I know I am a woman. I know it for sure. I have never questioned my femininity and my attractiveness. I birthed two babies from this body. I identify as female and my pronouns of choice are she/her. I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea (then again, who is everyone’s cup of tea), but I stand in my beauty. That I know will never change.
I have worn my hair naturally for most of my life. God knew what he was doing when he gave me the gift of not having long hair. I just had to catch up with with his ultimate design of me, because I eventually realized that I hate maintaining any kind of hair. I never enjoyed sitting between the legs of an elder to have my hair combed as a kid. I don’t enjoy combing, moisturizing, washing, double twisting, cornrowing and all the other activities of maintaining black hair. I just did it because it needed to be done.
Last year, I went to the barber who I’ve had cut my hair several times before to shave my head. While sitting in the chair, he asked, “What does your husband think about you cutting your hair?” I responded, “I don’t know and I don’t really care” with a straight face. He laughed and said, “But what if he doesn’t like it?” I responded again, “Don’t know and don’t care.” My response was sort of a protest against the idea that I in some way need permission from my husband.
I know exactly what he thinks. He doesn’t mind. Over the last almost eight years since I went back to my natural hair, my husband has seen me through every hair transition—and there have been many. He would go to work with me having hair and come back to a shaved head. I never felt the need to discuss my decision, because the hair on my head belongs to me. He always complimented me and just said, “Nice haircut,” and rubbed my head.
When we started dating, I told him, “There are two things that I do not necessarily need your input on; how I wear my hair and how I dress.” He saw it all before he proposed to me and married me, so if he had reservations about my sometimes bald head, he was free to walk away. Plus I have great taste in fashion. I’ll take a compliment from him, but I don’t need guidance in that area. No thank you sir.
I think later that same week, I encountered another acquaintance, a sweet man who seemed to question whether my husband was okay with me cutting my hair. I thought I was in the twilight zone to be honest. Not one, but two men asked me about my husband’s feeling about a decision to do something to my body. He even asserted that my husband may cheat on me for this reason, to which I responded, “We would have much bigger problems than a haircut.”
I was in disbelief honestly. Not only did they feel bold enough to make these statements, but the fact that they act like my husband owns me was baffling. Apparently, cutting my hair to suit my own preference, was helping destroy my marriage. In their twisted view, I needed his approval and maybe even his permission to shave my head.
I am a woman in my thirties. The last time I sought approval from a partner was in my teens when I had a lot to learn about relationships. I’m well beyond that stage, and as an imperfect human still under construction, I do know one thing; I am my own person. I do not need permission to do something as simple as a haircut from a partner.
I get it. I’m not oblivious. How often is a woman with a shaved head depicted as beautiful, and a black woman at that? According to the movies, it is usually a moment of impulse or crisis that would force a woman to shave her head. I mean, no rational thinking woman would want to shave her head because she simply wants to and feels beautiful that way.
We need to change the narrative. We need to normalize shaved and bald beauty whether it’s by choice or not by choice. Embrace all kinds of beauty, especially when it comes to black women. Our hair does not need any policing, much like our bodies already are. Nothing about a shaved head depicts unattractive to me. It depicts confidence and boldness and an attitude of “I know who I am“ and I don’t need to live by your rules.
We don’t need to seek permission.