The quality of our life today is a reflection of the choices we have made in the past – good or bad. Although we are free to make choices, we cannot choose the outcomes or consequences of those our actions.
There are, however, things we did not choose like our race, our skin color, our ethnic group or tribe, the family we are born into and our gender. These are the things we are born with or born into and had no hand in becoming. They should not be a basis of bias or discrimination against us. They should also not determine what choices are right or wrong for us.
Or should they?
Marilyn usually goes to the barbershop every month to style her favorite haircut, punk. For her, there is nothing more refreshing than being able to run cold water down your head anytime you’re in the bathroom. The feeling is an all-consuming rejuvenating coolness she can’t describe. And that’s why she loves her punk more than anything else in the world. That’s also why she will never stop cutting her hair despite what ‘concerned’ people say.
“A girl is supposed to keep her hair and braid it,” is the first thing Aunt Margret always says in response to Marilyn’s “Good afternoon Aunty Margret, how are you?” whenever they bump into each other at family gatherings.
Their encounters usually turned into counseling sessions with Aunty Majorie coming in towards the end to add, “We are just saying this for your own good, my dear. We are worried about you. You know that men love to run their hands through a woman’s hair. If you refuse to keep your hair, Marilyn, how then will you be able to keep a man? You’re driving men away with this your bad attitude!”
Every time, Marilyn would sit through the entire thirty to forty-five minutes until they finished then she would laugh and tell them that it was her hair so she would whatever she wanted with it.
“Punk is my style,” she always replied, “It suits me and I’m sorry, but I’m not planning to change it for anyone.”
Family isn’t the only people who think Marilyn is making a ridiculous choice because of her gender. The barbers believe so too. Whenever she goes to cut her hair, they always want to charge her extra.
Whenever she protests, they remind her that she’s a lady and so should be charged higher.
But is that explanation enough? Is a lady cutting her hair any different from a man cutting his hair – even when her hair is low, and she has been cutting it hair all her life?
The good thing is: Marilyn never accepts their explanation. She always argues with them until they accept to cut her hair at the standard price.
We want to hear your opinions:
- Barbers, why do you charge more when the person is female?
- Parents and relatives, why are you so worried when a woman cuts her hair?
- Should our harmless choices be seen as right or wrong on the basis of gender only?
- Should gender affect our rights to choose the hairstyle we want?
- Should women be made to feel uncomfortable or be treated unfairly because of the hairstyle they have chosen to wear?
- Must women’s choices only reflect what men want or expect from them?
- Do women’s wants and preferences matter?
- Does your hairstyle choice portray the kind of person you are or what you’re likely to do?