"I want to cut my hair short, but I am a competitive dancer and this would go against company rules. It’s getting to the point that the femininity isn’t comfortable. What less radical/ less permanent changes can I make to feel better about how I look?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Anita Dolce Vita as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.
First off, I am terribly sorry to hear that your company’s rules do not support diversity of gender expression. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination is a common occurrence, so much so that dapperQ recently launched a new “CorporateQ” series, which explores the intersection of style, identity, and workplace gender politics. I invite you to check it out, as you may relate to many of the readers’ stories of feeling pressured to conform to normative binary gender roles in the workplace and you may also find support in how these readers dealt with said pressure. (We also invite you to submit your story to dapperQ@gmail.com, which you can do anonymously if you wish.)
That said, I understand that you prefer to have short hair. Many people, regardless of where they fall within (or outside of) the feminine-masculine gender spectrum prefer shorter cuts. However, if your goal is to achieve a masculine look via a short hair cut, I can say this: long hair does not have to be associated with femininity. Part of dismantling the normative gender binary is to challenge traditional notions about what constitutes femininity and masculinity. There are plenty of long hair style options for masculine and androgynous presenting folks. The article “Styles and Cuts for Long-Haired dapperQs” is a good source of inspiration. I have also created a Pinterest board with additional masculine/androgynous long-hair options for you, which you can find here. Included in the Pinterest board are several images of “muns” (masculine buns), a style that is all the rage right now for masculine presenting celebrities and “menswear” models, as well as some examples of how you can style long hair into a faux pompadour.
Another less permanent change you can make to achieve the look you desire is to dress in more masculine/androgynous leaning attire. For smaller impact, you can start with adding accessories such as bow-ties, suspenders, and “menswear” inspired shoes. Or, if you feel comfortable and confident doing so, you can don pant suits, button-downs, and trousers with traditionally masculine silhouettes. dapperQ has a wealth of resources, including a store guide, to help get you started on your style journey.
Click through to read more about Anita and our other Second Opinions Panelists!
Short Hair Don't Care: “My friend says that because I like girls with short hair, maybe I’m not queer? How do I deal?”
"I’m a pansexual girl, and I just recently cut my hair in a short pixie cut style. I look like a 12 year old boy and I love it! But my boyfriend isn’t a fan. He’s embarrassed because I ‘look so gay.’ I want him to support me. What should I do?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
- Question submitted by hugyourmother
I express most of my emotions through humor. If I were you I’d feel super shitty that my LOVER did not love my haircut. I would feel really self conscious and dumb because I just wanna be cute AND I THINK I LOOK AWESOME SO NOW WE DON’T EVEN HAVE THAT IN COMMON ANYMORE… but I would also feel weirdly guilty bc my lover was embarrassed… Granted, I hope you don’t feel guilty because you look awesome and he is being dumb.
Here’s what I would do IN THAT SITCH AND WITH THOSE FEELS. When he made a complaint I would simply say “why don’t you just tell everyone you turned me straight?” Then I would make a few more jokes before eventually all of my feelings clouded my head and I had a sit down talk with my lover.
In this conversation sit down talk I would tell my lover that it made me sad that he didn’t think my hair was awesome. It made me feel like he wasn’t as attracted to me and embarrassed of me and GENERALLY didn’t really like me (also, I might mention how saying i “looked gay” was sort of messed up because there is nothing wrong with BEING gay so why would there be anything wrong with LOOKING gay and then I would talk about what it meant to LOOK like an identity, but I would probably skip this part at first and bring it up later??) I would tell him I really liked my hair and it would mean the world if he would try to show a little more support, SLASH LOVE even if that meant faking a smile and pretending he liked it. Because relationships are all about honesty, communication, and letting each other get haircuts (even if we aren’t into them).
Yes, talking is definitely step one.
The thing is, the talking has to be the kind of talking where both parties are expressing their truest feelings, and being compassionate, kind, and loving along the way. That is tricky, but that is how this conversation should begin. Tell your boyfriend that you have a lot of feelings and you know he does, too. Tell him that you are going to listen to everything he has to say, and you expect that he will also listen to you.
We are all at different stages in our ability to trust in our relationships, to handle the judgements from those around us, and to navigate our own homophobia/racism/cissexism/etcetera. In my opinion, those are the three things that need to be broken down:
Does he trust in your relationship? Is he uncertain or confused about your pansexuality? Is he afraid that he won’t be “enough” for you or that you might want to be with a gender that isn’t his own? Does he have a complete understanding of what pansexual means to you? Often times we say words to people — even our significant others — and we assume they understand, when they may be confused. Clarify those points. Talk about both of your feelings on that point. We know that being pansexual has absolutely no bearing on what kinds of relationships you want to engage in, or how you choose to engage in them… he may not.
How does he handle judgements from others? Sure, most people probably don’t give a flying fuck about what his girlfriend looks like… and if they do, screw ‘em anyway. Right? Sure. However, most of us do know what it feels like to be self-conscious. He may know you, trust you, and love you… but have some issues of his own. Maybe he is navigating what it feels like to be judged by others. Maybe he isn’t handling it so well. Telling you he doesn’t like your haircut because it makes you look gay is offensive, and not acceptable. If what he means is that he struggles sometimes with the perceptions of others, THAT is where the conversation should occur. It should not (EVER) be directed toward you or your appearance.
How does he feel about the LGBTQ community? What are his thoughts on gender, gender expression, sexuality, and all the other things that intersect with those identities? As someone who is a part of the queer community, those are discussions that are going to come up more than you might expect. It is a far distance between, “I’m fine with gay people,” and challenging your deepest held beliefs on being in an intimate relationship that might move you out of your own perceived sexuality.
Talking about all of those things is going to give you a whole ton of information on where your boyfriend is coming from. Take that information and use it to guide you in your decisions. The absolute bottom line here is that you deserve to be in a relationship with someone who makes you feel as beautiful as you are, someone who works with you to ensure that you are both growing together, and someone who respects and understands your identity.
"I’m 17 and my mom won’t let me get a haircut, so my hair is long I feel extremely uncomfortable and self conscious all the time. my mom doesn’t care cause she says I look prettier this way. Its really hard to deal with and I want to just get it cut with out her permission but I have a bad habit of feeling inappropriately guilty about things I do that my parents don’t approve of. What should I do?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Usually I’m like “listen to your parents, it’s their house their rules, blah blah boring,” but in this situation… get it cut.
I’M SORRY. Does everyone hate me now??? I just know exactly what it feels like to feel uncomfortable with the way you look. It makes everything else in your life feel stupid. If you don’t feel good about you, you just DON’T feel good.
I remember feeling completely uncomfortable with my hair, my clothes, my body, my skin, my everything. It’s the worst and it took YEARS for me to find a place of comfort within myself. The first step was a haircut. I hate to tell you to disobey your mom, but “sry not sry” as they say, because you have a right to feel confident, and if this is what it takes, please go for it.
ALSO THO, talk to your mom. I know you say your mom doesn’t care, but if you tell her “hey mom, I’m getting my haircut because I don’t feel good about myself with long hair, and it’s making me self-conscious in other areas of my life,” maybe she will understand a little better.
I think you need to get your hair cut.
I am not sure what kind of communication you and your mom have, and how easy or difficult it is for you to express your feelings to her, but I think if I were in your situation I would plan to get it cut (so, like, schedule your hair appointment on a certain day the following week or whatever), and then I would write her a letter before it happens.
I would explain that you have thought a LOT about what she has said to you and how she feels about your hair, but that it is your hair, and your life, and you know what will make you most comfortable. Tell her that it hurt you to hear that she would think you would be any less pretty with a little less hair. Tell her that you feeling good about yourself is (and should always be) more important than her (or anyone else) feeling good about you.
Let’s stop on that point for a second, shall we? How ANYONE else feels about the way you look should ALWAYS come second to how you feel about yourself. Remember that.
She is your mom, so I know how things can feel tricky and guilt-ridden in these situations… but she is wrong. I know I am not a mom, but I am a 32-year-old grown-ass lady, and I am a person, and I can tell you that you are old enough and smart enough and know enough about yourself to make the choices you need to make in order to feel comfortable in your own skin.
Hopefully, your mom will read that letter and she will begin to understand what this means to you, and to see the err in her ways. If so, great. If not, go forward with what you need to do for you, and continue to be open with her as much as possible about how her resistance is affecting you.
I am REALLY excited about your haircut.
Go get ‘em.