Do We as Women Ever Really Have a Choice?
To dye or not to dye is the question of the ages. But it isn’t the only question.
I’ve been putting one form or another of chemical in my hair since I was at least 17. We had a pool growing up so my hair went blonde thanks to the chlorine. Then I added Sun In so it was blonder still. I stayed with the blonde look until some time in the ’90s. I was bored and talking it over with my fiancée who suggested I go red.
Red? Was he insane!? I had spent my entire life trying to be the exact opposite of my mother and now he thinks I should dye my hair the same color as hers. Yep. Time to call his doctor and have a deep, deep conversation about his mental status.
We had already determined that brown would be too mousey. Black would make me look like Morticia. I didn’t want to do the “crazy thing” like purple or blue. That left red. So I looked into it without making a commitment. I had no idea there were so many shades of red hair dye! Some looked like colors out of a Crayola box. Which by the way is why I decided to do it myself at home. The color selection at salons was laughable. I finally settled in on dark auburn. It wasn’t brassy or copper.
And wouldn’t you know it I loved it and kept it up until COVID hit over two years ago. From the ’90s to 2020 — that’s a long time and a lot of hair dye. But COVID hit and I couldn’t get a hair cut and my hair grew down my back long enough that I wasn’t willing to buy multiple boxes of color and have it slop all over the place and make a bigger mess than it normally did. So I stopped.
Until last week.
I could find my old friend so I opted for the next closest thing and got L’Oréal. It’s darker than I had anticipated and immediately did not like it. But I knew after a few washes it would settle down. I did notice however that I missed two important spots. Right in front of my ears. I must have had my glasses on when I started and then forgot to go back and do those areas once I got going. So now I’ve added a root touch-up to my online shopping cart.
I said all of that to say this (yes, I buried the lead). If you haven’t heard this story you need to.
As I was going through my little drama I happened upon this story of Lisa LaFlamme, a news anchor from Canada. She too had been coloring her hair for years and then decided she didn’t want to do it any longer. She was fired from her news anchor position that she had held for 35 years.
Here’s her story.
'Not my choice.' A TV anchor in Canada is ousted, and viewers ask: was sexism to blame?
From a makeshift studio and with a news anchor's measured tones, one of Canada's most familiar faces shocked viewers…
I recall telling more than one person at the time that I was no longer being treated like the stereotypical “blonde bimbo” but people started listening when I spoke and sought me out for my opinion on things. Maybe it was just my imagination or maybe I had more confidence after the change. The point is, with women anyway, hair color can and does matter.
Want more proof that it does matter? Here are several stories on the same subject.
Now we need to talk about Mahsa Amini.
Mahsa Amini was killed by the “morality police” (apparently the irony escapes them) when they stated she was not wearing her hijab correctly. Since then Iranian women have been taking to social media and cutting their hair. Some have been lighting fire to their hijabs.
I purposely used non-American and non-Middle East sources as I wanted no slant one way or another.
Mahsa was only 22 years old. She died in a hospital in Tehran after being in a coma for three days. She collapsed after being taken to a detention center to be “educated”. (BBC)
In solidarity with my sisters around the world, I went this morning and had my hair cut off. Additionally, I am NOT putting this piece behind the paywall. I’d like for us to start a movement. First on Medium, then the Internet, and then around the world. Please share this as much as you can. Since the movement began in Iran 14 more women have been murdered by the “morality police” because of their protesting.
Roe v Wade was a disgrace but at least for now we still have options. Or sisters are facing life and death.