Shaving, being bold, a political stance, or a new beauty trend?
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Shaving, being bold, a political stance, or a new beauty trend?

It takes courage and confidence for a woman to shave her head. However, there are many people in our society who see it with a bad eye and call a shaved lady a “gangster” or masculine. I believe women and men should have the freedom to cut or keep their hair and live the way they feel it.

The concept of beauty differs across communities, but hair plays a very important role in the realm of beauty. It is often the center of debates on beauty even though it has deep cultural and spiritual meanings for some. To reach the wished preestablished beauty standard women invest themselves a lot, emotionally and economically in their hair. Costs involved range from salon fees, extensions, to hair care products. This is especially the case for black women whose investment in beauty product exceed other races’.

Hair styling is personal business but also can also be a matter of faith or convenience

One thing that has fascinated me in the world of beauty, more than the range of hair extensions available for black women, is hair shaving. Going bold seems to be the new cool trend of our generation and many of us do not hesitate to get rid of our meticulously and painfully grown hair. Yet, shaving is about much more than being hairless and having a shining skull.

Throughout my life I have seen people shave for different reasons including cultural, spiritual and convenience purposes. In some culture, women shave their hair out of respect for the death of their husband or biological parents. In others, hair is shaved as a religious ritual asking deities for a favor in return of the offered hair.  Some African countries have instructed that all girls shave their head to save “valuable” time spent on braiding them, and use that time to study.

Independent, bold, and hairless ladies

On the other end of the spectrum are the fierce, independent, and self-loving ladies who choose a life free from hair to express their identities. In this group there are quiet a number who choose this unconventional style as a political stance against patriarchy and how it confines women in a space and mindset of harmful beauty standard. Meanwhile, some opt for shaving out of convenience as it offers the possibility of saving time, money, and other resources.

Personally, as a black African woman, I believe we should not constrain individuals nor impose certain views of beauty and hairstyle on us. This is important because as we say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and we can all be beautiful in different ways and shapes. Let’s be open and welcoming of those who choose not to follow social rules and norms of beauty.

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