ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I was talking with someone about hair as gender expression, and I happened to list a bunch of ways to explore this. I thought other folks might find this useful.

Some things people have found helpful in choosing a hairstyle that suits them:

* Know yourself. If you do not know yourself well and/or you are changing, then explore. When you know yourself, it is easier to figure out how to express that.




* Think about what gender means to you, and how you want to perform that. Your ideas may or may not match other people's ideas. That's okay. (Picking on each other over it is not.) Norms can provide inspiration but should not be taken as directives.






* Understand hair as part of identity. For some people this is less of an issue (men, white people), for others it can be very fraught (women, black people).





* Study vocabulary. Me, I do it so I can describe my characters. Hair color, length, texture, etc.

* Study extant options. There are endless supplies of hair fashion magazines for men and women, occasionally unisex will get an article or so. Online, similar resources exist.



* Study historic examples. Old paintings, photos, statues, etc. show how genderbenders of the past wore their hair.


* Experiment with personal looks. There are makeover sites that will upload a photo of you and then modify that to show different hairstyles or other stuff. Some folks find this very illuminating. Alternatively, you can achieve much the same effect by getting several sizes of personal photo, and cutting cool hairstyles out of magazines to mix and match, like a paper doll.



* Collect an idea book. Cut pictures out of catalogs or magazines when you like the hair, makeup, clothes, etc. Then look for patterns. Most people will have a preferred length or color of hair, favorite colors of clothes, certain garments they really like or hate, and so on.



* Watch for makeover parties. If you are super lucky you may even find a genderflexy one -- I saw one of those at a con once. These allow you to try all different shoes, clothes, wigs, hairstyles, makeup, anything someone brought to fool around with. They're cheap or free, and you can get lots of feedback.



* If you have special needs regarding sensory, communication, or chemical sensitivity issues associated with going to a conventional hairstylist, this will be much more challenging.  Sometimes it helps to call ahead, describe your needs, and ask if the facility has anyone willing/able to accommodate them.  Based on my observations and experiences, the answer is usually no: people will do whatever is convenient for them, not what the client needs, regardless of what they say.  However, a few people have reported very accommodating staff, so see if you can find recommendations for such in your area.  Network with other special needs people to share information about people who are genuinely helpful.  ZB recommends barber shops rather than hair salons, as they use fewer hair products, chatter less, and cut hair short without an argument.  The more sensitivities you have, though, the more advisable it is to seek a hairstyle which requires a minimum of maintenance and/or that you can do yourself.  Less cutting, less arguing, less chemicals means a happier you.

* Keep records. Write down, photograph, or draw things you like and dislike. That way you can keep track of your discoveries and make progress in an efficient manner. Plus, if you ever know someone else going through this, it may be useful in helping them.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-15 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] mashfanficchick
Oh, I LOVE this post! It says so much of what I've been trying to express lately, except much more eloquently and with super-useful links.

Interestingly, I just recently went from having life-long "femme" hair (ranging from a super-long ponytail to a shoulder-length "chop" to a chin-length bob and back again) to a much more androgynous style--somewhere between a pixie and an undercut), and it's changed my gender expression even more than I expected it would.

Quick (hah!) backstory: I identify as a mostly-cis, genderqueer female, whose main reason for not looking more butch than I generally do is sheer laziness. I'd been wanting to get my hair cut short for years, but the idea of the upkeep (I used to get my hair cut only a couple of times a year) always scared me off. Then Inauguration Day happened this year, and I got invited to the NYC Women's March. I really wanted to go, but I worried I couldn't trust myself not to do something rash. Solution: do something rash BEFORE the March, something that made its own "fuck you" statement. So, early on January 20th, I went to the salon and got a full foot of hair chopped off. Two hours later, I took my newly butch-haired self to the Women's March, out and proud in a way I hadn't been since Pride. Almost three months later, I still haven't had time to get a trim, but I've still never been happier with my hair.

Gender-wise, though...it's funny: I expected to feel more like "me" with my hair cut short, and I was 100% right. I also expected to feel more comfortable on my own skin, because changing something I could change would make it easier to ignore the things I couldn't. Right again. What I didn't expect was that having my hair cut in a butch/masculine/androgynous/etc. style would make me more comfortable presenting other parts of me as femme, because I suddenly felt like I was mixing and matching my gender expression to showcase how I feel, rather than trying to look like someone I'm not. So, all of a sudden, I'm fully comfortable in things like lacy (but comfy!) shirts, and (dark, bold, not-femme) makeup.

All of which is basically a long-winded way of saying "thank you for the interesting post you wrote, and here is some anecdotal data for you, even though the phrase 'anne formal data' should, theoretically, be an oxymoron."

identity and hair

Date: 2017-04-15 09:29 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I went through chemo last year, and yeah, I lost ALL my hair.

I did not care one bit, except that yeah, it meant I was colder than I ever like being. You know that old wives' tale about losing 80% of body heat through your head? (Technically, it's incomplete information based on really vicious experiments done by jerks who should have had their 'scientist' AND their 'human' cards revoked.) Rather than a percentage of body heat, I will say that I felt at least five degrees colder when not wearing a hat.

I have apparently never connected hair to gender, especially, and even when it came back in, I was hemming and hawing over how to style it when it's only "so long" (and measuring that in finger-widths) until I realized that the style I watched most on other people, regardless of gender, is extremely short, sort of a buzz cut with shaggy, messy top but very clean and short sides.

It's starting to grow out a bit, and now I'm looking forward to something different, just working toward the chin-length hair needed for an asymmetrical bob.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-15 04:38 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yes, useful.

Though right now my main hair issues is not choosing a style since I like my current basic look, just finding the time to put it up so as to keep it out of the way of Things that happen around small children.

Could you, would you, add a bit about experimenting with hair when there are sensory, communication, or chemical sensitivity issues associated with going to a conventional hairstylist? (I have all of the above.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-15 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've had some luck going to barbershops. The chemical sensitivity issue is usually solved anyway, as they don't use much (if any) chemical products. I don't know if that will help with the communication issue, as mine was also solved by going to a barbershop because they don't expect me to talk and they are willing to clip my hair short without fussing. :D


(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-15 06:18 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Thank you so much, ZB!

Re communication:

Normally I can do *words* just fine. Extensively and eloquently, even.

And then when Bad Overwhelming Things happen I just ... can't. Earlier today mid-meltdown I got 'stop stop freeze leave me alone' out and was rather proud of it tbh (it worked, thankfully, and I got my breathing back together and was able to move on) although saying that to my beloved&understanding partner ... because her putting a glass of water on the table was Cannot Process given how emotional and overwhelmed I already was at that point ... would be Much Less Embarrassing if I'd managed to have a meltdown somewhere less public than the local coffee shop. < sarcasm > THANKS brain. < / sarcasm > At least I know that this is just ... a thing that happens, like a cough or a bad headache, and as much as it sucks, it doesn't have to control my life; I will go back there for coffee when I like, and *rude gesture* to anyone who has an issue with it. But yes, making small talk with a stranger while they did things to my hair would be ... undesirable.

So yes. Thank you so much for treating this as a legitimate issue.

Re other stuff: Thanks. If I did go to a commercial place I might look at a barber shop first unless I could find an intentionally queer-friendly location. (I live in Portland; it could happen.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-15 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
No, I get it. I get bad pain days when I can't remember words. And stressful environments make it worse. So a place where I don't have to talk is good.

IDK, the barber shop I go to is pretty queer-friendly. At least they don't treat me as *female*, since I'm not presenting that way. But then, I'm in Seattle.


(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-15 06:57 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Thanks for the additional details.

Re: Well...

Date: 2017-04-15 11:09 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline

Re: Well...

Date: 2017-04-16 07:27 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
>> One of the weirder things that resulted was the automatic soap dispenser going nuts and squirting soap at random. I finally snapped "Stop! Just stop!" at it. <<

That is a weird effect, but seems to be in line with some of the other things that go haywire around a high-energy Bard.

Sorry it was so frustrating, though. I really dislike the way that the knock-on effect of routine annoyances becoming overwhelming in the wake of something bad extends the total period of distress and reduced function, and endorse taking a break as a coping skill for this.

>> ... while my partner was also speaking to me.

So yeah, shit happens. People who love you, deal with it, because you deal with them when they're out of spoons. <<

Thankfully. I'm glad we both have people in that role.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2017-04-16 06:43 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

October 2017

1 2 34 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 1718192021

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags