the most beautiful heads of hair I have ever seen have been on indian women.

June 10th, 2010, 10:12 PM
I understand your point (and it would probably bug me too) but I would enjoy that long hair isnít a totallycompletelyweirdbizzarre thing and that thereís a lot of input to find on care and styling in your culture
(Iím in an area where the fine, thin Scandinavian hair is absolutely dominant and itís hard to find products thatís not for volume. Not much variation to find and all hair advice is basically useless to me)


June 11th, 2010, 12:52 AM
Fiferstone: When I talked about not having the pressure to cut my hair, I meant from outside the community, like say from a caucasian boss. Compared to our non-Indian counterparts, while we don't generally pursue super long lengths anymore, we still keep it fairly long, between APL and BSL. I know surgeons, microbiologists, and med students who keep their hair around BSL, and they range from late-twenties to early forties. They still do not hold themselves to the same hair cutting compulsion for the sake of professionalism that we see for the rest of non-Indian women and they do just fine.

That being said, being traditional and being professional/educated have never been mutually exclusive concepts for Indian girls raised in the west. The most traditional girls I know were the ones who were like "Stanford Medical or bust!" They were pressured to be doctors, engineers or lawyers, just like their parents. So, from my own observation, the cutting of hair isn't to portray themselves as more successful, educated, or professional. Just more modern perhaps.

June 11th, 2010, 08:46 PM
Pfftt I can see a million Indian girls with long hair and my eyes will bulge every single time haha

June 11th, 2010, 11:10 PM
I'm never not wowed by long hair, on a person of any culture. To me, my favorite "types" of hair (on other people, of course... I have boring Caucasian hair!) are Indian and Asian hair types. It's so thick and glossy and gorgeous! I'm jealous. :(

June 11th, 2010, 11:38 PM
I can sort of see what you mean, but when I think of "traditional" Indian girls, I think of them wearing saris and bindis and all that. You can still have long hair and have it be striking, even if you don't go all out.

Case in point: was on the Metra today on the way to Chi-town and was totally gaping at this girl's long beautiful Indian hair. Hers was naturally pretty straight (it didn't look straightened), and the hemline was very nice and even; her glossy black hair looked great, and especially striking with her blue jean jacket. It was a unique take on a modern look! :inlove:

June 11th, 2010, 11:43 PM
Long hair is beautiful and NEVER common. I don't care if it is on an Indian woman, a Swede, or a guy of ANY culture, if its stunning I will not fail to be stunned :)

Bandia Rua
June 12th, 2010, 01:00 AM
I have seen many indian girls with gorgeous long thick hair and I'm never disappointed in anyway. I always want to ask the person in question about their hair care routine but feel like I'd be intruding. Please don't fret about this. Your hair is no less amazing just because it might be more common among other girls like you. :)

June 13th, 2010, 07:56 AM
The wow factor is still there for me!

June 13th, 2010, 10:22 AM
Thank you all for your support (read: indulging my neuroses, haha)!

To Katurday, thanks so much for your honesty, I appreciate it. I guess it depends on the neighborhood, as to how rare it is in general. Ah well, at least it will be appreciated as long as it is healthy!

June 13th, 2010, 11:40 AM
I live in a town with a high population of East Indians and First Nations (we have at least 5 reserves around us). Many of the women you see in town have hip length hair. It's ALL beautiful and I can't help but look, and sometimes comment. My comments seem to be appreciated too!

June 13th, 2010, 12:43 PM
I don't think the wow factor is diminished at all! When I first started high school, there were only a few Indian families where I live, and most of the women did have long, beautiful hair, but I was wowed by it none the less! I remember one girl who wore her hair down one day to school and it was to her ankles! Then one day she came in with a bob - I was so sad!

Now there are so many Indian families here, and I've found that there actually aren't that many Indian women these days with hair longer than BSL, like you mentioned. But when I see the ones who do, I am overjoyed and amazed at the beauty of their hair.

So don't worry. Even if everyone expects you to have long hair because of your ethnicity, they will still have their breath taken away by gorgeous hip-length hair. Long is beautiful, whether it's a surprise or expected.