Most people think they can tell a lot about a woman from her hairstyle. They believe they can differentiate the hair of a middle-aged woman who is a member of her church’s Women’s Guild, from the weave of a middle-aged lawyer at a high-end Law Firm.
From her hair, they can guess whether she’s single and searching or in a long-term relationship, whether she has a Master’s degree or didn’t make it past a certificate, whether she spends her Saturday’s dancing ‘til dawn or curled up on the couch with a good book.
They believe that after one glance at a woman’s head, you can know all these things about her without having to even once exchange a single word. Or can you?
As we began our ‘Find Your Beautiful’ campaign, we conducted a social experiment, where we had different women in our newly launched line of wigs. These women sat behind one-way glass, unknown to them that on the other side of the glass, strangers made on-sight assessments about the woman they saw sitting in front of them, solely based on their hairstyle. The results were incredible.
Society believes that a woman’s profession and social status can be deduced just from the way she wears her hair, attempts to stray from this norm and she is deemed as ‘unprofessional’.
“She Looks Like a Party Girl”
And it used to make sense. During and after colonialism, hot combing and relaxing your hair to look as straight as possible was a mark of beauty and professionalism. But in this day and age, the same criteria doesn’t apply. An afro in 1980 and an afro in 2018 mean two different things. While the 1980 Afro might have meant unkempt and lazy, the afro in 2018 means authentic and down to earth.
“She doesn’t really look like she can think about side hustles.”
It’s not completely wrong to say that hair can be a reference to personality. If you’re a low maintenance person, you’d generally want a low maintenance hairstyle. If you’re the life of the party, chances are your hair will be something to call attention to. However, using a woman’s hair to create the adjectives that describe her is like reading one chapter of a book. It doesn’t tell the full story.
The Biggest lesson learned from the Darling Social Experiment is that at the end of the day, your hairstyles doesn’t define you. YOU define YOU. And you’re going to look cute while doing it.