Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Off with her hair!

In the midst of May madness here at the college, I finally decided to do something I've been planning on for a while. Cut my hair super short, a la Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Portman (post V for Vendetta).

I'm sending my long pony-tail to Locks of Love, an American company that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due chemotherapy. That really wasn't the main reason why I did it though.

A woman's hair is highly regarded in the Middle East. Obviously, it's covered here all the time (except when exclusively and positively only in front of one's immediate family). They do this because of tradition and religion, but also because constantly covering the hair has fetishized women's hair (which cyclically makes the religious codes even stricter).

It is supposed to be the most beautiful feature of a woman. Having secretly beautiful hair is the key to attracting men. Even while I was in Palestine, some female Arab friends told me that no man would even love me until I started waxing my hairy southern Italian arms. Cutting off my long hair was antithetical to all things feminine here. I already wear pants, so this might just cause me to start sprouting male genitals, or at least get cancer. I have been told as well that if I do not start having children, like now, then I will get cancer. Special cancer for women who don't fulfill their female duties.

Most of the students are not here now (they all skip out the week before final exams). But just the response from the Arab staff has been telling. Lots of tisk-tisking, and "Haram-ing".

I guess I'm not a woman anymore, or maybe I'll die from feminist cancer.

I think it looks fierce. Nothing like causing a little cultural turmoil:)