Thank you to everyone who visited my blog for possibly the first time today, or yesterday, following the link from the BBC News website. Shaved heads are big news still - when it's a woman's head. Britney Spears shaving her head appears to be even bigger news. So it's important somebody puts all of this into context, and I appreciate the way the BBC contacted me and invited me to talk about my experience.Read the BBC News article Mark of a woman. The comments added by readers are very interesting. There are those who object to women shaving their heads. There are others who wonder what all the fuss is about and think we should be talking about something more significant.
Yes indeed, what is all the fuss? I welcome the day there is no fuss. But in the meantime we need to understand that debates focusing on gender and sexual identities underpin the way society is constructed and also govern the way we are expected to lead our lives (informally, and more formally, even into legislative structures). I don't mean to suggest there are any laws (at least none I know of in the UK) about how one may or may not wear one's hair. But fascination, horror and any kind of judgement inbetween indicates just how far we have to go in claiming equal rights - and it's why I'm proud to be a feminist.
Oh right, I hear you say. So she shaves her head because she's a feminist. Typical lesbian-feminist stereotype!
No, actually, or I might have got fed up with the look a long time ago. Remember, I've been shaving my head for nearly 20 years. What being a feminist does is help me to believe in myself and to carry on respecting myself regardless of the people who want to dictate how a woman should be, how she should behave, and how she should look.
On the BBC website, there are also a sizeable number of comments emphasising the liberating and strengthening effects of head shaving, supporting my comment that Britney may be taking control and giving herself a fresh start, on her terms.
I feel empowered by having been invited into the debate outside of this blog. Do I give myself a fresh start, then, every two weeks when I shave my head? I don't always need a fresh start. But I have this amazing opportunity to recognise myself fully, every two weeks - and the best thing is, I still like what I see.