Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Britney Spears and Her Shaved Head

I had no intentions of posting anything on the fact that Britney Spears has shaved her head. However, this is Masculinities in Media, and news outlets like ABC are all over this story. Her haircut has raised a lot of concern, and her locks were going for $1 million dollars on Ebay. Quoting from the ABC article's grave assessment:

While psychologists and those around Spears speculate about the cause of her downward spiral, two things seems clear: The one-time pop princess is acting out and in dire need of help.

The BBC has written a slightly more sensible piece exploring the reasons behind so much concern over a simple shaved head. They rely heavily on evolutionary psychologists for their analysis - using the "women have long hair because it's a natural way to attract men, and allow for children to hold on tight" argument. I was listening to a Canadian Broadcast Corporation radio interview with the psychology giant Jerome Kagan and even he, a scientist that studies what's inately human for a living, discredits such a simplistic take on human custom.

How does long hair connect to a society where women are objectified as sex objects? How might our reactions to this new exSpearsience change if we embraced a "
need to widen what's acceptable for women and men, and accept there are different layers of femininity and masculinity in one person," as Nicki Hasitie recommends at the end of the BBC article?

-P. Lincoln Share

1 comment:

  1. You know, when I shaved my head everyone here (Japan) loved it. My teachers, fellow students, and friends all went, "Wow, that looks so cool." Some of the women even wistfully said, "I'd love to do that, but I don't have the head for it..."

    My family? Freaked the heck out. My mother wanted reassurance that I wasn't doing it as a cry for help (she also cried upon seeing a picture of me, she later told me). My grandmother gave me massive guilt trip for cutting of my "beautiful hair" (It wasn't even down to my shoulders before this, mind you). Out of all the disapproving family members, my dad was the most sensible -- he used it as a launching pad to ask me about the recent changes in my life (clothing, piercings, my increased interest in feminism) and we had a productive discussion.

    I just... don't get the reaction. Not on an emotional level, at least. It's just HAIR. Hair GROWS. That's what hair does! I haven't trimmed it out of laziness in a couple months and I already have a shrub growing on my head. It grew! It will continue growing until I cut it. NOT A BIG DEAL.

    And yet... it is. Men can have all sorts of hair styles, including long hair (although it is slightly frowned upon) but the pathway isn't nearly as wide for women yet. And I think your spot on in connecting it to women being the sex class.