This is a letter to all the little people that one day will become women.
Growing up slowly dawns on you. It is a gradual process that doesn’t happen over night. Mostly you notice that you are growing up not by how you react to the world, but how the world reacts to you. The realization of this, was a sudden one for me. I am not quite sure, what I expected, but I can tell you, THIS is not what I expected.
I am not very feminine (my mom can vouch for this), the only thing VERY feminine about me, up to last week, was my thick, long, wavy brown hair that I (apparently in a state of total disillusion) cut to chin-length. I love my haircut, I love the person I see when I look into the mirror, I love being that person, I am happy with myself, believe it or not. Others, however, not so much.
Working in the service industry, I started to realize small but instant differences. How people look at you, how they treat you, no matter what age, gender or religion. They react more harshly to what you are saying, with short hair, they expect you to know more, and be smarter and more efficient. With long hair, they forgive you things you don’t know, they forgive you if you make a mistake, they forgive you anything, because you have long hair. With short hair, they watch your every move, as if you were out to hurt them.
This, I don’t understand. I am still the same person and no matter what I look like, how come I get treated differently? Either way, I work just as hard as before, I work just as efficiently as before and either way I am just as independent as I was before. So what changed?
Another shocking realization revealed itself to me, only seconds after my mind was clear enough to process the first change. Now, I get taken for what I am, a woman. I am not a body with long wavy hair anymore, now I am a woman with short hair. A woman, who’s opinion doesn’t count as much, as a man’s. A woman, who obviously isn’t as smart as any man ever, who walked the surface of this earth, just a plain old simple woman. It is, as some people just realized, because of the length of my hair, that I am in fact a human being with a female point of view.
I say this, because this is what became very clear in less than a week, since my hair went short. I am not sure, why I didn’t realize this before, because that is a pretty huge thing, to be confronted with, your womanhood that is, but only now, have I understood this.
I will tell you this, I am a strong minded woman. I am perfectly capable of surviving on my own, I don’t need any man to tell me my worth, because this I learnt myself. I am totally aware of who I am and what I am, I am a woman and I am okay with that. I am flabbergasted by the fact, that we still, to this day, encounter so much inequality and I am heartbroken knowing, that this hasn’t changed yet. I am not calling out to all the women in the world to burn their bras. But I am calling out to everyone to be the change that you wish to see in others.
I do not want my children to grow up in a world, where their gender, their sexual preference, their religion or lack their of or their haircut determines who or what they can and cannot be, because I strongly believe that if you put your mind and heart to it, you can be anything. I call out to you, from the bottom of my heart, to understand that you cannot treat people differently because of the way they appear.
See, what I am trying to say is, that I felt like I was being respected with thick long wavy hair. I felt good about myself, I was happy with what I was doing. But then I cut off my hair and with that apparently all my rights to being a human being. I thought I was being treated the same as men, I thought I was being treated fair, after all I live in Norway, but I was wrong. I wasn’t treated right before and I am sure not being treated right now, and I refuse being part of the generation, that still treats women differently. This is not right.
With this, I urge you to take a closer look around you. Walk around with open eyes and just for an instant, try to see the world with another person’s eyes. You might be amazed by what you see. I will go back to my regular life now, trying my best to advocate for equality on every level, and I know I might not change anything today, but I might change a whole lot tomorrow. I know this fight is not easy and I know I will probably have to fight this all my life, but I am okay with that, I am a strong, independent woman. I can do this. Because I am a woman and I want to do this.
…and all of this, because the last heatwave gave me nearly heat exhaustion because of the long thick wavy hair.