“If your hair is done properly and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything,” says fashion icon Iris Apfel. How could we not agree with her when we all know that a fresh haircut can make us feel more attractive and boosts our self-confidence?
Hair, like the way we dress, is a powerful means of expression and communication. The cultural significance we attach to women’s hairstyle is deeply rooted in stereotypes. Long hair has always been a strong symbol of sensuality and femininity, while short hair has been considered for centuries less sexy and even made men feel intimidated. That’s a lot of power for some dead skin cells growing on our heads, right?!
Are men wired to lust for your hair?
Women’s hair has been the protagonist of many paintings, folktales, books, and movies. Its representation aligns it with symbolic notions of femininity and female sexuality, which must be controlled and tamed. Subject to the policing of religions, schools, and society, women’s hair is believed in many cultures, to possess immense sexual power. A power that men and their male-centered society perceive as both a threat and an allure. Think about the mermaids who use their hair to lure men to their death, or about how women growing their hair long and wild were often considered witches. The richer the hair, the more forceful and threatening, yet dynamic and licentious, a woman’s sexuality is.
The truth is that hair triggers a primal, instinctive response within men. They’re designed by nature to seek out specific physical traits in women, like large eyes and lips, wide hips, and the appearance of the hair. Men are traditionally attracted to women’s hairstyles, heels, and dresses because they’re different from their experience of masculinity and strongly linked with the common idea of femininity. The way a woman’s hair looks is still considered as a sign of a vivacious, sexual woman, a ‘femme fatale’, who hides her intentions behind her flocks and lures the men as easily as she flirtatiously plays with her hair.
Nuns shaved their heads to signify their willingness to sacrifice everything, including their femininity, to God. Orthodox Jewish brides did (and in some communities still do!) the same to devote themselves to a life of modesty. In many Christian traditions, women were forced to cover their hair when entering the church to symbolize their piousness and submission. In Muslim countries, women’s hair cannot be displayed in public. To some people, hair is so distracting, sexually arousing, and therefore sinful that it must be removed or hidden to avoid men falling into temptation and women living in sin.
Short is the new sexy!
In the 18th century, the French Revolution was a period of radical change in history, and, as a response to the new political climate, women adopted cropped haircuts. In the 1920s and 1960s, short hair was a symbol of rebellion and liberation, a big push back against the idea that women need to be taken care of and protected.
As we navigate the 21st century and as women gain more confidence and space, perceptions of their hair are also shifting. Short hair is gradually losing its revolutionary status and is less and less associated with a lack of sexual desire or political reasons. A daring haircut can denote power and ooze confidence, asserting female dominance and control over her body. We are reverting back to the 1920s when women got short bobs to look sexy.
Yes, a woman cutting her hair can also be perceived as a political statement. Anything that tries to redefine female beauty standards or femininity is a threat to the male-centered society because it means losing control and having to redefine what masculinity stands for or even coming to terms that the binary gender division is no longer a thing.
Uma Thurman in “Pulp Fiction”, Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”, Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby”, Victoria Beckam, Rianna and other celebrities have chosen to sport very short hair and men still kneel before them while women admire their boldness and wish to imitate them. These women are living proof that a nice haircut can emphasize beauty and sexiness, and it’s not synonymous with chastity or masculinity.
Tables are being turned – the traditional long-haired, sinful ‘femme fatale’ is giving way to a new self-assured woman who has full control over her body and sexuality and can turn men on with her power, not just her physical appearance.
At Fusion Movement, we support women in their choices over their bodies, and we encourage them to use their innate beauty and sensuality not to catch a man but to seduce and influence in and out of the bedroom.
Whether long or short, your hair is a powerful weapon in your erotic arsenal. Play with it and use it to assert your dominance!
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