Should I teach my son about female empowerment by shaving my head?

26 September 2016
When my small family moved to my hometown of Newcastle in 2012, I did a grown up thing I'd been wanting to do in the many years since I became a grown up: I got my own hairdresser. I mean a proper hairdresser where we knew each others' names, and I returned regularly, and she knew my quirks and didn't mind if I stared and my lap, and she didn't even make me feel squirmingly uncomfortable, like all the hairdressers I'd visited previously, from $10 cuts at Central Station to the time I spent $120 for a basic haircut in Newtown (oy vey, those were the days of plentiful disposable income - I want to go back in time and slap myself silly for not saving). Hair length went up and down. A fringe was acquired. I looked presentable - a small miracle.

But at the end of 2014, I made the fateful decision to accompany my husband to Sydney to try and save our marriage. It didn't work, and as if that wasn't bad enough, I lost my hairdresser. And until I finally got the split ends seen to a few weeks back, I haven't had a haircut since. 

My hair is now midway down my back, and with my sensory issues, pissing me off. I hate washing it. I hate brushing it. I hate turning over in bed and having my head yanked back by my plait. My sister is getting married this week, so I figured I'd leave my hair so as to look respectable in the photos, but then, well...

 It hit me. I was going to shave my head!

A few reasons for doing this. I want to try everything once, and this has been in the back of my mind for many years. Also it would mean discarding my bleached-and-coloured-over-and-over locks hair! Oh, the possibilities! Platinum! And all those gorgeous tints. (Of course this would create a fresh bleached mess, but we'll get to that). Alas my hair is too damaged to consider donating, so I was just going to do it at home, maybe filming the whole thing to post here.

There's just one problem. Mister G, who is now five (can you fucking believe it), refuses to let me. He says my hair is pretty and if I shave my head I'll look like a monster. He won't be budged.

I have mixed feelings on this. As a child, I hated when my mother got her hair cut, which she did a lot (it was the 1980s and like every other young woman, she was trying to emulate Princess Diana). My tears when she returned from the salon have passed into family legend. And I may or may not have - oh God, this is embarrassing - cried when my ex got his first haircut of our courtship. So I get it. I don't want to upset him unnecessarily. We practice respectful parenting. He has a voice. We respect his opinions. And he's still so young.

Or am I just teaching my son, who will grow up to be a man*, that he has the right to control women's bodies? By meekly obeying his order not to shave my head, will he learn women's appearances are his to judge, monitor and control?

Am I over thinking this? I'm over thinking this, aren't I. I'm leaning towards waiting a couple months and seeing if his view changes. Six months ago, he was so into Transformers the teachers and kids at preschool called him Bumblebee at his request; now he has moved on to a world of Mixels, the Transformers sitting in their boxes. And it could well be the same for my hair. Shaving my head to teach my son a lesson about empowerment seems a bit unnecessary. Growing up with two Greens voting parents with degrees in the humanities, I'm hoping he won't be exposed to misogynist views too much. But you never know. I don't know. Respond to the poll in the sidebar or leave your comments below (or be a devil and do both, treat yourself).

* Despite his age, we're fairly sure he's cis.


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