Generally speaking, I don’t like to comment on peoples’ appearances much on this blog. You wouldn’t go up to random people and start criticizing their looks, so it seems similarly rude to do so in a public forum. It’s true that I occasionally do talk about it, as in this post, but I justify that by saying (1) it was about appearances as they related to politics, and (2) it was about politicians, who are sociopaths whose feelings can’t be hurt.
But for the most part, I try not to go around playing “hot or not” just for fun–people pay enough attention to surface appearances as it is, and this blog is supposed to be about examining the less-obvious things in the world, and the subtle points that people too easily miss.
This post is going to be about looks, though–and it’s even going to involve one particular lady’s looks. (I am especially hesitant to blog about women’s appearances, since I think they tend to be judged on those too much as it is.) I’m only doing it because I think it’s a good jumping-off point for sociological and cultural discussions, and because the lady in question already discussed the topic on her own blog, which I think (at least, I hope) means she does not mind a polite public discussion of it. But before I get to the point, I’ll need to give some background.
Felicia Day is an internet celebrity, popular especially among gamers because she is not only pretty, but also a gamer. This, of course, makes her very popular with many male gamers. She’s been in several online video series, including starring in the show The Guild, which she also wrote.
I mainly like watching her show Co-optitude, where she and her brother play multi-player games. It’s a very funny show. (be warned: lots of profanity, only some of which is censored.) Here is a recent interview with her for those unfamiliar with her:
Anyway, though, the point is she had a lot of male gamer fans, until one day, she cut her hair short. Well, ok–she still has a lot of male gamer fans, including yours truly, but according to this post on her blog, she started losing some, who complained that her new short haircut made them lose interest in her.
She linked to this article by Laurie Penny about why short hair on women is a political statement. That article is itself a response to another article called “Girls With Short Hair are Damaged” by someone called “Tuthmosis”.
At this point, I should like to pause briefly for an editorial comment: there may be many articles on the internet about celebrity haircuts. But what site besides Ruined Chapel gives you assigned reading in the course of such an article?
Now, there are lot of interesting points in all these posts. For starters, I don’t buy Penny’s idea that a woman cutting her hair short is a political statement. I know conservative Republican housewives who cut their hair short because they find it more practical and convenient.
But what I really want to focus on is this: in the “Girls With Short Hair” article, “Tuthmosis” asserts that long hair is “almost universally attractive to men.” And Penny, in her feminist response to that article, implicitly agrees with this assertion. She views short hair, therefore, as women rejecting the notion they need to please men, whereas “Tuthmosis” views it as a negative thing.
What I want to examine is whether the assertion is even true. It is qualified with the word “almost”, which may be enough to save it, but I want to see the data backing it up. I say this because I am one of those men who find short hair more attractive. I don’t mean this in some high-minded “it’s attractive when a woman asserts her independence” sort of way (although I do think that as well.) I mean that at a very fundamental level, I find women with short hair to be, for lack of a better word, “prettier” than those with long hair.
My personal opinion does not prove the assertion false. I am the “almost”. (I might even say, “I am the 1%”) Even so, the fact that such an exception as myself exists admits the possibility of this taste for long hair changing, and short hair being preferred.
But while I may be in the minority, I’m by no means convinced I’m in as small a minority as that. And anyway, if the 1% elites are allowed to control every other aspect of society, why not hairstyles as well?
I’m kidding. But really, is long hair that overwhelmingly preferred?