The right to cut my hair

My 2015 passport photo

It’s a passport photo, not a mugshot.

Back when I was a kid, it was my mom who decided on my hairstyle. Understanding I was something of a tomboy, she mercifully kept my hair pretty short, though I have (un-digitized and therefore un-shareable) photographic evidence that she forced me into a dress more often than I liked.

But when I hit junior high, I asserted my independence … from my mother, that is. Not from the other girls in my class. Peer pressure and all. I wanted to look like them, so I started growing my hair out. Of course, it didn’t — wouldn’t — look as nice as theirs, no matter what remedies I tried. Sponge rollers, hot combs, straight perms. My hair rippled like a washboard.

It was several more years, shortly after my high school graduation in 1973, before I learned to embrace my hair in its natural wavy state. Friends advised me to cut it, or to grow it all one length, straighten it, braid it in cornrows. But it was mine, and I felt I had the right to wear it however I wanted. That same year, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed my right in the landmark case, Row v. Wave.

So for the next 30 years or so, I joined women all over America who wore their hair in a variety of styles — long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, streaming, gleaming, flaxen, waxen.

But then I began to sense an undercurrent of dissent rising from the voices of those who believed, as their Bible told them, that if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. Fine, I thought. They could choose long hair if they wanted. But they wanted to choose my hairstyle too, and began electing representatives who promised to legislate restrictions on hair-cutting. Little by little, these legislators — most of whom were men — have chipped away at my right to choose.

Before I knew it, I was having to run a gauntlet of angry pro-grow protestors just to get to my salon — strangers shoving disgusting photos of matted hairbrushes and clogged shower drains in my face. More than once, I accidentally ended up in a “crisis hair center” that turned out to be a stable of Bible-thumpers who pressured me to let my hair grow because it was what their God wanted.

And I’ve noticed there are a lot fewer salons now. Some of my friends have to drive 12 hours to make an appointment in person, and then wait for three days before getting a haircut. I have to go for frequent cuts, because my state has a law that says once my hair reaches a certain length, I can’t cut it at all!

But it’s worse than that, so much worse: Hair-cutting providers are being threatened and even killed!

The consequence of all these arbitrary barriers and anti-choice violence is obvious: More and more women have started having their hair cut and styled in back rooms. Unlicensed stylists, dull scissors, expired mousse. Why, some women have even begun cutting their own hair! You know as well as I how dangerous this is.

Folks, we can no longer sit quietly and take our hair for granted. The broadminded men on that 1973 SCOTUS who first gave us the right to choose have been replaced by a cabal who support oppressive Biblical beliefs, who hold that government knows better than you and your stylist what’s best for your hair. Some say we’re actually in danger of seeing Row v. Wave overturned. The pro-grow movement is growing — not with popular support, but on the strength of a vocal few who’ve seized political power and usurped our Constitution with their Bible. We have to run them out of office before it’s too late, before your right to choose is lost.


On a completely unrelated note, it’s Pink Out Day for those who want to show their support for Planned Parenthood. Visit their website at to see how you can help.

11 Responses to “The right to cut my hair”

  1. Dear KG, all it takes is a functioning scanner and a functioning index finger to click on jpg.format. There is no such thing as an unshareable picture.
    We’re waiting 😉

  2. I don’t have any problem whatsoever what “hairstyle” you choose. My question is: Why do you want to force the rest of us to pay for your haircut?

  3. It’s not a question of what hairstyle you choose. The question is: Why do you want the rest of us to pay for your haircut?

  4. Brilliant! I too fear the overturn of Roe vs Wave! It is my hair my choice!! 🙂

  5. Ha! Loved your tongue-in-cheek rant. You can’t fool us. That’s a mug shot. 😄

  6. Thanks for telling folks to keep their hands of my hair:-)

  7. You had me at Row v. Wave. You are such a clever woman!

  8. Wow,

    I live in the UK and that just blew my mind… Is this even real? If so how is that even possible in 2015?

    USA is just the weirdest place, it seems.

  9. Maria (was MD Maryland, now Margaret Merland on FB) Reply September 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Love you with short hair KG. (Dare I say I cut my own)? Keep up the good fight!!

  10. Most excellent!!! Keep fighting the good fight KG!!! For all of us with short hair who don’t want to be told what to do with it!!!

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