“Are you doing this for a reason?” I turned my head to look at my mom from where I was sitting in the passenger seat. I could see our destination as we approached the hair salon.
“Excuse me?” is my immediate reaction
“Because,” she continues “you know we’ll support you no matter what.” Now I understood, but it didn’t make what she said any less wrong.
“Mom, I’m not a lesbian.” I clarified, feeling the situation getting very awkward, very fast. What she said got me to thinking…is that what people would automatically assume? I’m a girl getting a short haircut, so obviously it must mean something about my sexuality. I understood that’s what some people would think, people on the street perhaps, even a few of my friends had wondered when I told them about it, but I hadn’t expected my own mother to judge. I know people have certain standards and classification, and apparently girls with short hair fall under the category ‘Gay’.
My first encounter with this type of judgment was actually before I decided to cut my hair. Emma Watson had gotten her long, gorgeous hair cropped off. One of my friends had made a comment,
“She was so pretty, did she want to look like a boy?” The comment instantly had me getting defensive. One, because I like Emma Watson, two, because I don’t think people should be judged by their appearance.
“No. Maybe she just wanted some change, I think she looks great either way.” I didn’t really want to get into a fight about it, and my friend simply shrugged it off, but it kept bothering me. Obviously Emma’s intent wasn’t to look like a boy, she still dresses and looks like as much of a girl as she ever has. I thought about it, and found it to be quite empowering. It’s pretty much saying ‘look at me! I can be a beautiful female without the obvious sign of femininity!’ I was wondering what it would be like it I cut my own hair; it was getting a bit hard to take care of, after all.
“You look like a dude.” Lucia, my sister said as soon as I walked through the door. I brushed my newly cropped bangs away from my face to raise an eyebrow at her.
“No, I don’t.” I said simply, and promptly walked into my room to change out of my baggy jeans and jersey, and into my new white shorts and a pink shirt. I felt bad; I had just gone against everything getting my haircut stood for. Admittedly, I was worried; I thought ‘if I don’t wear feminine clothing with this new haircut, people would think I’m a guy.’ Even the next day, when I didn’t wear particularly ‘girly’ clothing, considering it was field day, I still wore makeup, which I rarely ever did.
I began to wear sweatpants and t-shirts again, more out of laziness than anything else. Some people commented, but I didn’t really care. People had referred to me as ‘butch’ before I got my hair cut. That was mostly due to my tomboyish nature, and it didn’t bother me until people started using it to judge me by my appearance. I ‘looked butch’ not just the way that I acted. That’s when the confusion came back, people just assumed that I was something that I wasn’t based on how I dressed, and how I styled my hair. Their image of a female was obviously different from mine, their image of a lesbian was obviously different from mine. In some cases, yes, it’s true that you can guess someone’s sexuality by the way that they dress, but it doesn’t mean that you should go around deeming every girl with short hair a lesbian.