Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Cut Off My Hair

The first time I chopped all my hair off, I was ten years old, firmly ensconced in my long-lasting tomboy phase wherein I refused any and all attempts to dress me “like a girl” and shopped exclusively in the boys section. I thought I looked fantastic. Everyone else apparently thought I looked confused. Either that, or the haircut and the clothes confused them—I can’t count the number of times the man at the bowling alley asked my mother what size shoes her two sons wanted.

I grew out of the tomboy phase by the end of junior high, and from then until my first year of college I refused to cut my hair any higher than my shoulders. Most of those years were spent with my hair hanging down to my waist and sticking to my face and skin in the shower. I had the classic prom updos and the high ponytail for volleyball games, and I familiarized myself with all sorts of medieval torture devices disguised as curling irons and straighteners.

Maybe I'd have had more fun if my curling iron looked this awesome. (via Bangstyle)


To this day, I hold that there’s nothing ickier than a curling iron burn peeling and oozing in the middle of your forehead. But I digress.

Senior year of high school, I came out. I held off on cutting my hair for a while, but as the one-year anniversary of my coming out approached, I realized I was yearning for an outward display of my queer self—specifically, for an alternative-lifestyle haircut. Ah, the alternative haircut! The ultimate self-styling of the fashion-conscious dyke! The unmistakable sign of the lady-loving lady! I dreamed endlessly of mohawks, buzz cuts, and that awesome haircut Shane had in Season 2 and 3 of The L Word.

Everybody's dreamgirl. (via Citypages)


So I drove to my salon, marched in with a few pictures (tastefully found in a Google search for “dyke haircut”), and got my hair chopped off. Since that first dyke pixie cut, I’ve experimented with various styles: spiked in the front, short with a semi-faux hawk, mostly short with bangs dangling onto my eyes, and my current half-buzzed undercut. And god-DAMN, do I feel good about myself.

It hasn’t all been easy—I’ve struggled equally with finding the right kind of gel-goop to style my hair and with coming to terms emotionally with the unexpected implications of my hair experimentation. A recent haircut, chopped in a far-too-feminine way by my stylist, left me in confused tears outside the salon, wondering how she could possibly have read me so wrongly. I hadn’t realized until that moment how much having truly queer hair meant to me.

You see, I’m femme—even high femme—in identity and presentation, and I’ve struggled since coming out with striking the right balance between femme and invisible just as I’ve struggled with trying to present myself as pansexual rather than as straight or gay. My struggle with my haircut has been more than just a journey of self-styling, because it’s paralleled my growing desires to be read “correctly” by friends, lovers, and strangers. The “right” kind of dyke hair lets women know that I’m down with the lady-sex while still allowing for the possibility of hetero attraction; it lets me wear sundresses, glitter, and high heels without seeming normative in any sense of the word.

I want to hang this on my wall… so badly. (via Girl Things)


I love my hair like I love my identity. And isn’t that funny?

I recently had coffee with my serious ex from high school, and after catching up and sipping lattes for an hour, we ended up in his car, kissing like the teenagers we’d once been. A couple minutes in, he pulled back. Keeping his hand on the side of my face, he sighed. “I miss your old hair.”

And there it was. One little statement about my hair, and every reason we’d broken up came rushing back. He misses my old hair like he misses the person I used to be, and I wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world. We’re not meant to be together, partially because the queer womyn I am today—embodied by my badass hair—isn’t the confused “straight” girl he dated, and he can’t accept that.

And besides, we’re clearly not meant to be together if he doesn’t see how fabulous I look with this haircut. I mean, come ON.

About AlannaLaFemme

To learn all about me, see this post I wrote as an introduction to being a new contributor for QueerieBradshaw.com: http://www.queeriebradshaw.com/introducing-alanna-lafemme-our-latest-contributor-addition/
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7 Responses to Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Cut Off My Hair

  1. Barbara says:

    Why is there one kind of queer hair (i.e. short hair, which is recognized generally as masculine in our culture)? Why, as a queer femme do you believe that there really is ONE kind of queer haircut and it is short (masculine?)? Why does having short hair make you “a badass” or not “normative in any sense of the word”? Does that mean long hair on a womyn would be non-badass or normative? I agree that hair can define us, for ourselves, and I’m glad you’ve found a haircut that makes you feel seen and affirmed and beautiful and powerful. But I feel so so hurt by the lack of examination about what makes hair queer or badass. Basically, masculine-typical length and butch/andro cut is what makes hair queer, according to this piece and general queer wisdom. As a queer femme with hair down to her waist, I’d like to expand that understanding. Hair styles seen as traditionally feminine in our culture (long) are queer too, just as all of our reclaimed femmey things are queer. Just as queer. Differently queer. i think any choice in presentation that makes someone feel awesome is pretty on-point, badass, and even queer, but what is REALLY badass and queer is challenging these kinds of subtle standards that enforce queer misogyny in our communities.

    • AlannaLaFemme says:

      I absolutely do not think that short hair is the only queer hair — for me, in my journey, cutting my hair off ended up being hugely symbolic, but queer (dyke) hair is immensely diverse and I didn’t at all mean to give the impression that short hair is the only “legitimate” queer presentation by only presenting my personal experiences with it. What makes hair queer or badass isn’t its length: it’s any hair which makes you feel complete in your identity and presentation, not just short/masculine of center hair.

      I, “as a queer femme,” feel that short hair best expresses my struggles with that identity. My hair, though short, is far from masculine — it’s very feminine (or, more accurately, femme). I also find it more comfortable when it’s off my neck and I don’t have to style it in the mornings. I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I think there’s only “one kind of queer haircut”: I should have been clearer that there’s only one kind of comfortable, affirming haircut for me.

      I apologize once again if you felt at all marginalized or ignored by this piece — in only presenting my personal experience, I clearly neglected to define the boundaries of that experience and seemed to generalize about queer hair for everyone. The real narrative here isn’t about the shortness of my hair, but rather the affirmation of identity that I found within it. Tweak the title and a couple sections, and this could be a piece about affirming, gorgeous, femme, queer long hair.

    • I agree with you, it is REALLY badass and queer to challenge the standards of beauty, femininity and sexuality, which is exactly why I think Alanna LaFemme wanted to cut her hair and try out a new non-traditionally femme cut. I, myself, love having a traditionally “butch” hair cut while wearing a dress.

      As far as one kind of queer hair, I don’t think there is one single kind of queer hair, but I do think there are haircuts that queer people tend to have, even queers with long hair or more traditionally feminine cuts.

      We will actually be examining what it means to have “queer hair” a lot on this site coming up, so the lack of examination in Alanna’s post was due to the further examination of the issue that we will be having. We’re trying to let our readers tell their perspectives of what their hair means to them, but we’ll also do a longer piece about what hair means to queers in general later. We’d love your input if you want to write something about what “queer hair” means to you.

      So, what I’m essentially saying is, we agree with you! Queers can have hair of any kind they want to express their identity, this is just the kind that felt the best and most queer to Alanna.

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