Or rather: What is it with bald women and the way men react towards them?
I stumbled upon this topic while browsing "The F-Word" once more. There were two articles about Britney Spears and her bald head. I personally have heard about it, but I didn't really think about it. I'm not much interested in gossip and so I wondered why anybody was talking so much about it.
Maybe I'm not the right person to judge this, anyway. I wear my hair short - and I mean really short. 'Two more inches and the scalp is gone'-short, actually. I like it that way, it's practical and I think it fits me. I'm not one of those 'girly girls', anyway. Most people I meet - especially most women I meet - also say it's good that way.
You see, I've worn my hair long for over ten years, from around 13 to around 26. So I know what it is like (and every time I hesitate to go to the hairdresser to get it cut, I just have to remind myself of the feeling in the summer heat and the hour I spent every time washing and drying it). Short hair is practical. Short hair can look sexy (though probably not on me, but that's another topic entirely). Short hair doesn't make a woman any less feminine.
Actually, if you've got a pretty face, having short hair will draw more attention to the face (as there's no long waves to hide it behind or to be stared at instead). And if you happen to have thin hair (I don't, another good reason to keep it short, because it gets quite heavy when it gets long), it looks better when it's cut short.
Okay, so you can rightfully point out that 'short hair' and 'no hair' are something different (even though, without regular shaving, 'no hair' will soon enough be 'short hair' anyway - hair grows, after all). I haven't had my hair shaved off completely either - and I think I don't have the head for it, to be honest. But I've seen women with shaved heads, as well as men, or women who lost it due to some sickness. Some of them, those with a well-shaped head, look pretty good without hair. And those who take off most hair (usually either Punks or Goths), despite their rather strange looks usually don't seem ugly to me either.
Now, one of the explanation the articles featured to explain why Britney's shaved head was discussed so much, was the fact that in past times, women's hair usually was just shaved to punish them or to mark them (for example as murderesses or mad). Even nuns usually don't shave their head completely, they just cut their hair pretty short (meaning that I'm but a veil away from becoming a saint … well, that and a lot of faith, obviously).
All cultures on earth (except for a small tribe in Africa) associate female beauty with long hair, it seems. And they associate missing hair on a woman's head with either illness or some sort of crime. Admittedly a woman with long, glossy hair usually is healthy - otherwise the hair wouldn't look good. On the other hand - unlike what some men still believe - women aren't turned off by a man's bald head (even though not all find it extra sexy).
I personally often think that associating female beauty with long hair has a lot to do with associating female beauty with passivity and vanity. A woman who works hard a lot and can take care of herself usually doesn't wear her hair long - she would have to spent too much time on it. The 'trophy wives' on the other hand - those women who get themselves a rich and successful man and just live up to societies expectations at his side - usually wear their hair long and spent a large amount of time (and their husband's cash) on maintaining their looks.
Women in Hollywood, too, usually wear their hair long (unless it's for a role they've gotten). How many female stars can you name who usually wear their hair short (shorter than chin-length, that is)?
I think it's time our culture changes. A woman should not be seen as strange (or gossiped about) just because she's bald (whether she chooses this hairstyle or has no choice). Of course, I don't deny a woman the right to wear her hair long, if she wants to. And I don't deny a man the right to love long hair on women (just as men have different tastes when it comes to clothes size, hair colour and other stuff). I just think that women should no longer think they need long hair to be pretty and men should no longer think that women with short hair are strange, sick or lesbian (or all).