“THE BIGGER THE HAIR, THE CLOSER TO GOD” A PHRASE MANY OF US HAVE HEARD COUNTLESS TIMES. IN MODERN SOCIETY, A WOMAN’S HAIR IS BELIEVED TO BE HER CROWN.
Corinthians 11:6 reads, “if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering ” and something that is gloriousÂ should be given special care and attention, which means that women are not allowed to cut their hair. Unsurprisingly, this sentiment is shared across different religions, all over the world.
My relationship with hair has always been an exploratory one. I have experimented with different hairstyle and for me that just emphasized that my hair is a mere extension of who I am. The belief that a woman is defined by her hair is one that I hugely contest; it polices women and limits them from what and who they want to be.
After I cut my hair this year, I felt like I got rid of a heavy burden, my long hair carried me through a break up with my paternal father, two break ups with romantic partners, and a dark period of my life which entailed passive suicidal ideation. Keeping my hair long could have represented the perseverance of character and hope through the obstacles of life, however, as I wrote this, I experienced tings of nostalgia of when I was going through what would prove to be the most painful period of my life.
I had to cut my hair for me to heal and allow for a new chapter to be introduced into my life; it felt heavy on me and the cut would then signify letting go of everything that had happened.
Banyana Mshungu from Witpootjie, Gauteng echoed my reasons for going short:
â€œWhen I turned 24, it was a ripe time for me to transition into a new phase of who I was becoming and for me to do that, I had to release and remove all that it is that reminded me of my previous life. My longer hair reminded me of my past, it carried me throughout the years and I had to shed that off for me to go into my new year.â€ she says.
â€œIt made me cling on to the fact that my beauty goes beyond length of hair. My beauty resonates from inside and it protrudes itself in whatever hairstyle I choose to embody.â€
Enhle Khumalo (24) from Noorwood, had similar reasons for cutting her for the first time in 5 years:
â€œOutside of wanting to start afresh, I cut my hair because I wanted peace of mind from the humdrum of hair routines and stressing over length. I also wanted to liberate myself from watering a dead thing â€“ my hair felt unhealthyâ€, she said.
What a fresh cut has always done for me is open room for a new chapter in my life. Being able to let go of long hair and the connotations that come with it forced me to question my ideas of beauty and as a result powered the urgency for self-acceptance. As a woman who has cut her hair in search of answers, I hope to mark a new beginning of life, this write up is my testimony that yes, it works. Everything else falls into place.
We should be allowed to sing to our own beat. I am intentional in normalising womenâ€™s beauty in whatever form it chooses to present itself.