How can a woman’s shaved head be both a magnet and a trigger? Well, the “slap” at the Oscars was a pretty good demonstration of how it can be an extremely sensitive issue. The whole incident and its aftermath are rooted in Jada Smith’s alopecia. Hair always makes a statement no matter what style, shape, or form.
We all know pretty well about the politics that revolve around women’s bodies in any industry, whether entertainment or business and a shaved head can be a major precipitation. Whether it’s hair or the lack of it, it will always be a public issue when it concerns women. Hair is impossible to ignore; be it thick or balding, it can shape the perception of the external gaze.
Especially when you decide not to keep it as a woman, for whom it should mean a stereotypical beauty standard, it can stir up a good bowl of opinions. Hair is the best expression of self, which it should be, but for most, it is completely linked to gender and the perception of a good appearance, rather than something a person may keep for self-satisfaction, comfort, and boosting self-confidence.
Annya Pressley, a Massachusetts representative, unveiled her bald head shortly after Jada Smith’s Oscar appearance for normalizing living with her alopecia. A new hairdo by a celebrity is often under the microscope, which means the public might let it slide without noticing. It’s become a norm to discuss and highlight any normality adopted by the female population. The world might not be divided by wars but by the yin (long hair) and yang (shaved head) of any new hairdo on a woman’s head.
According to Professor Ford, a bald female head is regarded as radical politics or something more absurd, like overstepping traditional norms. According to Ford, many regard it as a refusal, especially by black women, as they resist fitting into European beauty standards. All female leads in children’s books and bedtime stories have some sort of strength in their hair such as Rapunzel could help people climb up a tower with hers, and Goldilocks was named after hers, which persists with the idea that a woman’s bare head is an abnormality.
Whether it’s a bald head or long hair, wearing it proudly in public will force a confrontation with all suppositions and opinions.