The Lob-otomy, or, why a haircut doesn’t mean having it all.

Yesterday, I got a haircut.

Wait. I know what you’re thinking. “Breeze, you say on your ‘About Me’ page that you promise not to write Twitter/Facebook-esque blog post and I really don’t  care about your haircut.”

Woah there, no need to get testy.

Anyway this post is more about how my haircut relates to my feminism…No, I did not get a pixie cut or shave off all my hair or any other dramatic haircut. Instead, I got a “lob.” Popularized in 2011( Hey, I never said I was trendy), the lob is a shorter way of saying “long bob”( and not a reference to Arrested Development anti-hero Bob Loblaw).

I got my haircut for two reasons: 1) I hadn’t been to the hairdressers since spring break and 2) My ends were fried from a botched attempt at ombre hair.

I did not go into the haircut seeking a “fresh start” or whatever. Admittedly, I had spent most of my life fearing the hairdressers until I found a salon that has yet to mess up my hair.

But, these past 36 hours have really made me reflect on how much importance a haircut can have. Because  instead of spending my time self-loathing about split ends or a bad dye job, I’ve been thinking about how much my haircut makes me feel uber cool like this:

jackie 0

and this:

Not to say that a haircut gives a woman power, but there is something classic and commanding about short-shoulder length hair.

So, after being gloriously vain about my hair for several hours, it hit me. I thought, “Of all my unique and awesome qualities, why am I only able to make a comparison between myself and these women because of my hair?”

Because after all of the strides women have made in the world of math, science, politics, academia,  business and other male dominated fields the only thing that really matters is our hair. Seriously.

As a young woman, I can’t help but notice that throughout the past couple of months the idea of what it means to be a successful woman, or just a woman at all, has been getting a lot of media attention. You can start with the Rush Limbaugh incident and fast-forward to the huge response to Anne Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” article in the Atlantic for a point of reference. Slaughter’s piece of course came only months after Kate Bolick‘s October piece titled, “All the Single Ladies” which examined the relationship between women and marriage.

Soon after the Rush Limbaugh incident Barnard College announced that President Barack Obama would be replacing their commencement speaker New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson for the 2012 ceremony.

I have friends at Barnard. I think it was an incredible opportunity to have the current POTUS as a commencement speaker. But, if “women are not an interest group,” why did the Obama Administration feel the need to make a move that essentially treated them as such?

As young women we get so many mixed messages about our equality. We are equal, but we still get paid less to the dollar. We are equal, but apparently we can’t have it all (what does that even mean?).

Just yesterday I was reading an article from ESPN the Magazine that addressed all the secret( well, now not so secret) wild/party/hook-up culture at the Olympic Village. Hope Solo, goalie of the USWNT, is quoted in the article and she is very candid about her sex life. Also quoted is swimmer Ryan Lochte, who is equally candid about his.

The difference? My response. I immediately hopesolothought to myself, “She really shouldn’t be saying these things, people are going to criticize her for saying these things because she’s looked at as a role model for little girls, etc.”

I never had this concern for Ryan Lochte. Why? Because he’s a man. He’s being touted as the new Olympic Sex Symbol and unless he becomes a little too much like Michael Phelps I doubt any of his endorsements would be threatened.

Why is it that an adult female can’t openly talk about her personal life without my immediate response being to cringe and criticize? Is it because the media portrays this very black and white line where there are two types of women: those that are taken seriously and those that are not? Is it just a ridiculous personal standard I’ve developed, or is it that despite the fact we’ve reached a taken-for-granted status with equality there are still cultural ideals that are being perpetuated to prevent society from ever really treating women as equal to men?

As a college student, where the campus is 60 percent female anyway, I have yet to really encounter discrimination in my gender. The academic subject I study and the career field I want to go into are ones where women make up the majority not the minority. But part of me can’t help but wonder what all of this media attention will actually achieve. I only hope the result is more awareness among Gen X and Y women. As much I’d we’d like to think we’re past it, it’s pretty evident we aren’t. Maybe it’s time for younger generations to acknowledge what it seems older generations are too politically correct to admit. Women aren’t equal yet and it appears like the there is always someone trying to constantly remind us.


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