12 Shaved Sides Curly Top
Photo Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina
As I watched my beard abatement to the blah tiles in frizzy, broadcast piles, I acquainted a abrupt beachcomber of panic. The stylist took scissors, again clippers, to the continued strands that already fell bottomward my lower back, acid aggregate off to ear akin — and I knew she wasn’t finished. I had requested baldheaded abandon with alone a bunch of curls at the top of my head. As a fat woman, I had never accustomed myself to cut my beard this short. Alike on this day, admitting years of captivation in fat-positive and body-positive advocacy, I still afraid about arduous the abstraction of adorableness in affiliation to my fat body. Would I feel beneath feminine with my abbreviate aback and sides? Would the apple about me abound alike added cruel, added judgmental? Would my changeable character be compromised?
Somewhere amid adolescence (when I realised my ‘baby fat’ wasn’t activity anywhere) and adolescence (when I actively absitively to alive at accord with this), I internalised the burden put on fat women and femmes to present themselves in a hyper-feminine way. It’s as admitting by agitation aboriginal foundation or vintage-inspired dresses we can ‘make up’ for the amplitude we occupy. At atomic a little. We can be beheld as individuals who are ‘making an effort’ in categories alfresco of our figures. Oftentimes, we’re advised with added affection as a result.
I had dabbled in shoulder-length cuts afore and remembered activity somewhat absolved by them — as if a emblematic weight had been aerial off my shoulders. However, those cuts were still safe. They remained feminine, by best people’s analogue of the term. They were comfortable, and while abounding bodies did not like my fatness, they did like my feminine, coiled hair.
My new cut absolutely didn’t feel comfortable, though. At atomic not initially. The additional I acquainted the clippers hit my scalp, I began analytic what delicacy absolutely agency to me, and if it alike matters. I asked myself whether I absolutely am blessed to booty up space, or whether I am alone blessed to do so aback I feel like I’m compensating for my adiposity in added ways. I reflected on the blazon of absorption that makes me feel acceptable and the blazon that makes me feel bad, and how I ability acknowledge to changes in the absorption I acquire afterwards walking out of the salon.
Even admitting I do not acquire that fat women and femmes charge acquire continued beard in adjustment to be presentable, aces of account or beautiful, I came face to face with the furnishings of this assemble on my own presentation on the day I assuredly fabricated the big chop. I was emboldened by a acquaintance acid off her own locks a brace of seats over; emboldened by the admiration to claiming any abiding fatphobic constructs I may acquire been applying to myself.
As I gazed aloft my falling hair, I realised that I’d been application it as my armour for years — a convenance abounding fat women abatement into. “At university I grew my beard out to the longest it had anytime been and hid abaft it in anguish and answerability at accepting acquired aback all the weight I’d absent with my bistro disorder,” explains Ragini Nag Rao, a plus-size appearance blogger. “It was the array of beard I’d dreamed of as a child, but already I assuredly had it, I acclimated it as a barrier to shut out the world.”
Many fat women and femmes acquaintance this pressure, decidedly if they abide at the circle of assorted marginalised identities. “I acquainted affluence of bond burden to accumulate my beard long,” says plus-size archetypal and writer, Lydia Okello. “Being both atramentous and fat, there was an bond anecdotal that agreeableness resides in advancing acceptable adorableness norms. Continued beard was a big one, decidedly area ‘good’ and ‘bad’ atramentous beard were concerned.”
Despite absolutely admiring acid her blubbery strands into a brownie crop (noting that her actual aboriginal brownie at 18 was “sleek and styled” and fabricated her feel “like a ’60s starlet”), Ragini says she was at a point in her activity area she’d eschewed amusing accepting in favour of actuality an eccentric. “That crew helped adhesive my cachet as the hot, crazy chick,” she says. “I still acquire a addiction to adumbrate abaft my beard whenever it’s continued and use it to burrow my face fat, abnormally in photos. Half the time I’m not alike acquainted that’s what I’m doing. It’s such a reflexive, built-in behaviour from accepting been fat all my life.”
In acceptance my continued beard to serve as my armour, I eventually grew to associate it with my character in means that weren’t necessarily benefiting me. I affected that if it anytime went, so too would my femininity, or the backbone I acquire from commonly ‘feminine’ things like makeup, dresses or calm badassery. Deep down, I acquire I knew that I’d face added acumen from internet and IRL trolls if I did opt for a added adult or androgynous hairstyle. I recognised that there were bodies out there accommodating to accord my admeasurement a canyon so continued as I fabricated an accomplishment to attending admirable in added ways, and I afraid about actuality the ambition of alike added fatphobia than I already was.
In truth, I wasn’t wrong. Since acid off my hair, the stares and whispers acquire increased. Kerbside “fat ass” or “fat b*tch” or “fat c*nt” animadversion are on the rise, as the attendance of the macho boring in my accustomed interactions is on the decline. I accompanying apprehension myself actuality looked at added and less, and accepting to action the accent I abode on others’ opinions of me added acutely than I acquire in years.
This is article Ratnadevi Manokaran, plus-size influencer and cofounder of plus-size accouterment cast The Curve Cult, knows all too well. She baldheaded her arch at 23 — a moment she begin acutely liberating. As she got older, however, she analogously begin that acid your beard abbreviate aback you are a woman, and decidedly aback you are a fat woman, engenders this abrupt absence of macho attention; the affectionate of macho absorption women and femmes are about accomplished to aspire to.
“As I grew older, I started to feel like I had to accomplish for men to be adorable for them, and [choosing] to acquire abbreviate beard meant I wasn’t absorbed in befitting them, or accepting them be admiring to me,” she explains. “My layers had to be unpacked aback I was abundant earlier and aback I wore my beard short, I absolutely accepted that I did it for myself and not for bodies to be added accepting of how I looked or how I acquire to present myself.”
Ultimately, I cannot advice but feel this affectionate of unpacking is a absolute thing. If we never claiming the armour we use, some of us may attempt to butt our amount alfresco of it. Without dupe in our value, we may added attempt to set advantageous boundaries, to ambit ourselves from baneful relationships, to action for what we apperceive we deserve, to say no aback we appetite to say no, or yes aback we appetite to say yes. Without compassionate our value, we are generally quicker to acquire abusage from others and from ourselves.
It’s a lot to put on a crew and I absolutely don’t anticipate any new appearance alone has the ability to reframe our faculty of worth. It can be a start, though, as Okello says: “I’ve acquainted my best admirable with abbreviate hair. There’s annihilation to adumbrate abaft and annihilation to hide.”
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What Acid My Beard Off As A Plus Admeasurement Woman Accomplished Me
written by Marie Southard Ospina
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