Journalist and feminist Laurie Penny wrote a brilliant and funny article titled “Why patriarchy fears the scissors” in the New Statesman in response to something written by someone or something named “Tuthmosis” called “Girls with Short Hair Are Damaged” for males who see dating as a game and favor being pick up artists and not human beings. Penny didn’t provide a link to this dating manifesto and I don’t want to read it. It’s not necessary. Here’s what Penny quotes “Tuthmosis” as writing about long hair:
“ (It’s) almost universally attractive to men, when they’re actually speaking honestly. . . Women instinctively know this, which is why every American girl who cuts, and keeps, her hair short often does it for ulterior reasons . . . Short hair is a political statement. And, invariably, a girl who has gone through with a short cut – and is pleased with the changes in her reception – is damaged in some significant way. Short hair is a near-guarantee that a girl will be more abrasive, more masculine, and more deranged.”
And “Tuthmosis’s” editor Roosh V (really?) “warns all ‘sick women’ seeking to ‘punish’ men by cutting their hair: ‘being lonely and having to settle for a brood of cats is not a good life for a woman, but that’s what will happen if you keep your hair short.”
This post isn’t in response to what these douchecanoes (Laurie Penny’s word) think. I read Penny’s insightful and well written points and just wondered:
1. Why do we care? Why do we care what people named “Tuthmosis” and “Roosh V” think? Why do we care what nameless and faceless people think about what we do with our hair? Or anything else we do? Shouldn’t we heed the advice Tina Fey gives in Bossypants, which is “when faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism…ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on.”
2. OK, say you do care. You want long hair and you want guys to want you. At some point, women need to face reality. Sometimes having naturally long hair is just impossible. Like men having babies impossible. And you have to make a decision about where your value comes from and work with what you have. I disagree with LP. Being realistic is not a political statement.
3. Again, why do we care? Shouldn’t we have the attitude of Tina Fey’s best friend Amy Poehler, relayed in this story featured in Bossypants?
Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy “comedy bits” going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.”
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said: “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit …
Shouldn’t we spend less time responding to those trolls (again LP’s word) and do something fun, ridiculous, and maybe unladylike and not care who likes it? I shouldn’t even be wasting my time writing this.
4. I think men would still have sex with us if we all shaved our heads and then guys like Tuthmosis would go online and say “women who have one inch of hair are more attractive than those who shave their heads completely. Those women are damaged. Those shiny heads are a political statement.” What’s really happening is what Lindy West wrote in “For Chrissakes, There Is Nothing Wrong With You: A Dating Manifesto”:
Because attraction is involuntary, admitting genuine attraction to the people we’re attracted to relinquishes a huge amount of power. It’s terrifying. And when the people you’re so terrifyingly attracted to don’t even give a shit about you? QUICK, TELL THEM THEIR CALVES ARE TOO HEAVY.
Or, “you’re damaged if you cut your hair off.” I always remember what this high school kid named David admitted in Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs: “What girls don’t understand is guys always want girls. If every girl dressed casually, you’d still like girls. It’s like, you don’t have to exhaust yourselves.” Or in the words of Ms. Tina Fey: “you could put a blond wig on a hot water heater and some dude would try to fuck it.”
5. Can you imagine what the response would be in the “manosphere” if women declared that men who have penises that are less than 10 inches are “damaged” and will “die alone”? The words “they would go ape-shit” come to mind.
6. The part I don’t get is the threat that we will be lonely and only have cats as company if we don’t conform to the beauty ideals men supposedly desire. Being alone is not the worst thing that could happen to me, but that’s me. (read this) They should threaten that if I cut my hair, I could potentially live a cheese-free life. Contemplating a life without cheese might inspire me to slap a long-haired wig on my head. I really love cheese.
7. One more time — why do we care? As Lindy West says “do what you want and you’ll get what you want.” Simple. This is where real power comes from — doing what you want, potentially not being liked and not being undone by it. It doesn’t come from guys being attracted to you and turning their heads when you walk down the street.
So girls, pick up the scissors. Or get your hair stylist to pick them up. If you want to.