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The Buzz Cut: the Hairstyle that’s Empowering Women

%28From+left+to+right%29+Sophia+Mick%2C+Macy+Eiesland%2C+Olivia+Chasteney%2C+and+Nina+Fletcher
(From left to right) Sophia Mick, Macy Eiesland, Olivia Chasteney, and Nina Fletcher

(From left to right) Sophia Mick, Macy Eiesland, Olivia Chasteney, and Nina Fletcher

(From left to right) Sophia Mick, Macy Eiesland, Olivia Chasteney, and Nina Fletcher

Veronica Mork, Millennials Staff Writer

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New and unusual styles are always coming and going, evolving and vanishing. A new style has been quite popular recently amongst  women: the buzz cut. Not too long ago, this style would have been seen as too risky or weird. This leads to the questions: is it more than just hair they’re letting go of? Or is it just hair? How does shaving one’s heads result directly in female empowerment and confidence?

“Between the current war on conventional beauty standards and the search for unpredictable muses, the shaved head is emerging as the ultimate assault on the age-old beauty myth that a woman’s attractiveness is relative to how much hair she has on her head, and how little covers the rest of her body,” Jane Helpern writes for i-D vice.

(From left to right) Sophia Mick, Macy Eiesland, Olivia Chasteney, and Nina Fletcher

Beauty standards in the past have revolved around long, bohemian locks of hair and a “goddess-like” appearance. The contrast of the punk styles (fishnets, buzz cuts, oversized jackets) trending right now have people questioning, changing, and varying the beauty standards that the media and society have force-fed the public; standards that are obviously biased against minorities and people of color.

This hairstyle also thrives off of and contributes to the recent conversations about gender in the media. “Individuality and androgyny are certainly not a new thing in fashion, but the trend has swung back around due to a larger gender conversation,” says Alastair McKimm, i-D’s fashion director.

Nina Fletcher

A lot of the time, the way we portray ourselves leads people to assume our genders. For example, certain clothing, such as dresses and skirts are traditionally seen as “feminine” and are assumed to only be worn by women, however, celebrities such as Jaden Smith are trying to break those stereotypes and unreasonable expectations by wearing whatever they want, no matter which  gender it’s traditionally been assigned to. Same thing goes for makeup, with male beauty gurus rising to fame along with their female counterparts.

“I think it’s good for society to see people going against what we’ve all been taught is the way we’re supposed to dress for our sex and our orientation,” says Tamy Glauser, a model who’s had a shaved head for 10 years. “You realize there’s no right or wrong.”

With the trend starting in street style and spreading onto runways, it doesn’t seem to be leaving any time soon. While it is popular, however, many women are reluctant to take the plunge and buzz their hair.

Sophia mick

“It’s normal for boys to do it. So I wish it was more normal and not a big deal for women to do it,” explains Braina Laviena in an article in i-D. “It does take bravery, because hair can be such a safety blanket for women to cover many insecurities. When you don’t have hair, you literally can’t hide from others, you have to be 100% comfortable with how you look and own it.”

In an interview with SMA juniors Liesel Griggs, Sophia Mick, Macy Eiesland, Olivia Chasteney, and Nina Fletcher, the girls shared their personal insights on how their various head-shaving experiences effected them. When asked how their hair has changed they way they perceive themselves or others perceive them, Fletcher noted, “I don’t think, necessarily, in this community, it’s the most socially groundbreaking thing you could do, but when I’m in other communities or different environments it gets a lot more reaction, which I like.” However, Griggs continues, “in a personal sense, it can be really groundbreaking, it was for me at least. I don’t really ever want to have hair again. It just provides a sense of versatility.”

“Yeah, I think every woman should do it at some point,” Mick added, encouraging others to take the leap.

Macy Eiesland

When asked what led them to decide to shave their heads, the girls had similar stories. “I talked to a male friend of mine (…) and then he said ‘don’t do it, you’ll look gross’, so I did it,” recalled Griggs. “My dad was like ‘Boys don’t like girls with short hair’ and I was like ‘okay…’ so the next day I shaved my head”, Eiesland said.

“It’s just kind of like a bold statement, … I feel like I’m showing people that I’m comfortable with who I am. Looking conventionally attractive isn’t the most important thing to me, and that’s just a statement I want to make,” Chasteney responds, explaining how this recent change has affected her so far.

Olivia Chasteney

“Overall,” Griggs said, “It was definitely something that took me out of my comfort zone, ’cause I’d never had short hair before, since i was little, and doing it was really empowering, actually. Like… being free of hair, it was much easier, it makes you feel cool, no matter what you’re wearing, even on days when you’re totally scrubbing wearing sweatpants, you still feel like … but I’m kinda edgy.”

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The Buzz Cut: the Hairstyle that’s Empowering Women