I just had a conversation with someone which I realize in retrospect that I have had and heard several times but have not really paid attention to.
A colleague just had her hair cropped short. She looks several years younger – like she had undergone a facelift. We got into the question of why she hadn’t done it sooner and she shared her story.
Her husband prefers long hair, so since they have been together, she has been keeping her hair long-ish to keep her man happy. A few years ago, she felt restless and wanted to cut her hair. This was her normal practice when she was single. She actually prefers to wear her hair short and free of extensions. Let’s just say that she met with a lot of resistance so she kept the peace by keeping her hair on her head and the extensions in.
Recently, the restlessness reared its head again and she pulled out all the tricks in the book (pleading, threatening, pouting e.t.c) before she finally wrangled very reluctant permission from her husband to get a hair cut. She says she finally feels liberated.
Now, this is a story which a lot of us (especially Africans), have heard time and time again and perhaps have come to view as normal.
The female cannot make major changes to her hairstyle at will. It must always be done with the consent of her husband/boyfriend. Sure, you can part your hair to the left or to the right at will but if you want to
- Go natural
- Go from natural to relaxed
- Stop wearing weaves/extensions altogether or even start wearing weaves/extensions
- Loc your hair
Then you definitely need a nod from the man in your life. In fact, some women need to be sure that their partner is on board with every step they take to change their appearance (e.g. deciding to have make-up free days or to begin wearing make-up).
However, the reverse is not the case. I have never heard of a man asking for permission from his wife to change his hairstyle. They may talk about it, but there is no question that consent is needed. One may, of course, argue that men rarely can’t do much with their hair so there is no need to gain consent. Even if this was the case, I personally do not believe that men would actually seek consent. The liberal ones may discuss it, but it ends there. The choice is basically theirs what they want to do.
Do you find this normal? Do you find this to be right?