I’ve just recently read Bitter Greens (in fact it was my book club choice for January) and also saw Into the Woods (this past weekend). I think that the Rapunzel Effect (as I am calling it) is a problem. A huge problem. The root cause could be blamed on marketing, but it is probably more about society’s obsession with hair (and, caused by marketing…?) A lot of trouble is caused by hair – it is perhaps, more trouble than it is worth.
FYI – hair care services is a $20 billion a year industry. That is Billion with a capital B.*
It is no wonder that there are so many thoughts that run through our head on a regular basis “Is my hair too short, too long, too grey…” that create doubt, worry and insecurities. I feel pretty strongly that no one should say to you with contempt or malice: “You should let your hair grow.” or “You should dye those greys!” Or, “Oh, no how could your mother have cut your hair so short before our big event?!?” and, definitely not, “Having a bad hair day?”
When I was a child, someone tied my hair in knots (literally tied it in knots and it was an accident, not malicious) but I had to get my long hair cut off. It was devastating – a Dorothy Hamill haircut. (I’m aging myself if you haven’t already figured out how old I am – if that matters…) I thought it was terrible, because short hair was different and everybody around me couldn’t believe that I had cut my hair. It wasn’t my choice, but I would have had a lot less angst in my 3rd grade life if they had just accepted it and said it looked nice – which it did (I’ve seen the pictures). Years later, I again, had super short hair and loved, loved, loved it. I will probably go back to short some day.
The Rapunzel Effect – in my opinion – often results in emotional distress, physical pain, blindness and premature aging. No. Wait. Is that just the story? Ok, emotional distress, physical pain, energy and time – lots of time – brushing, coloring, cutting, washing, primping, curling, straightening, drying and moisturizing – oh, and money. So, why do we spend so much of our energy on this? I just don’t know. What I do know is that I need a hair cut. My hair. My choice. If you don’t (or do) agree, keep your thoughts to yourself.
*Stats from SBDCNet.org include the following: “The US hair care services industry includes about 86,000 establishments (82,000 beauty salons; 4,000 barber shops) with combined annual revenue of about $20 billion. Major companies include Regis, Ratner Companies, Premier Salons, and Sport Clips.”