hair and makeup, please
I was sitting with my ma when I told her I wanted to get portfolio photos taken so I could apply for minor acting and host roles, when she turned and said to me “You’d better stop shaving your head then.” We all know that I have a history of cutting my hair very short after an extended ordeal (or burst of spontaneity) with my inner self about what beauty really means. My recent attack, if you will, was after discovering tumblr page, fuck yeah, girls with short hair, and not being able to walk away without a refreshing snip and shave to my own locks.
So naturally, my mum’s comments really got me thinking. My immediate response to her was, of course, “Why?”, and after a little more thought, perhaps there isn’t much more to it then that, though a few more points came to mind.
My following thoughts delved into the the way we feed society’s perception of beauty by buying it ourselves. If I think that’s what the media industry wants and that’s how I perceive myself, am I being honest about who I really am? No, not at all. But this reminds me of a moment a few months back when my sister and I went to a student media pass day where we listened to a panel of journalists from all different backgrounds to get their feedback and ideas about working in the industry. One of the young girls spoke about her journey into an internship for on-camera work and remarked that she had not passed the first round and that the next year she “wore a shitload more make-up”. It felt like my sister and I were the only ones not laughing in the room, and why? Because finding the humour in a long term issue of a woman’s looks over a woman’s performance just wasn’t funny to us. Although it was obvious that she meant it as a comment in passing, it meant a lot more to us.
From this, I have drawn that not only are there social expectations for a woman’s size, there is also unconscious pressure about our hair and face too that we, as women, unintentionally fuel with our jokes, comments and actions. The line between the image of women that are dressing for themselves and dressing for others may seem quite small on first glance (because I do not have anything personal against people who wear ‘shitloads’ of makeup or do not shave their heads) but in reality this attention to detail in the smallest of actions we make can see the difference in motives.
I wonder would my ma have made the same comment if it were my brother who had said it? What would be the challenges that he would face if it was his decision? I guess this is just another barrier that we need to be aware of in order to take a different path into seeking truth and equality and challenge you to look deeper beyond the inital moment of ‘beauty’ and discover the real motives in your actions.
As for my ma, I replied firmly and honestly, that “I’m determined to be famous for who I am”, slightly jokingly, and I guess that means people will either adore my attitude towards social stereotypes about what women should look like by my unpredictable but completely irrelevant stint of random hair cutting, or not.
As for the famous thing, I guess you’ll have to wait and see.
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