By Shannon Deady
“Hair is something everyone has, but people rarely talk about (it). It is a bit of a ‘hairy’ subject.”
Bridget Appleby, a senior psychology major and member of Women in Learning and Leadership, joked as she started off the evening.
Student’s opened up about the hairiest details of their stories with body and head hair at the Body Hair Monologues: The Fault in our Follicles on Thursday, April 26.
The event was part of the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies capstone course, which also included a week of games, facilitations, documentaries and monologues. This year, the activities focused on the politics of hair. The event was different in past years, with last years focusing on menstruation.
The first speaker, Alumna Rachel Fikslin (’16), facetimed into the event and detailed the story of a woman who read, “A Love Poem to Her Bush” at a menstruation conference she had attended.
“I was awestruck that this woman spoke so openly and so positively about her bush,” Fikslin said. “(The poem showed) how powerful it can be to grow your body hair in ways that are rebellious, that are contrary to expectations.”
She went on to talk about her own experiences with hair, specifically on her head, as she received her first pixie haircut after her freshman year at the College.
Many other female students spoke about the responses they received after making the decision to cut their hair, and the assumptions regarding sexuality that can be tied to a short haircut.
Some students cut their hair as a reflection of their sexuality. For others, it was simply a choice they made for themselves — just another haircut.
The relationship between hair and racial and religious identities was also discussed.
Elissa Frank, a junior political science major, shared her story about having curly hair.
When Frank was a child, she was unable to find a barbie doll that looked like her, and felt different from other girls in school who had silky, straight hair.
She explained how her hair led to others assumptions regarding her race and religion, which made her feel left out in high school.
For Hanukkah one year, Frank asked her parents if she could chemically straighten her hair. She underwent this hair treatment every nine months until she was a junior in high school.
“(In) college, I realized it was okay to have curly hair and to be proud of your curls,” Frank said. “Embrace who you are and your identity, even if you are so different from all of your friends.”
As students went up to share personal stories, others who hadn’t intended on speaking were inspired to share their own.
Many students connected with one another over similar struggles with hair, telling stories they may not have even shared, even with a best friend.
In a society where hair is rarely discussed, the event was refreshing.
Ariel Moskowitz, a senior biology major and WILL member, closed the night as the final speaker with a simple and important reminder.
“If you weren’t supposed to have hair, it wouldn’t grow,” she said.