The article The Mohawk made me want to share a similar but also very different story. I, a young man, have long hair, and many assumptions about me are made because of this. To me, however, it wasn’t “just hair” from the start. Around sixth grade, I decided that I would drastically change my lifestyle and my view towards other people, hopefully becoming more mature. To celebrate this, I decided to grow my hair longer to show I wasn’t afraid of being different. To my surprise, this was met with praise by some. My parents and their friends thought it made me look like a rock star, and that I should grow it longer. But it also became a source of pain, sometimes even from people with good intentions. I’ve been mistaken for a girl on countless occasions, even by some who have heard me tell them I’m a guy. Some people have even thought I was gay and trying to act like a woman. Just last Christmas, I was playing around with my cousin who I see once a year. Right before he left, he said, “Next time I see you, your hair’s gotta be short.” I knew that he was just joking, but didn’t that translate into, “Your hair length doesn’t fit your gender, so you need to change it for me to accept you”? Wanting people to fit their gender role is nothing short of sexism. People have even gotten angry at me, saying “What, short hair’s not good enough for you?” I’ve been considering changing my hair length for other reasons, but now it seems as if that would be giving up and fitting those people’s archaic views. Now, if one of the first things people say about me is something negative about my hair, I know that they’re the type of person who will forever be trapped by their own ideas about appearance and conforming. I’m glad that The Mohawk inspired me to write this piece, as it’s been a problem I’ve faced for three years now.
The Mohawk Feedback
March 7, 2013