I Cut My Hair, And Now I’m Crazy

When a woman cuts her hair, everyone thinks she's gone off the deep end - but I just wanted a change.

collage of tabloids reporting Britney Spears' "breakdown"
photo by: Vanity Fair

I cut my hair. Two weeks ago I had long flowing waves down my back, the longest it had ever been. It had gotten too long to hold in claw clips or normal-sized hair ties, and strands would clog my drain and form little nests in my laundry. In summer, the heat was unbearable and my neck was covered in a perpetual layer of sweat. But I looked good.


Now it’s October. The leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground, taking their weight off of the trees’ branches. I sat down at my desk and stared into the mirror. I brushed my long brown hair and then tied it into four parts around my neck. I took out scissors from the drawer and cut each piece right above the ties.


It was over before I had realized what I was doing. Now my hair waves around my ears and you can see my neck. It flops and moves and can’t be held by any clip or band. And I think it looks good.


When I came into class the next day, my professor looked at me and said, “Nice hair, did you have a mental breakdown this weekend?”


I laughed and said that my mind is fine and I was just looking for change, but I keep thinking about his words. I now have four long ponytails sitting in my desk drawer, which could definitely be a source of concern, but I just cut my hair. It doesn’t go any deeper.

haircutting scene from the movie "Gone Girl"
photo by: "Gone Girl" via Screen Queens

When a woman cuts her hair it’s a sign of crisis. I’m 2007, Britney Spears shaved her head and the entire world thought that she had gone crazy. Her loss of hair was the epitome of her “madness”: partying, hitting cars, getting rid of her long hair. Her hair change wasn’t craziness, but a tactical move. Britney later said that she was sick of people touching her hair and controlling her life with her conservatorship and image. Her hair wasn’t a sign of her losing her mind, but of her attempt to take control of her reality.


The next week, in my same class, a member of the men’s lacrosse team came in with shorter hair. Not a single word was said. It went unnoticed because he is supposed to have short hair. I identify as a woman, so I should not.


Loss of hair is seen as a loss of femininity, but with nothing to hide behind and the confidence that short hair has brought me, I think I feel more secure in myself and my expressions of femininity than ever before. Maybe I’m crazy, but I know I look good.