Making The Cut: Why Women Chop Off Their Hair

The alt band Pavement once sang, “Darlin’ don’t you go and cut your hair, do you think it’s gonna make him change?” True, when a woman lops off her long locks, it’s often assumed that her action was a result of man troubles. Fair enough. I’ve seen this happen to several friends after breakups as a way to cleanse their lives. But of course, as multi-faceted human beings, there are a number of explanations as to why ladies may suddenly cut off their hair. Here, some reasons you may not have considered…

  1. They move to France. Remember Kate Hudson in “Le Divorce”? Her story isn’t unique. After being in Paris for only four days at the start of my junior year abroad, I transformed by boob-length hair into an angled bob that grazed my chin. When I came home to my host family, they told me I looked “très chic,” but I could tell they secretly thought that I might as well have just bought a beret and striped shirt.
  2. They become lesbians (or at least try it out). In my first year at all women’s school Smith College (otherwise known as the lesbian capital of the world), six of my seven friends became lesbians, and as the years went on, their haircuts only became more asymmetrical. I don’t blame them. Seriously, what is not to love about The L Word’s Shane’s totally sexy and bad-ass pixie cut?
  3. Teenage angst. Just like Robin Tunney’s dramatic headshaving à la Sinead O’Connor in “Empire Records,” Jessica, a 27-year-old New Yorker, once made the cut because of raging hormones. “In high school, I was a total closet punk and used to go to shows at night, but then looked like a conservative jock type by day. I never felt like I could do all the stuff I wanted to do, so when I went to Spain, I chopped it off and dyed it white-blond.”
  4. To build character. Martina, 26, who made a drastic cut last year, says, “I was a child beauty queen (Jean-Benet Ramsey-style pageants) and long hair was a very important asset. You always had to have long hair, because it was associated with femininity and sexiness. We used to measure our hair in 4th grade, and mine was always the longest, and it gave me status. I decided I needed to get over the issue by getting rid of it so I could figure out how to be sexy without my hair.”
  5. Man troubles. Okay, okay, a lot of it IS man troubles. Nothing says ‘I’m newly single’ quite like a donation to Locks of Love. Our very own Jessica Wakeman recently chopped off almost a foot of hair in March to communicate positive changes in her life — and wash a man right out of her hair. “I just had a really crappy eight months or so going back and forth with this jerk who’d always told me how pretty he thought my long hair was. When I mentioned wanting to cut it, he’d plead me not to do it! After a lot deception and arguing and drama, I finally ended it with him. I wanted to cut off my hair Katie Holmes-short to say, ‘This is a new me!’ Part of me never wants to see that guy again, but part of me wishes he could see how cute I still look with the long hair gone!”