Mom Ponders Haircut: "I Have Kind Of A Pinhead…"


Alex Kuczynski‘s had a controversial career, veering between legit (if oft-infuriating) journalist and the time-honored path of professional self-absorbed person. We’ve talked plastic surgery, we’ve talked surrogacy. But now she’s tackling a new Issue: should she cut her hair?!

While the question (filed under “Obsessions”) is of no interest to almost anyone else, the context is, in fact, worth looking at: Kuczynski points out that long hair has classically been associated with the young, the fertile, the pre-maternal, whereas as soon as the marriage – or baby -comes, the hair goes up, or away. Orthodox women chop or cover it, Medieval women donned a wimpole, and need we even mention nuns? In pop culture, the commercial mom generally has a spunky short cut – a reflection of the no-fuss do that caring for young children generally demands. And so, it makes sense that long, lush virginal locks should become as desirable as any of the other much-prized indications of youth. Oh, and, as the author points out, men like it.

So what, you’re wondering, is the outcome of her soul-searching?

I have kind of a pinhead and I wonder if short hair in middle age will make me look like a castoff from Tod Browning’s “Freaks.” A friend encouraged me to cut off a foot and a half (untreated, because who has time to go to the hairdresser when you’re pregnant or taking care of a toddler?) and donate it to Locks of Love. I will feel a great relief in doing so, but I also wonder, selfishly, if I will lose my feminine identity. Hair was my thing. Now my children have moved into first place.

If you’re a glass-half-full type, I suppose you could regard it as some kind of triumph that actually having (and presumably, carrying) a visible child is no indication itself of “feminine identity.” And maybe the author’s touching on some very real issues of the identity sacrifice a mother is expected to make upon having children – a pernicious dichotomy expressed in every chicken nugget commercial on TV. Or, maybe, she really just wanted to talk about her haircut.

Obsessions | The Delilah Complex
[New York Times]

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