Since the beginning of time, people have been obsessed with women having long luscious hair as they represented sexuality, femininity and attractiveness. This also fed into why more Africans permed their hair and why more people with natural hair are obsessed with having longer hair even though most of the time, the hair shrinks.
Since hair was so central to womanhood, society found the perfect way to ridicule women by using it. They cut the hair of women who had been unfaithful to their husbands so they can be humiliated in public. Long hair was a symbol of femininity and beauty while short hair was considered rebellious and undesirable.
In the 1920s, after the personal freedom allowed them during World War 1, young women go out to work, get permission to vote, play sports and demand to leave the house unchaperoned. New financial independence and emancipation followed and cutting long hair became a symbol of independence and strength equal to men. Hairdressers, more accustomed to styling long hair, were not prepared for the lines of women outside barber shops wanting to chop off their length. In 1923, the bob was worn in waves and the shingle cut emerged. Some lesbians consider getting their first short haircut a right of passage. For some, it is part of their ‘coming out’ experience.
In this new era, long hair still remains as an icon of femininity but short hair has found its way to be feminine too.
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