From gender-bending 'dos to unapologetically fuzzy armpits, hair can make a strong statement — and the statement each style makes is unique to every individual who sports it. For Virginia Mellen, a shaved head was both a simple aesthetic preference and a lesson to her son about gender norms.
Mellon wrote in the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group that she'd had a shaved head on and off since high school and wanted to start again but felt self-conscious, particularly as the mother of a 15-month-old. "Is this OK to do now that I'm a mom?" she thought. "What will people think now that I'm older?"
But then, she realized that if anything, making decisions independently of social norms would set a good example for her toddler. She remembers thinking: "I want my son to grow up with a mom who doesn't make decisions about her appearance based on what other people think. I want him to know that there is no particular way a mom or a woman is 'supposed' to look. So last night I shaved my head, and you know what? I don't think he noticed." Over 45,000 people have reacted to the post, and many have left supportive comments.
The 27-year-old Maine resident told Yahoo Beauty that the look helps her feel free from societal norms. "On any given day there are countless opportunities for us to second-guess ourselves, to feel like somehow we are not enough. A hairstyle may seem a little trivial, but shaving my head makes me feel powerful because it is a daily reminder that I made a decision based on my own self-image, and not based on our society’s expectations. That’s the 'me' I really want my son to know."
Her shaved head had a different but equally important meaning to her 10 years ago, she added. "I was, and in many ways still am, an insecure, self-conscious person, but I think shaving my head allowed me to gain more confidence. I felt like I could no longer 'hide behind' my hair, so instead I could just be me." However her son decides to style his hair, it'll hopefully be in that same spirit.
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