Emotional Attachment to Hair

There are people who claim that hair is just hair and nothing to fuss about. But to many women (and men) hair is so much more. The thought of shaving one’s hair off is something that many women wouldn’t even do for the offer of 1 million euros. Due to the fear of something going wrong some will avoid getting their hair cut by anyone but their regular hair dresser. Or they will refuse to color their hair for the fear of the color coming out bad. Time and time again women express their attachment to long hair. They will even go so far as to refuse to cut off damaged hair due to this fear of losing length.

In the natural hair community, there is a lot of talk about the big chop (BC) vs transitioning. The big chop is as the name states when most of the hair is chopped off to start fresh with a new growth of natural hair to get rid of the relaxed ends. Some BC purely to “restart” their hair journey for whatever reason, it may be that their hair is too damaged from heat or color, or they just want a “do-over.” Others will decide to let their relaxed hair grow out over time and trim off a little every month or so as their natural hair grows in. This is called transitioning. Some choose to transition rather than to BC because they don’t feel comfortable in short hair or don’t think they’ll look good in short hair. For many women, both these processes can be very emotional and challenging. Obviously, BCing is a more drastic change than transitioning but it’s the change that usually holds a lot of emotions.

Emotional Attachment to Hair
Emotional Attachment to Hair

Personally, I have BCed a couple of times throughout my life. Only one of them was to get rid of my relaxer. But all of them had emotions attached to them, a sense of letting go and starting something new. Thinking of BCing always brings back that scene in Waiting To Exhale where Angela Bassett’s character Bernadine first sets all her husband’s clothes on fire and then goes to the hair salon to cut her hair. First, her hair dresser and friend Gloria (Loretta Davine) refuses to cut it, but then Bernadine takes the scissors and cuts her hair herself. To me that part of the movie is incredibly powerful. And watching this as a teenager and young woman I could relate to her pain. Though I had never been cheated on by a husband (and pray I never will) I could understand how much pain Bernadine was in because not only did she burn his clothes in the heat of the moment but she cut her long beautiful hair off. This to me was the most powerful statement, she needed to let go of the past which was her long hair.

There seems to be people that don’t want to admit their emotional attachment to their hair because they don’t want to seem vain. But if we start seeing hair for what it is, something that is part of our body, then maybe being emotionally attached to our hair will be seen as more ok and become widely accepted.