Monday, June 7, 2010

Exam study

I've got an exam for my social anthropology 101 paper next Saturday so I've been revising what I've learned this semester and it's got me thinking on a few things in my life. Bodily symbols. My hair has been a major symbol in my life. My long, white blond hair communicated a certain "message" in my teens. What would you say of a platinum blonde? Ditzy? Fun? No self respect? "Keen"?? Cause that's how boys and men alike treated me. (With the few exceptions of course.)

After my boyfriend unexpectedly died at the age of 17 I wanted no more of this unwanted attention. I had become a "born again" Christian and my sexuality was not a welcome part of my "new life". Not knowing how to cope with my new asexuality I decided the easiest option was to shave my head. Rid myself of past identities and to start afresh. No more identity in my hair and consequently my sexuality please. So off it went.

As a new Christian, I thought my freshly shaved head meant that I was serious about this new life. It communicated the "dying to self" I heard preached each Sunday. I meant business. I became a "Jesus Freak." I banished my sexuality and started wearing army pants and T shirts to accompany my freshly shaven head. I would not be the "eye candy" of men any more and therefore would not have to worry about my sexuality because I had effectively killed it. No more unwanted sexual advances. My shaven head was a symbol: Old life gone. Sexuality gone. New commitment to Christ and His ways. (Which I saw a sex-less of course.)

This symbol however can be read differently as I was soon to find out. What do you think when you see a young women in army pants, T shirt, shaven head and pierced nose? Not born again Christian I would presume. My predators now became women. At a bar with my friends a young women approached me and asked, "Are you straight?...Or bendable? My friend wants to know."

Confusion ensued. I was a new Christian for fucks sake not a new Lesbian. Damn.

Bodily symbols. What are you actually communicating to the world?

1 comment:

carlie_star said...

i have been thinking about appearances myself this last week after visiting Rotorua and stopping in Ngaruawhahia two places with very high Maori populations and feeling like I stuck out like a sore thumb because of the long blonde hair. I am part Maori and when i tell people they laugh because of the way i look they can't see it at all. It is part of my culture but i know so little about it and feel quite disconnected from it. It would be interesting to be brunette for a while and i have thought about it a few times but everyone seems horrified by the idea. Why? It's just hair i could always change it back.