Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Cutting long Hair to Pixie Haircut is an Act of Social Revolt in the Sub-Continent?

"Lambey ball tou larkion ka ghena hai", right? Wrong. Over the past couple of years I’ve come to realize, in some personal and very painful ways, how deeply socialized “hair” is — especially for women in Pakistan. Every woman here seems to have the same hairstyle: long and dark, preferably straight and layered.

Long hair is the top requirement for perfect beti, biwi and baho. I found this out the hard way. A few years ago, I was an amateur model then. My friend and I had landed an amazing opportunity to model for a fashion show. We had to cut our hair short like pixie cut / boycut short hair because it was one of the requirements of the show. It was hard to let go the rapunzel long hair, but i didnt want to miss the opportunity.

My family didn't approve the haircut. My mom and bahi reaction was priceless, they didnt talk to me for days. I had to face alot of embarrassment at one of my cousins wedding. It seemed like everybody was talking about my haircut. Some aunties stopped their daughters to talk to me because they thought that maybe i was a lesbian. Some boys thought i had a breakup thats why i cut my hair. My mom, poor soul, had alot of explaining to do. My scrutiny didnt end there.

The fashion show was televised and it caught an eye of some mulana sahb. Their social media cell started a "ball bachao jihad" movement against the designer and some of the models who had short hair in the show. God knows why I became the poster child of that movment. I wanted to become famous, but not like that. All of a sudden, i became the target of all the so called "mulanas". They cursed me and my family on social media facebook, Instagram everywhere. It was a really tough time for me.

After all these years, i still keep my hair short because i like it like that. People said, long hair is feminine; i felt the most feminine when i cut my hair short. People said, i would never get married becuase men like long hair; my husband loves my short hair. I didnt cut my hair because of a mental breakdown; nor my short hair defines my sexuality. My hair is only one aspect of my expression, but in a culture that radically rejects anything that doesn’t conform to binary gendering, it’s also come to symbolize personal and creative freedom. In the end i would just say to everyone who is reading this article; lambey ball ya chotey ball; apki beti biwi baho ghena hai.

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