It’s Okay to be a Bald Girl

Selfie!
Selfie!

I used to tell my husband, who has been bald since we met, that if I could get away with shaving my head I would. I was so envious of his ability to take a 2 minute shower and be ready to go any place within  minutes. No combing, no prepping, no worrying about bad hair days.

When the opportunity came to fulfill two desires, helping St. Baldrick’s Foundation raise money for ped cancer research AND being bald, well of course I was excited. I was so anxious for that day, mostly because I wanted to participate in something important, but also because I wanted to feel my hairless head. I bought a tee shirt that reads, “BALD AND BADASS.” Shaving my head was on my proverbial bucket list.

Hair is overrated. Very much by our society. If someone doesn’t have hair, especially a female, we automatically assume something is wrong with said person-either physically as in illness or something psychological: “She’s just a freak!” Sesame Street has an annoying-as-all-shit song in which the puppet sings for two minutes about how great it is to have hair. I can’t express how incredibly frustrating it was to endure  it while my bald son, who was in the midst of chemotherapy, watched. What is so important about hair?

There are the obvious answers: It protects your scalp from the sun. It keeps your head warm. It’s there to flagellate your face on windy days-if your hair is long, that is. The societal custom of idolizing people with “good hair” is not so logical. People with incredible locks are considered more worthy, as is the case with everyone deemed more attractive. But, does having hair make one more attractive?

Obviously that answer is no. Many chrome domed male celebrities are considered handsome- Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Bruce Willis, Patrick Stewart (yes he is handsome), Michael Chiklis (Come on. The Thing, Fantastic Four), Andre Agassi (who I thought was more handsome without hair than with), Jason Statham (who isn’t completely bald but pretty much), Chris Daughtry (the only reason I ever watched American Idol, ever), Shemar Moore (hoooooot).

An old photo of my hubby looking like Bruce Willis
An old photo of my hubby looking like Bruce Willis

 

So, we’ve established that men without hair are sexy. All right, not all bald men are sexy:

I'm sure he was very handsome, in his day!
I’m sure he was very handsome in his day!

But what about women? Why is it so unusual for a woman to be bald? Are women less attractive without hair? Well, maybe if you’re head is shaped like a warped cantaloupe (but we can’t all have perfect domes, now can we?)

After the first shave, I decided to keep shaving. I don’t wear wigs. I don’t wear hats, except when it was colder. I don’t hide my baldness. There are reasons for this. One of them is because I can strike a conversation with someone that leads to me telling them about St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the necessity of funding and donations for ped cancer-that is the point, really, isn’t it? Another reason is that I feel there is no shame in being hairless. People who lose their hair should not feel the need to cover their heads out of self-consciousness. If they choose to cover their heads because of personal preferences, then so be it. But no one should feel less worthy because they have no hair. I have to admit I also don’t wear wigs or cover my hair because I’ve always been against adhering to gender roles, and I like to force people to experience their discomfort at something totally innocuous, and then maybe they’ll realize it’s unwarranted. I don’t have to have a hair style. Shaving it is a style. I choose to go bald because I like it, and you know what else? My husband likes it, too (He’s really always had a thing for G.I. Jane). Other reasons I choose to remain bald are that I want to stand in solidarity with  my son, who now has more hair than me. Although, it is obvious his hair isn’t growing in a usual way. I also choose to stand in solidarity with every other woman who has lost her hair due to chemotherapy and radiation, or for other reasons (Lupus, Scarring Alopecia, Alopecia Areata, Trauma . . . Read about some of the causes of hair loss at the Locks of Love website.) Lastly, I am going hairless for the summer because this is New Orleans and it is VERY HOT. Not having hair will be a plus (I will be sure to wear sunscreen). My plan is to start growing it in the fall, and by March next year, I’ll participate in another St. Baldrick’s Event. Lastly lastly, I have absolutely NO TIME for hair. I wake up, work all day taking care of RB and housekeeping, running errands, and on the phone with eighty different coordinators acting as my son’s nurse administrator, then I pass out with my GOD FORSAKEN CPAP MACHINE , but that’s for another blog.

Now, are women less attractive without hair? Let’s see: Sigourney Weaver, Charlize Theron, Robin Roberts, Kellie Pickler (who also shaved her head in solidarity with someone close to her with cancer), Natalie Portman, and Demi Moore.

Photo http://standard.co.uk (http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/health/whats-all-the-buzz-jaime-winstone-shows-how-to-wear-the-close-crop-7654534.html?action=gallery&ino=2)
Photo http://standard.co.uk
http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/health/whats-all-the-buzz-jaime-winstone-shows-how-to-wear-the-close-crop-7654534.html?action=gallery&ino=2

 

I admit I’m no Demi Moore or Natalie Portman, but I am bald. And I’m a girl. And it’s okay.

A Donnell by Any Other Name

Readers, it’s become obvious to me as of late that I’ve got a rather confusing dilemma. It involves my name. Although I am named after my mother-my first name is her middle name, and my middle name is her first name-it is a name that has, over the last couple of decades, become popular as a man’s  name.

I didn’t realize it until I was an adult. I’d never even known anyone, male or female, with my name until I was in my early twenties. It was around then I started to meet some folks randomly who shared my name. However, they were all men. I haven’t cared much about it until recently. It’s been fun telling telemarketers there is no Mr. Donnell Jeansonne living at my residence. But recently I had to make a call regarding my son, and I was asked by the person on the other end of the phone, “You’re a she?” And lately I’m receiving correspondences from magazine editors and such addressed to Mr. Donnell Jeansonne. Yet I am very much a Mrs! Should I take the advice of some and change my name? I don’t really want to. I like having a unique name. It fits my personality.

From what I’ve read, though, I’m not in bad company. Best selling author Anne Rice’s real name is Howard, after her father, I’ve read. The website Girl2Watch.com lists the following female celebrities with male names in their article 15 Female Celebs with Guy Names: Alex Kingston, Cameron Diaz, Chris Evert, Drew Barrymore, Glenn Close, Fergie, Jami Gertz, Hayden Panitierre, James King, Jeri Ryan, Jordin Sparks, Peyton List, Scottie Thompson, Reese Witherspoon, and Sean Young. Not that I think I’ll ever become a female celebrity with a guy name, but it’s at least comforting to know there are successful women with names not matching a conventional moniker of their gender. It’s also been discovered that female lawyers with masculine names are more successful, make more money, and are more likely to be appointed to judgeships. I’m certainly no lawyer. But I could always create a fictional one.

I’m insulted by the assumption of others that I am male simply because of my name. Not so much because they assume I am a man, because I could care less about that. But because I am being stereotyped, placed into their convenient standardized packaging. It’s why I don’t want to change my name. It’s mine. It wasn’t given to me without thought and sentiment. And it’s how I’ve identified myself for over three decades.

Now while writing this a thought came to me. I could always use my first and middle name together, thereby maybe helping others to understand that I am in fact a woman-with a man’s name. What do you think? Would the name Donnell Maria Jeansonne better illustrate my gender to those reading my name without the ability to see my face or hear my voice? Should I change my name altogether and choose a different name? Should I just say who cares and correct others who assume I’m a male?

Would a Donnell by any other name smell as sweet? 

All images taken from Microsoft Office Free Clip Art http://office.microsoft.com