Let’s face it… when it comes to females participating sport, according to many people, hair does still matter. The reading for last week, “Hair Still Matters,” focused on this issue that has become somewhat of a stigma within women’s sports today. This reading discussed the ideas concerning the relationship between hair, femininity, and sexuality as women and girls answered the question of whether or not hair is associated with femininity. Some people may admit that, some people won’t admit it, and some people truly do not focus on women’s hair while they participate in sport, which is the way it should be. However, it seemed that most women in this reading agreed with the fact that hair does still matter.
Diane, a 50-year old retired material handler said, “Right or wrong, you’ll say stuff like that’s a feminine cut, that’s not a feminine cut, or whatever. I think to the extent that you have this long flowing hair that’s perceived as very feminine, And the shorter you go, the less feminine it seems to be. So I definitely think that there’s some association with that.”
But why do these women say this and think this way? It’s simple. These’ women’s beliefs have been created through the mainstream media and other external forces that have repeatedly told them that this is how they should think and see things.
As a result, many people associate certain hair styles with femininity. If it was the case that hair truly didn’t matter, women would not spend as much time as they do coloring, straightening, curly, or lengthening their hair. It’s a fact. Many women are uncomfortable and self-conscious about their hair unless they have “altered” or “perfected” it in some way.
This past year an African American female Olympic gymnast, Gabby Douglas, stood up to this stigma. The young Douglas competed and earned a gold medal, earning a lot of media attention. However, it was her “nappy” short hair that caught many headlines as well. People critiqued her hairstyle and compared it to her teammates. But Douglas is an African American, and her teammates are white. How could she possibly have the same hair as them? Yea, her hair was different. But that really shouldn’t have mattered.
To me, this is a different situation than in many of the stories shared in “Hair Still Matters.” In Douglas’ situation sports are involved I think it was a low blow to call her out on this physical attribute that is really out of her hand. In situations where women are dressing up and trying to look pretty, hair may matter. But in situations where a lot more important things are on the line (an olympic freaking gold medal), hair should be the least of people’s worries.