Friday, July 22, 2016

Going Gray & Fuck You

I recently left the Going Gray & Lovin’ It Facebook group. When I first joined, I was excited to find a group of women who support one another’s decision to reveal their gray (and silver and white). Instead, I found that the culture is just as judgemental and narrow-minded as the one that insists women color their grays. Yes, the group supports natural color, but ONLY natural color. Don’t try to “cheat” your way to gray with lowlights or a pixie (but gray extensions are okay). The skunk stripe is the rite of passage. I also found it to be quite oxymoronic that the the members were discouraged from using “deadly” chemicals on their heads, but encouraged to pile on the makeup (also full of chemicals).

I might sound a bit bitter, and I am. I posted a photo of my hair, after applying a blue tint that gave me a lovely gray to blue transition, and, after a few hours of likes and comments, it was removed without notification. It was taken down because I dared to illustrate an alternative to the “grin and bear it” transition that the group advocates. I challenged the status quo with the idea that graying can be fun, as well as empowering. Fuck you, GG&LI!

I’m going gray as a form of personal expression. I’m expressing dissatisfaction with our culture’s obsession with youth. The gray hair bias, and our penchant for all things young, is related to fertility. Men are fertile well beyond their first and 5,000th gray hair. For women, though, gray hairs increase at the same time fertility begins to decrease. It’s ridiculous that in our advanced society, we still tie a woman’s worth to her fertility. Her ability to pop out babies has nothing to do with her potential contribution to art, science, government or business. I doubt large eyes, smooth skin, round bosoms, and curvy hips will ever truly fall from fashion, but there is hope of erasing the stigma of gray hair. I’m joining the ranks of silver sisters who are demonstrating that a woman can be vital, productive, and even beautiful, as her hair turns gray. Colorless hair does not mean a colorless life.

Again, I’m going gray as a form of personal expression. This is my personal expression. I don’t judge you for coloring your hair, if that’s your jam. I don’t judge your skunk stripe, if that’s your badge of honor. I don’t judge you for coloring your 25-year-old head of naturally black hair to an unnatural gray, if that’s on trend. In return, don’t judge me for enhancing my gray with pink or blue or purple. Don’t judge me if I change my mind in six months and return to flaming red. Let’s agree not to judge one another for our coiffure choices. It’s just hair, people! Turn the judgement on the judgers, not one another.

Gray hair does not make you ugly or worthless. It also doesn’t make you an earth goddess. But it can be a statement. What does your hair say about you?


STAshworth said...

I'm sorry that you had this experience. I think it's the group's founder and rule-maker who is dogmatic, not the members. There are other gray groups on Facebook, and some ladies wear color in their gray hair!

Erin said...

Sigh. I'm sorry you had that experience - haters gonna hate are everywhere! I love your fun haircuts and colors, and seeing what you'll try next is one of the best parts about your blog. I am inspired by your fearlessness to try new things, and yes, that includes pink hair :)
I'm glad you blew off the haters. To heck with'em!

Sheila said...

I found myself cheering as I read this - and not to be all judge-y myself, but that group doesn't sound very supportive!

Good for you for doing whatever the f**k you want with your hair, Kasmira. As a fellow person who's played with her hair colour (and cut and style) multiple times (and I fully intend to keep doing that), it bothers me that others can still be so obtuse about our personal freedom to play with our appearance, whatever we choose that to be.

Rock on with your badass self! You have always been beautiful to me.

une femme said...

I think your hair looks fabulous, and very much in sync with your fun-loving style. F*ck judgement. :-)

thorne garnet said...

your hair looks awesome. I dye my hair Red Velvet, because I can. Your experience illustrates why I don't join groups. What did Groucho Marx say? "I wouldn't join any group that would have me", or something like that.

maryeb said...

Wow, what a well written post. I've thought many similar things. Thank you for expressing these ideas so eloquently!!! Your honesty and bravery to be true to yourself inspires me to do the same.

Beefy Muchacho said...

I love this post. (and I love you). You're crushing it, as always.

Rija said...

What silliness! Be your fabulous self! I think gray hair is beautiful, but I've never wanted to keep my hair the same color for more than a few months. I'll probably try gray sometime, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't last.

Anonymous said...

You are awesome!!!
-anonymous fan

Laurie said...

Love the blue gray hair the best out of all your past hair colors! I'd love to experiment with the grey trend myself (although I'm waiting for my hair to naturally Start greying - Probably in just a few short years for me!)

I think one of the great things that comes with age is shedding all these concerns with how others see us. We start to live for ourselves and do the things that fulfill us (and only we can know what those things are). It's exciting! It's really cool to watch your 'hair evolution' and you rock some incredible styles and colors.

The Facebook group seems to still have a bit of a hang up about the grey hair. Doesn't seem like whoever removed your post truly accepts that grey hair as just that: grey hair. Let go of the stigma, already! Have some fun!

Michelle... said...

I love your grey hair! I wish mine looked as good as yours! But it doesn't (to me) so I'm happy to keep adding blonde highlights to even it out until the day my grey coverage is more even.

Rock on!

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Couldn't have said it better myself! Your hair...your choice! Amen, sister.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Agree with everything you said. And I love the way you fearlessly alter your hair styles and colors.

The same sort of bias has been around the curly vs straight hair camp. I embraced my wild curls decades ago, even though people, magazines, stylists, etc were always doing makeovers and straightening curls to make the women look more professional, more cultured, more dignified. I'm in the science field, and from my experience, people cared more about what I knew than what I looked like, so I went natural, and try to enjoy the craziness on my head.

So rock on with your hair and any color you choose to apply to it! You may not be a member of that FB group, but you exude a joy for living and adventure that they probably don't have in such quantity. ;)


Lorena said...

Very well written, I hear you - I can only say the group lost.
Its quite amazing in this day and age we still judge at the slightest thing.
If I had a good head of hair I'd be dying it any and avery color. With my alopesia I can only do much to it.
Oh, and I love your hair.

Tat said...

I decided to stop dying mine 2 years ago and had a very short crop to get me through the transition - now it's still short (always had short hair, always will!) and I play with hair chalks and temporary colours to funk it up a little whenever I feel like it - right now it's got a bright pink stripe in the fringe :-)

I completely agree with your post - women should be empowered to do whatever on earth they want to do with their hair, and should be supported by other women whatever that decision is - I have no problem with people dying their hair, I have no problem with people not dying their hair - and I would definitely support anyone making that decision to go from dying to not dying, which is a massive step and much commented on, for some reason! If you decide to use a bit of peroxide or a pixie crop to make that transition a bit more stylish, go for your life!

Life and let live, support each other x

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for ages and ages and ages, and I think this is the first time I've commented! I love that you are going grey, and for your reasons as well. I'm 39 and will be 40 in 6 months, and decided to also stop coloring my hair. It's naturally dark brown but getting lots of silvery/grey streaks. I decided I just don't want to deal with the upkeep, time, or money anymore plus when I highlight "just to blend the grey" it always, always, always turns WAY too brassy and I hate it. hate it. I hate spending hours getting my hair done,, and I'm becoming very sensitive to the hair dye smells (and I do like to avoid some of the chemicals if I can). So, like I said, I've stopped for now. We will see how I feel once I hit the "milestone" birthday. Unfortunately my hair is rather long and I don't want to cut it short so I've got some less-than-polished two toned hair going on right now. I stay home full time with my child, so most days it is up and not done. Some days this makes me feel old and frumpy, but luckily my hubby is supportive. His mother, however, is of the belief of "not letting herself go" and spends TONS of money (frankly, extra money that we don't have on one income) for her hair and stylist shopping. Which she then tells me about, on a very frequent basis, along with her condescending observations about women who have (in her opinion) "let themselves go". It drives my crazy. Anyway, that was a tangent! haha. I am so happy to see a fashionable, stylish woman who is also embracing grey, no matter what form it takes. My own personal creative outlet for style is makeup, which I LOVE and continue to buy and use (and yes, I will use makeup with chemicals!, haha.)