On Femininity

Last week, I got a hair cut. Scratch that. I cut most all my hair off. I now sport something like a pixie, I have curly hair so adjust your mental image appropriately.

To answer the most common questions I got this past week:

  • Yes, I got a hair cut.
  • Yes, it’s mostly all gone.
  • No, nothing drastic happened.
  • Yes, it is much nicer in the summer heat.
  • Yes, I’ve had my hair this short before, and it’s been about ten years.
  • Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t.

When I first left the salon on Friday, I was honestly on the verge of tears. I didn’t look how I thought I would look. That’s been a theme of my life since I decided to stop dieting for good. Then I showered, and I styled my hair the way I wanted it, and I felt better.

Today, the day I write this, is the first day I’ve felt good in my hair. I realized there are slight tweaks I want to make. Things that would make my haircut feel more me and less alien. Until I can go back in, I’m just styling my hair to match. I feel empowered.

I’ve noticed, though, that with short hair, I am more drawn to wearing feminine clothes: dresses, skirts, feminine tops. It’s annoying if only because I still have a pretty minimalist wardrobe, and this decision to throw myself out of balance, has caused a scramble of sorts with my clothes.

You see, with long hair, I fell into a comfortable rhythm of wearing t-shirts and jeans, an aesthetic I love. When I got bored, I’d throw on a dress, or a skirt, a scarf, or a necklace. But it was easy and carefree, and it felt very me. And my hair, my long curly hair, served as its own accessory. That’s why I could go so simple, my hair was a statement piece in and of itself.

But my hair was also a clear message to everyone: I am a woman.

It’s true, with less hair, I feel more seen, and that causes some discomfort for me. I also feel less feminine, and that causes a different kind of discomfort.

I have been intrigued by femininity for a few weeks now. What is it that makes me feel feminine? Is it thinness and frailty? Makeup and jewelry? Long locks and smooth legs? Dresses and skirts?

The truth is, I don’t know.

I do know, or think I know, that I like striking some balance between feminine and not. I had found that balance with long hair and t-shirts and jeans. I had stopped shaving, just to see if it made me feel less feminine. It didn’t, in that balance, with my long hair. Now it does.

It’s as if there is a set of scales and so long as I have enough things on the feminine side, I’m in the clear. So now it seems that there are two things I want to explore:

  1. Am I feeling femininity-related discomfort because society tells me I need to have enough feminine markers to be worthy?
  2. What feminine markers do I genuinely enjoy and which do I partake in because I feel obligated to?

So I guess that’s one of the many things I’m going to explore for a little while. I’m not sure what I’ll find, but I have a feeling it’ll help create the more intentional life that I am striving for.




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