Dear Mansplainers: I’ll Cut My Hair Short If I Want to

by Kate Harveston

Dear “Roger Sterling, Jr.,”

Your name and photo suggest you’ve seen Mad Men, but your post suggests you haven’t watched it — at least not really. Roger Sterling is transformed by the women around him. His daughter, Joan, Peggy — hell, even his ex-wife — help take the scales from his eyes. It makes sense that with a post like this you’d hide behind a fictional name and photo, but, here’s the thing — Roger Sterling would be embarrassed by you.

You don’t know me, but I know you. You’re the anchor that’s holding America back from becoming a country that builds women up, and instead keeps pushing them down.

I came across your repulsive “article” the other day explaining why women shouldn’t cut their hair short. Not only is this sort of thinking sad, it’s proof that we, as a society, have a long way to go to truly achieve equality.

To make matters worse, you didn’t even have a logical, cohesive argument prepared when you sat down to write. The points you made in your post are weak, and, to prove it to you, I’m going to address each one of them head-on.

What Do Celebrities Have to Do With My Hairstyle?

If you think women choose to cut off their hair simply because their female celeb crush did it, you’re sadly mistaken. Try blow-drying, brushing and styling long hair one time, and then we’ll talk. Believe it or not, there are women who have better things to do than spend an hour on their hair in the morning — which is sometimes how long it takes to maintain the long, luscious hair you expect us all to have, so you can quit complaining about that, too.

Or, maybe some women don’t mind the maintenance of long hair, but they like the way it looks when it’s short. We don’t owe you beauty.

Plus, claiming these stars — who are people, too, by the way — can’t pull off a short hairstyle is absurd. Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway, Katy Perry, and all those other women you called out have completely killed the game with their pixie cuts. I don’t recall them asking for your opinion, anyway.

Maybe We Want to Stand Out, Or Maybe We Don’t Really Care

In case you haven’t gotten the message yet, we don’t need you to “mansplain” how we look better with long hair or how we’d be more likely to find our soulmates if our locks were perfectly tamed mermaid hair.

Your argument that short hair will make us stand out to guys “in a bad way” completely ignores the most basic concept surrounding the issue: We don’t do it for you.

We don’t do our hair and makeup an hour and a half before we go out for you. We don’t cut our hair short for you. We really don’t care what you think about our style choices. Why? Because, Roger, it’s not all about you.

Oh, and the “tits, ass and legs” you nauseatingly referred to as the only things guys notice aren’t for you, either — that’s just our bodies. We didn’t grow these body parts because we thought maybe you’d like them.

Flaws, Shmaws — And Other Girls Will Build Us up (Hopefully)

“The difference between [old ladies and babies — the only people Roger believes can have short hair] and you is that they have no one to impress. If you’re in the female sweet spot, between the ages of 18 and 28, you certainly do.”

Who exactly are we trying to impress, and how does our short hair hinder us in that front? We’re certainly not chasing after guys like you, so trust me when I say we don’t want your attention.

And those insecurities you say we should be worried about have nothing to do with the way our hair is cut. Will growing our hair out suddenly mask a mole we don’t like, or straighten out a tooth that might be at an angle?

Even if this logic made any sense, everyone has their flaws, and they make us who we are. Should we not style our hair the way we like in a lame attempt to cover up a perceived imperfection? That’s almost as bad as the backward argument that we should refrain from cutting our hair short to satisfy some random, sexist dude on the internet.

Take A Lesson From Your Mentor

The saddest part about this insane, heteronormative thought process is that you’re not alone. Earlier this month at a Christian conference for women in Sydney, Australia, speaker Carmelina Read said women with short hair should “reconsider their life choices.”

Apparently, many Christians believe God prefers women to have long hair — as a way to differentiate between men and women.

This is mind-boggling for two reasons. One: A woman in a leadership role attacks other women because of how they look. And two: It’s very strange to suggest that Jesus would really care about the length of someone else’s hair — he supposedly rocked the man bun look himself, but you don’t hear anyone complaining about that.

Jr., it’s time to take some lessons from your mentor. Roll with the times. The world is changing.

Roger Sterling was capable of transformation, and I believe you are, too.

Ladies — some men are still figuring it out, and the world is changing faster than their privilege can keep up with. Until they figure it out, know that you can cut your hair however you want to. Express yourself in any way you see fit. There are no rules when it comes to style. And your beauty is an expression of who you are — not who someone else wants you to be.

Top photo: Emma Watson in The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Originally published June 27, 2017

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